Emptying the Notebook: Return of longball gives Lobos a puncher's chance - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: Return of longball gives Lobos a puncher’s chance

Moby Arena at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo., on Jan. 19, 2022. (Geoff Grammer/Albuquerque Journal)

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Here are some extra notes, quotes, stats, videos and all sorts of other odds & ends I emptied out of the old notebook after Wednesday’s 80-74 Lobos loss at Colorado State:

A number to know: 14

The Lobos hit 14 3-pointers on Wednesday.

It was the fifth time this season the Lobos have hit double-digit 3-pointers and third in the past four games.

Who hit them? Six Lobos combined for the 14 made 3s, led by K.J. Jenkins going 5-of-9 from deep and Javonte Johnson’s 4-of-5 showing from beyond the arc. Here’s one from each of them:

… and …

UNM getting hot from the perimeter seemed like it would be the norm this season when it opened the Richard Pitino era hitting 12 treys in the opener against Florida Atlantic on Nov. 10 and then 10 in a Nov. 15 win over Grambling State, the third game of the season.

But then there was an 11-game stretch where the Lobos couldn’t get to double digit 3-pointers.

Well, they’re doing it again.

Here’s a look at the Lobos shooting 3-pointers in Mountain West play:

• 9-of-26 (34.6%) — at Nevada
• 17-of-35 (50.0%) — vs. Utah State
• 7-of-31 (22.6%) — at UNLV
• 10-of-19 (52.6%) — vs. Boise State
• 14-of-33 (42.4%) — at CSU

The gamer

Here is the gamer I filed from Moby Arena after Wednesday’s game in Fort Collins…

Just a little on Javonte

I plan to write an article on Javonte Johnson’s up and down offensive numbers in the next couple days before the Wyoming game.

That includes me asking his coach and teammates Jaelen House and K.J. Jenkins after Wednesday’s game how much of his passive games are on him and how much are on teammates not finding him.

For now, I’ll just post his numbers in Mountain West play and note that the Lobos absolutely need him to be a consistent third/fourth scoring option, whether it’s all on him or all on his teammates to make that happen:

• 0 points at Nevada (0-0 2FG/0-2 3FG/0-0 FT)
• 23 points vs. Utah State (1-3 2FG/7-9 3FG/0-0 FT)
• 7 points at UNLV (1-2 2FG/1-2 3FG/2-3 FT)
• 0 points vs. Boise State (0-0 2FG/0-0 3FG/0-1 FT)
• 18 points at Colorado State (3-3 2FG/4-5 3FG/0-1 FT)

Saquan out

Lobo senior guard Saquan Singleton, one of three tri-captains, was on the Lobos bench with a walking boot on Wednesday after re-injuring a toe he initially hurt in practices leading up to the team’s Jan. 1 game at Nevada.

“I think it’s day-to-day,” Lobo coach Richard Pitino said. “I don’t think it’s long term.”

It’s unclear if Singleton will be able to play in Saturday’s game at Wyoming, but the Lobos could certainly use him. He is the fourth scholarship player who wasn’t available for the Lobos on Wednesday with 6-11 Valdir Manuel having never played this season, 6-10 Gethro Muscadin having left the program in December and 6-7 Emmanuel Kuac now out for the season with a broken leg.

Singleton, a versatile 6-6 senior, has played in 12 games, starting four times and averages 5.6 points and 4.0 rebounds.

Roddy and Stevens

Before Wednesday’s game, CSU recognized Isaiah Stevens and David Roddy for each being the latest members of the 1,000 point scoring club.

Not bad as it’s still just January of their junior seasons.

Stevens and Roddy are, in my opinion, both first team All-Mountain West players this season. Stevens is the former MWC Freshman of the Year and Roddy now one of the front runners for the league’s Player of the Year.

I’m clearly not the only one who thinks both are all-league types this season.

“They’ve got great experience. They’ve been playing with each other a lot. And Roddy and Stevens, I think, are two first team all conference players,” Lobos coach Richard Pitino said after Wednesday’s game.

To put into perspective the experience disparity for the Lobos, here is a list of the top two career scorers at the Division I level for the two programs currently:

• 1,096 pts — David Roddy
• 1,076 pts — Isaiah Stevens

• 556 pts — Jamal Mashburn Jr.
• 501 pts — Jaelen House

But that factors in Mashburn’s time at Minnesota and House at Arizona State. Here’s a look at those same four players just while at CSU and UNM:

• 1,096 pts — David Roddy (75 games at CSU)
• 1,076 pts — Isaiah Stevens (75 games at CSU)

• 319 — Jamal Mashburn Jr. (18 games at UNM)
• 272 — Jaelen House (17 games at UNM)

Crying foul

Pitino made it clear, the Lobos’ free throw shooting issues on Wednesday were not about referees.

The Lobos, a team that earlier this season I was writing about leading the nation in free throw attempts and free throws made, are now a team that can’t rely on the whistle to get them to the line to score points.

On Wednesday, CSU outscored UNM at the line by 18 points (20-of-26 to UNM’s 2-of-4).

The Lobos’ 6.9% free throw rate (FTA/FGA) on Wednesday night is the third lowest for the program in the KenPom era (dating back to the 2001-02 season).

Here are the worst five free throw rates in the KenPom era for the Lobos (not surprisingly all five were losses):

• 4.0 (2 FTA/50 FGA) — at Air Force on Feb. 9, 2002
• 6.6 (4 FTA/61 FGA) — vs. Utah State in Lubbock on Jan. 8, 2021
• 6.9 (4 FTA/58 FGA) –at CSU on Wednesday
• 7.8 (5 FTA/64 FGA) — at Texas Tech on Jan. 1, 2007
• 7.8 (4 FTA/51 FGA) — at Air Force on Feb. 22, 2006

Another number to know: 4

UNM had four offensive rebounds on Wednesday while missing 29 field goals and two free throws.

That is, well… that’s awful.

Look, they were never going to be a great rebounding team, but the Lobos are becoming before our very eyes one of the country’s worst rebounding teams, and their lack of offensive rebounding is approaching alarmingly low depths.

Yes, getting everyone back on defense instead of crashing the offensive boards has helped the Lobos’ transition defense since the Utah State game when they gave up far too many second half layups by simply not getting back on defense, but the give and take between offensive rebounding and transition defense is rarely this all or nothing.

Here are the offensive rebounding numbers for the Lobos in Mountain West play:

• 15 at Nevada
• 10 vs. Utah State (starting center Emmanuel Kuac broke his leg)
• 3 at UNLV
• 3 vs. Boise State
• 4 at Colorado State

What is somewhat remarkable is that on four offensive rebounds Wednesday, the Lobos did manage 8 second chance points. Getting 2 points for every offensive rebounds is tremendous.

Could you imagine if Boise State managed 2 second chance points for every offensive board it grabbed against the Lobos? BSU had 25 offensive boards and just 20 second chance points if you were wondering.

And who got those four offensive boards for the Lobos?

• K.J. Jenkins, a 6-2 guard, grabbed two of them
• The other two were “team” offensive rebounds, not credited to any individual player

Here was one of Jenkins’ offensive boards that quickly led to a Lobos 3-pointer…


The Lobos took a charter flight to Fort Collins on Tuesday and were counting on going back late Wednesday after the game.

Due to icy conditions, the team stayed overnight again in Colorado and was expected to fly home in the morning.

They return north on a charter flight to Laramie, Wyoming, on Friday for Saturday’s game.

As for that weather on Wednesday, it nearly cost us the game altogether. CSU closed its campus earlier in the day and, even though the two teams had already postponed the Dec. 28 game in Albuquerque earlier this season, there was a very real chance this one was going to get bumped, too.


The announced attendance at Moby Arena on Wednesday night: 6,516

Here’s where that ranks for announced home crowds the Lobos have played against (that means on the road):

• 7,224 — Nevada (Jan. 1)
• 7,115 — Colorado (Nov. 13)
• 6,516 — Colorado State (Wednesday)
• 6,208 — New Mexico State (Nov. 30)
• 3,860 — UNLV (Jan. 11)

Also worth noting was that Wednesday’s game set a single-game student attendance record at CSU of 3,844. The Tweet I’m posting, and I suppose the official postgame number the school is going with is 3,850 but in game I’m pretty sure they announced 3,844 (splitting hairs, but that’s why there are two different numbers).


Here are Wednesday’s plus/minus numbers for both teams with minutes played in parenthesis:

UNMJay Allen-Tovar (27:53)Jaelen House (36:02)Birima Seck (3:13)Sebastian Forsling (26:00)Jamal Mashburn Jr. (36:10)K.J. Jenkins (27:19)Taryn Todd (13:36)Javonte Johnson (29:47)

CSUDavid Roddy (33:16)Jalen Lake (22:04)Dischon Thomas (18:30)Chandler Jacobs (26:21)Kendle Moore (19:46)Isaiah Stevens (33:53)Baylor Hebb (3:13)Isaiah Rivera (3:31)John Tonje (21:30)Adam Thistlewood (11:12)James Moors (6:44)

Line ’em up

There were 11 unique lineup combinations used by the Lobos in Wednesday’s loss to Colorado State.

And there’s something to be said for knowing who you are. The Lobos roster of so many new players and ones dealing with starters being gone had as many as 21 lineup combinations just eight days prior in the loss at UNLV.

Colorado State, meanwhile, is a veteran team with so many returning players that they had just eight lineup combinations on Wednesday. They clearly aren’t still looking for what combinations might or might not work like the Lobos are.

Nevertheless, here’s a look at a few notable UNM lineups, starting with the starters:

Meanwhile, up the road…

Just up the road in Laramie, the Wyoming Cowboys continued their winning ways with a comfortable win over San Jose State despite being down two starters — forward/center Graham Ike (darkhorse Mountain West Player of the Year candidate) and guard Xavier DuSell.



tate 56


Force 56

h State 54


e State 69

New Mexico 74


h State, 7 p.m. MT

7 p.m.


ada 7 p.m MT


Air Force, noon MT

NLV, 1 p.m. MT

g, 5:30 p.m. MT

Diego State, 7:30 p.m.

Mountain West standings

Through Wednesday’s games, here is what the Mountain West standings look like:

4-0 Boise State


3>All too familiar…

While there were good vibes after Wednesday’s game because of the Lobos effort, they still lost. That means 0-5 in Mountain West play, which marks the second consecutive season the program lost its first five league games after having never starting worse than 0-3 in the first 21 seasons the Mountain West existed.

Not even!

Here’s the newest wackiness in the unevenness of game distribution the COVID postponements has created in this league.

• Three teams have completed five games

played just twice (and is scheduled to play again on Saturday)

t team to play a league game, then played three games in five days (Saturday, Monday and Wednesday) and hosts UNM for a fourth on Saturday

Stats and stats

Here is a tweet I posted after the game of the traditional state sheet: Colorado State 80, New Mexico 74

The Lobos next hit the road for a 5:30 p.m. game Saturday at Wyoming. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network and aired on radio in New Mexico on 770 AM/96.3 FM.

Grammer’s Guesses

I hope you all are paying close attention to my picks I post before all Mountain West games so you can go with the opposite and make soe real good money.

The Guesses went 0-for-2 on Wednesday, as did my daughter’s coin-clip picks, which are really digging an early season hole.

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