Emptying the Notebook: Lobos frustrated by turnovers, Miners defense - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: Lobos frustrated by turnovers, Miners defense

Lobos bench vs. UTEP
From left, UNM Lobos Jaelen House, Taryn Todd and Sebastian Forsling show their frustration on the team’s bench late in Sunday’s game vs. UTEP in the Pit. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)
Here are a few extra notes, quotes, stats, videos or whatever else I could empty out of the old notebook after Sunday’s 77-69 Lobos loss to UTEP in the Pit:

A number to know: 24

UTEP scored 24 points off 16 Lobo turnovers on Sunday.

Both the points off turnovers and the number of turnovers are the second highest of the season for UNM.

In my Sunday preview article in the Journal, I highlighted what appeared to be a statistical strength vs. strength sort of matchup to watch for. I noted that UTEP has been one of the best teams in the country at forcing turnovers, and coach Joe Golding’s teams in the past at Abilene Christian had been top 10 nationally for the previous three seasons. On the other side of the court, though, I noted UNM has been one of the best teams in Division I basketball this season at not turning the ball over at a high rate.

You can read more on all that in Sunday’s article:

In Sunday afternoon’s game, however, UTEP quickly showed what I thought would be a strength vs. strength matchup wasn’t much of one at all.

Through 11 games — a third of the season already — the Lobos remain one of the best in the country at not turning the ball over. Even after Sunday’s game they rank 30th nationally (out of 358 Division I teams) in turnover rate. UNM turns the ball over on just 15.7% of their possessions vs. a national average of 19.1%.

But just two of their opponents through 11 games actually rank in the top 120 in the country in defensive turnover rate (that’s how how often they force their opponents into turnovers).

Those teams? UAB (No. 7 in defensive TO%) and UTE (49th).

So the Lobos lost to the only two teams they’ve played that are in top 120 at forcing turnovers, and not surprisingly gave up the two worst points off turnover totals to those two teams.

Nov. 25 vs. UAB
• UNM 20 turnovers
• UAB 25 points off turnovers

Sunday vs. UTEP
• UNM 16 turnovers
• UTEP 24 points off turnovers

Other 11 UNM games
• UNM averaged 10.8 turnovers
• Other teams averaged 12.4 points off turnovers

So, while the sample size remains far too low to draw big conclusions here, the reality from what we have seen is that the Lobos may, indeed, be very good at not turning the ball over against low-pressure or average-pressure teams. They’ve not yet proven they can handle high-pressure, high-physical opponents.

The gamer

Here is the gamer I filed after Sunday’s game in the Pit:

He said it: Golding

Joe Golding, the first-year coach of the UTEP Miners who coached in the Pit in 2016 with Abilene Christian (UNM won 64-55 on Nov. 30, 2016) said when you play in Albuquerque, you absolutely have to play the crowd.

So he worked at using timeouts or otherwise finding ways to calm the crowd when it was on the verge of erupting.

“It’s the Pit. It’s loud. It’s intimidating. It’s a tough place to play. … That’s a real thing, here at the Pit. You’ve got to play the crowd. I thought our guys did a good job of keeping the crowd out of it for the most part of the game.”

Unfamiliar territory

UTEP and UNM have played 147 times, including 39 in the Pit. The Lobos have a 28-11 edge in the arena.

Sunday’s win for UTEP, however, was the first since 2009, though it isn’t exactly as though the two programs have played much in recent memory ever since the Steve Alford/Tim Floyd tiff that pretty much halted the regional rivalry for a good chunk of time.

That said, while Sunday was the last in a four-game contract between the two, I talked to Joe Golding after the game and he’s all for continuing it.

It’s good for both programs in terms of solid non-conference opponents, finances and for the fans.

Here’s a recap of the six times UNM and UTEP have played in the Pit this century:

• UTEP 77, UNM 69 (Sunday)
• UNM 84, UTEP 78 (Nov. 24, 2018)
• UNM 78, UTEP 77 (Dec. 7, 2016)
• UNM 69, UTEP 57 (March 15, 2011 – NIT)
• UTEP 73, UNM 60 (Jan. 6, 2009)
• UNM 76, UTEP 72 (Nov. 26, 2005)

The Saquan dilemma

Here’s the deal with Saquan Singleton.

He is a very good creator on offense. He can get in the lane. He can pass. He can dribble. On the other end, he can defend multiple positions. He can rebound.

And he can lead. He does a lot of things that make his teammates better:

But the dilemma with playing him big minutes is that defenses can sag off him on the perimeter because he’s not a threat to shoot and he’s hard to keep in close games late because he is a liability at the free throw line. He was 1-of-4 at the line on Sunday and is 10-of-24 (41.7%) on free throws this season.

His full stat line off the bench on Sunday:
• 11 points
• 9 rebounds
• 5 assists
• 1 turnover
• 1-of-4 free throws

“He does a lot of really, really good things,” Pitino said. “It’s just free throw shooting. That’s an issue that we got to continue to work with him on. But he rebounds. He obviously sees over the defense with assists. But he was in that that group at the end (of the game) there that that fought. That’s all we can ask right now as we try to build this culture.”

Attendance

Announced attendance for UTEP at UNM on Sunday afternoon: 9,044

Through Sunday’s game, here are the average home attendance figures in the Mountain West (and a few regional programs thrown in at the bottom):

1. San Diego State — 11,957
2. New Mexico — 9,114
3. Utah State — 7,956
4. Boise State — 6,996
5. Nevada — 6,963
6. Colorado State — 5,074
7. UNLV — 4,992
8. Wyoming — 3,542
9. Fresno State — 3,506
10. San Jose State — 1,382
11. Air Force — 1,376

• Texas Tech (Big 12) — 13,148
• Arizona (Pac-12) — 12,230
• Colorado (Pac-12) — 6,680
• New Mexico State (WAC) — 6,023
• UTEP (CUSA) — 5,037

Well, shoot…

The Lobos shot 39.7% from the field on Sunday and just 37.0% in the first half.

There was one stretch that overlapped the first and second halves (the second half was when UTEP started on that 16-1 scoring run) that the Lobos shot a horrific 2-of-20.

You won’t win many games when, at any point during a game, you have a shot log that looks like this (the tweet notes 2-of-18, but it was actually 2 makes and 18 misses in that stretch, so 2-of-20 is what I should have posted):

Another number to know: 2

Speaking of shooting slumps…

Jamal Mashburn Jr. scored 2 points on Sunday, ending his consecutive games to start the season (and a Lobo career) scoring in double figures at 10.

Mashburn’s start to his Lobo career remains as impressive as just about any in recent memory overall, but he is coming off his first two real bad games at UNM.

Thursday vs. Denver, though in a comfortable win and though he did reach double figures, Mash shot 2-for-10 from the field. Add that to Sunday’s 1-for-12 and we’re in pretty dreadful shooting slump territory for a team that relies heavily on his ability to hit a shot in key moments.

Mashburn’s past two games
• Denv: 2-10 FGs (2-7 2FG / 0-4 3FG)
• UTEP: 1-12 FGs (1-7 2FG / 0-5 3FG)
• Total: 3-22 FGs (3-14 2FG / 0-9 3FG)
• Avgs: 13.6% FGs (21.4% 2FG / 0% 3FG)

My take away: Horrible slump, but he’ll be fine. Nothing has changed my mind that Mashburn has potential to become not just a good Lobo, but a great Lobo.

Some HOF praise

So, while Mashburn and House may have struggled on Sunday (3-of-19 combined shooting and eight combined turnovers), they got some praise from Naismith Hall of Famer and former Denver Nugget Alex English, who was at the game Sunday signing autographs and spent time with the team before the game, including watching them at a shoot around.

Plus/minus

Here are the plus/minus stats (and time played) from Sunday’s game for both UNM and UTEP:

UNM LOBOS
+5 Javonte Johnson (30:51)
+3 K.J. Jenkins (23:26)
+1 Taryn Todd (16:10)
-2 Saquan Singleton (28:28)
-2 Sebastian Forsling (2:04)
-6 Jaelen House (21:34)
-6 Gethro Muscadin (25:51)
-13 Jay Allen-Tovar (21:14)
-20 Jamal Mashburn Jr. (30:22)

UTEP MINERS
+19 Tydus Verhoeven (24:08)
+15 Souley Boum (36:32)
+15 Jorell Saterfield (20:09)
+11 Christian Agnew (36:18)
+8 Keonte Kennedy (40:00)
0 Bonke Maring (4:00)
-1 Alfred Hollins (18:25)
-7 Jamari Sibley (3:22)
-10 Kevin Kalu (9:56)
-10 Emmanuel White (7:10)

Line ’em up…

There were 14 unique lineup combinations used by the Lobos in Sunday’s game. Here’s a look at a few notable ones:

STARTING LINEUP
• Who: House/Mashburn/Todd/Johnson/Muscadin
• Point differential: -7 (6-13)
• Time on court: 7:31

BEST LINEUP
• Who: Jenkins/Todd/Singleton/Johnson/Muscadin
• Point differential: +8 (20-12)
• Time on court: 4:38

WORST LINEUP
• Who: Jenkins/Mashburn/Singleton/Allen-Tovar/Muscadin
• Point differential: -9 (0-9)
• Time on court: 3:14

For UTEP, it was a bit of a mix and match type of day as the Miners were missing starting point guard Jamal Bieniemy (injured last week vs. Kansas) and foul trouble for forwards Kevin Kalu and Alfred Hollins made keeping them on the floor for extended periods difficult.

But Joe Golding found one combination that worked really well, and stuck with it as long as he could.

UTEP’S BEST LINEUP
• Who: Boum/Agnew/Kennedy/Saterfield/Verhoeven
• Point differential: +16 (34-18)
• Time on court: 12:15

The important stuff…

The Lobos tried out three jersey combinations in the past three home games in the Pit. How’d they do?

Around the Mountain…

The Lobos were the only Mountain West team playing on Sunday after a busy, and successful for the league, set of Saturday games. The rest of the week is relatively slow as many schools are in finals week:

SATURDAY
• Colorado State 66, Mississippi State 63
• UNLV 95, Hartford 78
• San Jose State 78, Pacific 66
• Fresno State 63, UC Irvine 55
• Utah State 82, New Orleans 50
• Wyoming 74, Utah Valley 62

SUNDAY
• UTEP 77, New Mexico 69

MONDAY
No games scheduled

TUESDAY
• Santa Clara at Boise State, 7 p.m.

Mountain West records

Here are the records for the 11 Mountain West men’s hoops teams through Sunday night:

10-0 Colorado State
9-1 Wyoming
8-2 Fresno State
7-2 Air Force
7-3 Utah State
6-3 San Diego State
6-4 Boise State
5-4 San Jose State
6-5 New Mexico
6-5 UNLV
4-4 Nevada

Meanwhile, in Tucson…

The Lobo men weren’t the only one playing an old regional rival on Sunday.

The UNM women’s team lost in Tucson on Sunday to No. 10 Arizona, 77-60.

Video: Presser with Pitino (and Golding)

Here is the postgame media session with Richard Pitino on Sunday, and a couple snippets I recorded of UTEP coach Joe Golding’s media session.

Hey, we know that guy…

Former Lobo Cameron Bairstow getting some love by his Adelaide 36ers team in Australia’s NBL:

Bairstow had 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in just under 20 minutes played in Sunday’s win over the New Zealand Breakers.

Stats and stats

Here is a picture of the final stat sheet handed out to media after Sunday’s game in the Pit: UTEP 77, New Mexico 69

And for a digital version of the final stats, here you go: UTEP 77, New Mexico 69

Up next…

The Lobos have a week off to sit think about that rough loss. They host SMU in the Pit at 1 p.m. Sunday (Dec. 19).

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Emptying the Notebook: Lobos frustrated by turnovers, Miners defense


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