Emptying the notebook: Lobos lose at Colorado - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the notebook: Lobos lose at Colorado

CU Events Center in Boulder
The CU Events Center in Boulder, Colorado, after Saturday’s 87-76 Buffaloes win over the UNM Lobos. (Geoff Grammer/Albuquerque Journal)
BOULDER, Colorado — Here are a few extra notes, quotes, stats, videos, tweets or whatever other odds & ends I could empty out of the old notebook after Saturday’s 87-76 Lobos road loss at Colorado:

A number to know: minus-20

Luckily for the Lobos, they don’t have to sit on a frustrating loss too long.

UNM looks to rebound from Saturday’s loss at Colorado with a quick turnaround, Monday night home game against visiting Grambling State.

And “looks to rebound” isn’t just a figure of speech. The team better start figuring out how to get better on the boards in a hurry. UNM has now been out-rebounded in two games this season by a combined 37 boards.

Saturday, CU out-rebounded UNM 47-27. That was three days after the Lobos posted a minus-17 on the boards against Florida Atlantic.

How bad are those numbers? Consider there have been just 12 other games since the 2010-11 season, per BasketballReference.com, in which the Lobos have been out-rebounded by 17, though that site’s database do not reflect deadball rebounds, meaning there could possibly be a few more.

As for the 20-or-worse club:

• -29: vs. Utah State (Jan. 8 in Lubbock)
• -28: at Colorado (Dec. 6, 2017)
• -26: at NM State (Nov. 17, 2017)
• -24: at Nevada (Jan. 25, 2020)
• -21: at NM State (Dec. 4, 2018)
• -20: at Arizona (Dec. 20, 2016)
• -20: at San Jose State (Feb. 3, 2018)
• -20: vs. Colorado State (Jan. 27, 2018)

Since the 2010-11 season, UNM has only had two seasons with a negative rebound margin:

• -0.8 (217th in the country) — 2019-20 season
• -4.2 (320th in the country) — 2017-18 season

As for what Pitino’s teams have done in the past, in his nine previous seasons, his teams have finished the season with a positive rebound margin five times and posted a negative rebound margin four times.

The best and worst in Pitino’s nine seasons:
• WORST: -6.0 (292nd in the country) — 2015-16 season
• BEST: +3.1 (87th in the country) — 2019-20 season

The gamer

Here’s the gamer filed Saturday night from the CU Events Center in Boulder…

Another number to know: 20

UNM had a pair of 20-point scorers on Saturday:
• Jaelen House — 22 points
• Jamal Mashburn Jr. — 20 points

The last time the Lobos had two players score at least 20 points in a game was March 4, 2020, in an opening round Mountain West Tournament win over San Jose State:
• Vance Jackson — 26 points
• Makuach Maluach — 22 points 

As close as it would get

The Lobos had more than a few opportunities to quietly fade away on Saturday against a Colorado team that was picked by Vegas to win by 14.5 points. Instead, they answered almost every would-be momentum swing by making a tough shot just when the crowd thought the game was about ready to be put away.

“We got a bunch of fighters on our team,” Jamal Mashburn Jr. told me after the loss. “… We’re always going to be in the game with that. We’ve got to focus on the X’s and O’s and just listen to (Pitino). Once we do that, we’ll be winning a lot of games.”

Mashburn was certainly doing his part down the stretch to show off that fighter mentality. Here’s his hard drive to the basket for a bucket and a foul that cut the lead to three at 77-74 with 2:06 left.

OK, Javonte

Second-year Lobo Javonte Johnson had a solid game in his home state with home-state fans in the house supporting him.

Javonte, from Colorado Springs, told me after the game he had at least 10 people he arranged tickets for in the building but there were also plenty of others from his club ball playing days on hand to see not only him but his former teammate from those club ball days Nique Clifford.

Clifford ended up with 8 points, 7 rebounds in 25:15.

Johnson had 10 points, 3 rebounds in 23 minutes, but also had some good, physical play down the stretch of the second half — confident type play I didn’t see as much of a season ago.

He also hit a corner 3 in the game that the Lobos account posted video of:

Pay no attention to this!

The way the KenPom.com ratings work early in the season can often be a little misleading for some teams as it can only be based on things it is based on.

What I mean is, the computer that punches out the 1-through-358 team rankings has to go be data input into the system. At this time of year, with little or no games played yet, it’s often a combination of things like last season’s performance (historically bad for the UNM Lobos) and returning player ratings (the Lobos don’t exactly have many returning players, and the ones they have aren’t the ones really playing right now).

So, it usually takes a good month into the season before enough games from the current season are input to make the ratings more accurate.

So, after all that, let’s look at the KenPom ratings anyway for the UNM Lobos:

• Preseason: 287 (out of 357)
• After 1-1 start: 272 (out of 357)

Jumping 15 spots ain’t bad after a close home win to an OK Florida Atlantic team and losing by 11 to a decent Colorado team.

Meanwhile, despite being 2-0, Colorado is a team that struggled statistically in both wins with poorly-rated opponents (vs. Montana State and vs. UNM), and has seen a significant drop for an unbeaten team.

• Preseason: 35 (out of 357)
• After 2-0 start: 48 (out of 357)

Other movement people in these parts might be interest in after less than a week has passed in the season:

• NMSU: 110 preseason/103 now (+7)
• Nevada: 49 preseason/62 now (-13)
• Wyoming: 183 preseason/152 now (+31)


The 7-footer from Sweden got his first bucket (and then another) of this Lobos career on Saturday in Boulder.

Sebastian Forsling finished the game with four points on 2-of-2 shooting, no rebounds, two fouls.

He said it

“If we learn from this, it could be very beneficial because there are guys who have not had big roles on teams who are now getting that chance.”

–UNM coach Richard Pitino

Line ’em up

For starters, the Lobos changed their starting lineup on Saturday. Pitino swapped out Wednesday starter Birima Seck, the 6-11 freshman, for the 6-10 Gethro Muscadin, who scored 18 off the bench on Wednesday.

The Lobos played 22 different lineups on Saturday, but, as a team hopes when it decides on a starting lineup, it was that initial group of five starters — Jaelen House, Jamal Mashburn Jr., Taryn Todd, Jay Allen-Tovar and Gethro Muscadin — that found the most success.

That starting five had the most time played together (6 minutes, 37 seconds) and the best score differential (plus-5) as that group outscored Colorado 14-9.

Meanwhile, in Tulsa…

The Air Force Falcons bounced back from a season-opening loss with a good, solid road win at Tulsa, 59-58.

But even more interesting to me than the unexpected win for the Falcons was how they did it.

AFA had eight players get in the game, and they beat what is supposed to be a solid, middle of the pack AAC team with NO PLAYERS REACHING DOUVLE FIGURE POINTS!

Air Force’s 59 points were spread out like this:

• 9 points (three players)
• 8 points (one player)
• 7 points (two players)
• 5 points (two players)

Good luck drawing up the scouting report this season on Air Force with point distribution like that.

Around the Mountain

It’s a busy weekend for the Mountain West with some real big games kicking things off Friday, four games were on the slate Saturday and two more are coming Sunday:


• Utah State 85, Richmond 74
• BYU 66, San Diego State 60
• San Diego 75, Nevada 68
• Fresno State 84, Long Island U. 60
• Colorado State 91, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 71


• UC Irvine 58, Boise State 50
• Air Force 59, Tulsa 58
• Colorado 87, New Mexico 76
• UNLV 55, Cal 52


• Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Wyoming, 2 p.m. MT
• (NAIA) Peru State College at Colorado State, 4 p.m. MT

Mountain West standings

Still early, but still going to update…

Here are Mountain West standings through Saturday’s games:

2-0 Colorado State
2-0 Fresno State
2-0 UNLV
1-0 San Jose State
1-0 Wyoming
1-1 Air Force
1-1 Boise State
1-1 Nevada
1-1 New Mexico
1-1 San Diego State
1-1 Utah State

Meanwhile, in Las Cruces…

This is the part of the show when the Aggie covering the Lobos updates the Aggies score and upsets some of the Lobo fans reading.

Nevertheless, Saturday night’s UTEP/NMSU rivalry game in Las Cruces features teams that represent three of the Lobos’ next 11 non-conference games (2x Aggies, 1x Miners). So, let’s keep some tabs on them, shall we?

FINAL: New Mexico State 77, UTEP 71

Looks like the Miners trailed by as many as 19 points in the second half before closing strong to make the final score a little closer.

For Chris Jans, his rivalry dominance continues for the Aggies.

Upcoming for the Lobos with these two teams:

• at NMSU (Nov. 30)
• vs. NMSU (Dec. 6)
• vs. UTEP (Dec. 12)

Plus/minus stats

Here are the plus/minus stats for Saturday’s games with minutes played in parenthesis:

+6 Gethro Muscadin (22:34)
0 Taryn Todd (19:32)
-3 K.J. Jenkinis (15:35)
-4 Sebastian Forsling (6:56)
-5 Jaelen House (31:04)
-5 Jay Allen-Tovar (20:06)
-7 Jordan Arroyo (5:57)
-9 Birima Seck (20:13)
-14 Jamal Mashburn Jr. (35:02)
-14 Javonte Johnson (23:01)

Elsewhere in Loboland…

It was a busy day in Loboland for UNM sports, but just one win…

• FOOTBALL: Fresno State 34, UNM 7
• MEN’S BASKETBALL: Colorado 87, UNM 76
• WOMEN’S SOCCER: BYU 6, UNM 0 (NCAA Tournament)
• VOLLEYBALL: UNM 3, SDSU 0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-13)


Again, some comparative context to the attendance figures I always post for UNM Lobos when they play in the Pit…

• 7,115: UNM at Colorado (Boulder, Colo.)
• 8,089: UTEP at NMSU (Las Cruces)

Video: Postgame with Pitino

Here is the crowded hallway video of Richard Pitino’s postgame interview with reporters after the game:

Stats and stats

For you old school box score folks, here is a picture of the stat sheet as printed out at the game on Saturday: Colorado 87, New Mexico 76

Or, here’s the digital version of the stats posted online: Colorado 87, New Mexico 76

Up next

There isn’t much time for the Lobos to have to sit and dwell on this one, which could be a good thing.

Up next is a Monday night game back in the Pit at 7 p.m. against Grambling State.

Until next time…

Yes, the empty arena backs to finish off the emptying the notebook column are back!

Until next time, CU Events Center in Boulder, Colo., …

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