Emptying the Notebook: Lobos light up scoreboard in win over NMSU - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: Lobos light up scoreboard in win over NMSU

The Pan American Center on the campus of New Mexico State University on Nov. 30, 2021. (Geoff Grammer/Albuquerque Journal)
LAS CRUCES — Here are some extra notes, tweets, stats, quotes, video and whatever else I could empty out of the old notebook after Tuesday’s 101-94 Lobos win over NMSU in the Pan Am Center:

Hello darkness my old friend…

With 15:17 left in the first half, and NMSU leading 9-7 during the first media timeout of the game and the game sponsor presentation to Nusenda Credit Union just wrapping up, the lights in the Pan Am Center went off and fans began to cheer, some flipping on their cell phone lights thinking it was part of an in-arena promotion.

“I thought it was something they do during a timeout, or something,” Lobos guard Jaelen House said. “All the kids started putting their flashlights up.”

It was not planned.

There was a power outage on the NMSU campus that led to a 50-minute delay and plenty of weirdness for a game that was 2 years in the making.

Said Richard Pitino after the game, “I’ve never been a part of that. Ever. I thought Mario (Moccia), their AD and Dave Williams, our deputy AD, did a really good job of communicating with us.

“We wanted to play the game. I was hoping they’d fix it, but they’re telling us half of the campus is out of power. I’m not much of a handyman, you can ask my (wife). I had no idea. … Somebody came out with extensive cord. ‘Oh, that’s gonna fix it.'”

It wasn’t me!

So what happened? I never got an official explanation from NMSU and power throughout the entire arena never was fully restored on Tuesday night.

I promise, I didn’t do it!

The gamer

Here is the gamer I filed from a dark Pan Am Center on Tuesday night…

A number to know: 31

Jaelen House, UNM’s transfer from Arizona State, scored a career-high 31 points on Tuesday night in the Pan Am Center in his 36 minutes on the court.

Teddy Allen, NMSU’s transfer from Nebraska, also scored 31 points in Tuesday’s game.

Both took a bunch of shots to get there and both hit a bunch of free throws to add to their total.

But not all 31-point games are created equal.

House also had 5 assists and one turnover and the Lobos had a game-best plus-12 scoring differential in the 36 minutes he was on the court.

Allen added to his 31-point night one assist, five turnovers and the Aggies posted a game-worse minus-11 scoring differential in the 38 minutes he played.

So while both had 31 point games, putting their team’s point differentials together and that’s a 23-point advantage UNM had in House’s time on the floor compared to what NMSU got out of Allen’s time on the floor.

Sans Jans

Chris Jans missed Tuesday’s game due to COVID-19 protocols. Associate head coach James Miller was the man in charge.

Just as he got credit last week for his milestone 100th victory as NMSU’s head coach in a game he didn’t actually coach, Jans also got credit for Tuesday night’s loss to the Lobos.

That means Jans’ record in the Rio Grande Rivalry is now 4-3.

HUGE minutes from JAT

I plan to write more on Jay Allen-Tovar later in the week and his huge response on Tuesday to more fan criticism about his on-court emotions in some losses last week in Las Vegas.

The junior college transfer was great on Tuesday when playing the ‘4’ and not playing the center spot and, frankly, the Lobos don’t win without him.

His statline:
• 15 points
• 5-11 FG (1-5 3FG)
• 4-4 FT
• 11 rebounds (2 offensive)
• 31 minutes

He said it

“We’ll celebrate tonight and then we’ll move on because we have a lot of respect for this (NMSU) team and this program. So, great win. We’ll enjoy it. We got to get out of here because it’s a long bus ride.” — Lobos coach Richard Pitino

Pitino winning his Rio Grande Rivalry debut makes him the fifth of 11 Lobo coaches since Bob King in 1962 to get a victory in their first game against NMSU.

The winners of Game 1 as UNM’s coach vs. NMSU:
• Richard Pitino (2021)
• Craig Neal (2013)
• Gary Colson (1981)
• Norm Ellenberger (1972)
• Bob King (1962)

Series update:

Some updates for the Rio Grande Rivalry:

• All time: UNM 123, NMSU 102
• In Las Cruces: NMSU 61, UNM 48
• In Albuquerque: UNM 74, NMSU 41
• Last 20 games: UNM 13, NMSU 7
• Last 10 games: UNM 5, NMSU 5
• Current streak: UNM has won three in a row

Man, that’s fast

In my game preview in Tuesday’s Journal, I wrote that the Lobos like playing fast, the Aggies don’t and UNM’s chances at a win might hinge on Jaelen House’s ability to dictate tempo as I had my doubts about NMSU’s ability to guard small, fast point guards.

Well, House went for 31 points and NMSU, a team with one of the slowest playing paces so far this season in the country, and the 80-possession game was the fastest tempo either team has played this season.

NMSU hadn’t even played a Division I game this season that had more than 70 possessions.

After the game, KenPom.com’s updated stats showed UNM playing at the 5th fastest tempo in the country (out of 358 Division I teams) and NMSU jumped up to 273rd in the country (from 317 entering the game).

What’s the point?

Tuesday was the fourth time UNM reached 100 points against the Aggies while NMSU has done it six times.

In the 225 times these two teams have played, here are how many each have score 100 points:

• 106: UNM 106, NMSU 78 (The Pit, 12/21/78)
• 104: NMSU 112, UNM 104 – 2OT (The Pit, 12/11/93)
• 103: NMSU 112, UNM 103 (Pan Am, 12/1/76)
• 101: UNM 101, NMSU 94 (Pan Am, Tuesday)

• 112: NMSU 112, UNM 104 – 2OT (The Pit, 12/11/93)
• 112: NMSU 112, UNM 103 (Pan Am, 12/1/76)
• 103: NMSU 103, UNM 84 (The Pit, 12/22/79)
• 103: NMSU 103, UNM 72 (Pan Am, 12/5/06)
• 101: NMSU 101, UNM 86 (Pan Am, 12/11/82)
• 100: NMSU 100, UNM 65 (Pan Am, 12/4/18)

Rice is nice

Jabari Rice tried his best to will the Aggies back for a win. And at times, it looked like he just might pull it off.

Like when he did this with 14:16 left to play…

Rice got a 3-point play with that dunk in traffic and added a pair of free throws less than 30 seconds later to cut the UNM lead to 61-60 — the closest it was the entire second half.

About those free throws….

First off, both UNM and NMSU try, and often succeed, in getting plenty of points from the free through line.

But 77 free throw attempts is pretty crazy.

UNM was 35-of-42 from the charity stripe (83.3%) and so far this season ranks 30th in the country (out of 358 Division I teams) in percentage of points from free throws (22.8%).

NMSU was 27-of-35 from the free throw line (77.1%) and gets 18.8% of its points per game from the free throw line (the national average is 17.8%).

For those who feel the foul count — or more specifically the free throw attempts count — was unfairly lopsided, it should be noted that before NMSU started fouling the Lobos intentionally with 1:53 remaining in the game and UNM leading 87-80, NMSU actually had attempted 29 free throws to just 28 for the Lobos.

Over the final 1:53, UNM hit 12-of-14 free throws while NMSU was fouling intentionally to try and extend the game. Those 14 FTAs in the final 1:53 pushed UNM’s FTA’s from 28 to 42 while NMSU shot six FTs in that final 1:53 while UNM was actually trying hard not to foul (they didn’t always succeed, of course).

Well, that was weird (continued)…

Meanwhile, during the power outage delay…


The announced attendance at Tuesday’s game in the Pan American Center: not really sure

There was not an announced attendance placed on the official stat sheet after the game and not one officially announced to the media.

I did see a couple tweets about it being around 7,000 fans, which may be accurate, I’m just not sure where that came from since NMSU’s basketball sports information director said there wasn’t one he could release after the game.

But, there is no mistaken it was loud and a lot of people were lined up to get in the game before hand…

What about KJ?

K.J. Jenkins has how missed two games for UNM with an ankle injury.

The Lobo sharpshooter missed easily the team’s worst game of the season last week in Las Vegas when they scored a season low against Towson in a 73-58 loss.

And he also missed Tuesday’s game in Las Cruces, easily the Lobos’ best game of the season when they scored a season high against NMSU in a 101-94 win.

So, yeah. I don’t know what to do with that.

But Pitino did say he hopes Jenkins is back for the NMSU rematch on Monday in the Pit.

Well, that was weird (continued)…

Meanwhile, while the players returned to the court for the second half…

Oh, those boards…

For just the third time this season, UNM won the battle of the boards. The Lobos outrebounded the Aggies 39-35 and had 10 offensive rebounds to 8, leading to a 13-8 advantage in second chance points.

Around the Mountain

There were seven games over the previous two days around the Mountain West (two Monday, five on Tuesday) and three more coming on Wednesday.

• Utah State 93, (NAIA) Carroll College 63
• Wyoming 79, CSU-Fullerton 66

• Saint Louis 86, Boise State 82 (OT)
• New Mexico 101, New Mexico State 94
• San Jose State 61, South Dakota 52
• San Diego State 72, Long Beach State 47
• Nevada 79, Pepperdine 66

• UNLV at SMU, 6 p.m. MT
• Little Rock at Colorado State, 7 p.m. MT
• San Diego at Fresno State, 8 p.m. MT

Mountain West standings

Through Tuesday’s games, here are the overall records for the Mountain West in men’s hoops:

7-0 Colorado State
6-0 Wyoming
6-1 Air Force
6-1 Utah State
5-1 Fresno State
5-2 San Diego State
5-3 New Mexico
4-3 UNLV
4-4 Nevada
3-3 San Jose State
3-4 Boise State

Meanwhile, back in the Pit …

It was a two-fer night for UNM hoops with the women’s team holding serve back home in Albuquerque with an 86-50 win over Grambling State.

Here is what colleague Ken Sickenger wrote about that blowout up the road in Albuquerque…


Here are the plus/minus numbers for BOTH the Lobos and Aggies from Tuesday’s game with minutes played in parenthesis:

+12 Jaelen House (35:57)
+10 Emmanuel Kuac (23:19)
+6 Jay Allen-Tovar (31:03)
+6 Javonte Johnson (36:33)
+3 Taryn Todd (17:22)
+3 Gethro Muscadin (15:33)
0 Jamal Mashburn Jr. (27:59)
-5 Saquan Singleton (12:14)

+5 Johnny McCants (12:44)
0 Levar Williams (13:43)
0 Mike Peake (8:30)
-1 Nate Pryor (1:54)
-2 Donnie Tillman (27:24)
-2 Yuat Alok (5:01)
-5 Will McNair (34:59)
-5 Mario McKinney Jr. (4:27)
-6 Jabari Rice (38:06)
-8 Marchelus Avery (14:48)
-11 Teddy Allen (38:24)

Line ’em up

Here’s a look at some good, some bad lineups for both teams on Tuesday:

• Best +/- for UNM:
> Jaelen House/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Javonte Johnson/Jay Allen-Tovar/Emmanuel Kuac
> On court together: 10:39
> Score differential: plus-8 (UNM 25, NMSU 17)
> Note, In just 3:32 on the court together, the lineup of Jaelen House/Taryn Todd/Javonte Johnson/Jay Allen-Tovar/Emmanuel Kuac had a plus-7 in a much smaller period of time (3:32).

• Worst +/- for UNM:
> Saquan Singleton/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Javonte Johnson/Emmanuel Kuac/Jay Allen-Tovar
> On court together: 2:09
> Score differential: minus-6 (NMSU 11, UNM 5)

• Best +/- for NMSU:
> Teddy Allen/Jabari Rice/Donnie Tillman/Johnny McCants/Will McNair (starting lineup)
> On court together: 10:58
> Score differential: plus-8 (NMSU 29, UNM 21)

• Worst +/- for NMSU:
> Teddy Allen/Marchelus Avery/Jabari Rice/Donnie Tillman/Will McNair
> On court together: 6:45
> Score differential: minus-14 (UNM 20, NMSU 6)

Video: Presser with Pitino

Here is some abbreviated postgame video of Richard Pitino and Jaelen House after the Lobos win in Las Cruces (didn’t have much time for these as the power-outage delay had me already busting deadline pretty badly)…

Stats and stats

Here is a picture of the final stat sheet that was handed out after the game, though it does have an error that was later corrected. Jaelen House had 31 points and Jay Allen-Tovar had 15. Box score: New Mexico 101, New Mexico State 94

And if you just want to skim a digital version of the stats, here you go: New Mexico 101, New Mexico State 94

Can you hear me now?

Just in case Tuesday night wasn’t weird enough, as I was literally the last person in the Pan Am Center — after all fans were gone and the facilities crew bolted — I was packing up my things under one of the few generator lights left on near the folding table I was working at on the concourse. That’s when I heard a phone ringing somewhere in the dark, empty arena.

I looked to see if I could find a light shining from the face of the phone. I couldn’t.

Then it went off.

Moments later, it rang again, so I started walking around the arena, tripping on popcorn boxes and nachos left behind and not cleaned immediately after the game as usual due to the power outage, and kept walking toward the ringtone.

Finally, down near courtside near the north baseline, I find, face down, a cell phone wedged in a folded up seat.

But I missed the call and had no way to unlock the phone to see who it belongs to.

Again, I’m the only one in the dark Pan Am Center at this point, so I don’t even know where to leave the phone for a lost and found.

I tweeted about it because, well, because I tweet about everything. And I was warned not to answer the phone!

… But, there is a happy ending.

They phone’s owner took one more chance and called it. I was able to answer and the phone has been reunited with its person.

Until next time…

Welp, this one was one for the history books, that’s for sure. Another memorable night in this rivalry’s history.

Until next time, Pan American Center…

Home » Sports » College » Emptying the Notebook: Lobos light up scoreboard in win over NMSU

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