Emptying the Notebook: Lobo Allen-Tovar steps up at Wyoming - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: Lobo Allen-Tovar steps up at Wyoming

New Mexico forward Jay Allen-Tovar grabs the ball during the Lobos’ game Saturday against Wyoming in Laramie. (Photo courtesy Troy Babbitt/UW Media-Athletics)

Here are a few extra notes, stats, odds & ends that I emptied out of the old notebook after Saturday’s 93-91 Lobos loss at Wyoming on Saturday night in Laramie:

Jay early, Jay often

Lobo forward Jay Allen-Tovar carried the scoring load early and often on Saturday for the Lobos in what was an offensive shootout in Laramie.

The 6-foot-9 junior scored a career-high 25 points, including the first seven points for UNM to get the team off to a quick start and settle any nerves there may have been on the road.

By the time he hit a 3-pointer with 15:26 still left in the game, he had already matched his previous Division I scoring high of 18 points scored all the way back in the season opener on Nov. 10 against Florida Atlantic.

“I think his attitude has changed and he’s letting us coach him. And he’s flourishing,” Lobo coach Richard Pitino told the Journal after the game. “We had a really good talk a couple of weeks ago, and I think he’s trusting us as coaches. And he’s believing in us. And we’re putting him in a position to succeed.”

Of Allen-Tovar’s five double-digit scoring games, this season, two have come in the past three games (he also had 11 vs. Boise State on Jan. 15).

Allen-Tovar on Saturday added a team-high six rebounds to his team-best 25 points, which came on his hitting 6-of-7 2-pointers, 4-of-7 3-pointers, and 1-of-2 free throws.

And he played some ‘4’, which he prefers, and some of the ‘5’, which he has said he’s not as fond of. When you see centers like Wyoming’s Graham Ike, can you blame him?

“We have to play him at the ‘4’ as well as the ‘5’. We can’t avoid it. It just is what it is,” Pitino said. “But he’s got great upside and he’s still young.”

The gamer…

Here is the game story I wrote after Saturday’s Lobo game in Laramie…

I’ve been benched

For those who don’t follow me on Twitter, you may not know about me posting on Friday that, while in Fort Collins, I experienced symptoms of COVID-19 and before driving up to Laramie on Friday for Saturday’s game, decided to test.

I tested positive. So, instead of driving north to Laramie, I drove south the Denver for the night. Canceled my Sunday flight back to Albuquerque and arranged for a rental car to drive home from Denver on Saturday.

I made just before game time and covered the game off the CBS Sports Network broadcast and off the live game stat feed.

Anyway, I’m home with the Rona. Will work from here as best I can, but won’t be able to be at Tuesday’s home game in the Pit, either, as my five day quarantine wont end until Wednesday (with the hope it will just need to be the five day minimum).

The call!

A pair of Jaelen House free throws pulled the Lobos within two points (89-87) with 26 seconds remaining in Saturday’s game.

The Lobos press and force a bad pass that K.J. Jenkins steals and he passes it to Jamal Mashburn Jr.

The Lobos have the exact scenario they want in the closing seconds:
• They kept the game close enough on the road (as 12-point underdogs) to have a chance at the end…
• They executed their press successfully…
• They forced a turnover…
• The get the ball in the hands of their leading scorer, who drives to the hoop to either hit a shot or draw contact…
• There is a foul called on…

So there’s the play. A charge was called on Mashburn. In a two point game, that call giving the ball back to Wyoming to inbouds and get fouled by the Lobos was really the decider.

But the drama came from Lobo coach Richard Pitino going ballistic on a referee and drawing a technical foul (Wyoming’s Drake Jeffries hit just one of two technical free throws, so it was still a one-possession game after the technical).

“I don’t apologize for it,” Pitino told the Journal after the game. “That’s all I’ll really go into. I didn’t agree with it.”

As for Wyoming? Here’s what coach Jeff Linder said when asked what he saw in the play:

“I was still probably trying to figure out what went on with Drake and Wenzel and Maldo throwing the ball back around like a hot potato and giving it to the other team,” Linder said. “But that’s what Maldo does. And we talk about all the time. You’ve got to make winning plays, and for him to beat (Mashburn) to the spot like he did, I mean that’s what that’s why a guy like Maldo does. It’s why he wins games. That’s why we’re 15-2 — we find ways to do that, but probably should not have been in that situation.”

As for Maldonado?

“(Mashburn) was pushing off all game,” Maldonado said. “I knew if I was gonna get on him one more time and he was driving to his right and strong and he liked to push off with that left arm. … So I just sat on that. I had been talking the refs about it all game because he got away with it a couple times.”

Oh, and one more reaction.

Seconds after the call was made, this from UNM women’s coach Mike Bradbury showed up on Twitter:

Not counting retweets, the last time Bradbury tweeted was on Nov. 10.

A number to know: 10

The Lobos hit 10 3-pointers on Saturday in Laramie.

In the previous 25 Wyoming games, the Cowboys had allowed only Arizona (11) to hit 10 or more 3-pointers.

Another reason Saturday’s 10 3s was impressive for the Lobos is because K.J. Jenkins, the team’s top 3-point shooter, was 0-for-5 from deep (he did get a lot of attention on the perimeter and did draw a foul late from beyond the arc, converting those into three made FTs).

Saturday, the Lobos had four players chip in hitting 3s.

Wednesday at Colorado State, it was six players hitting the team’s 14 3s.

Last week vs. Boise State, it was four Lobos combining for 10.

In fact, the Lobos have now hit 10 or more 3-pointers in four of past five games after having not doing it once in the previous 11. That’s a stat I’ve used here in ETN multiple times of late, but as long as they keep hitting ’em, I’ll keep updating the stat.

The Ike factor

Wyoming sophomore center Graham Ike didn’t play in Wednesday’s home win over San Jose State. He had banged his knee on the court in Monday’s game against Nevada and needed some rest.

But he was back and looked like his usual capable, dominant self on Saturday, finishing with 29 points and 15 rebounds. He is one of only 14 Division I players in the country this season to have a 29 point/15 rebound game. (Fellow Mountain West payer Justin Bean of Utah State had one of the others with his 33 point/16 rebound game against Penn on Nov. 18).

So, Ike was pretty dominant. And all in a game that I tweeted this early on in the game…

Yes, Arroyo actually did pretty good. As did freshman starter Sebastian Forsling.

And yet, 29 points/15 rebounds.

But for those who haven’t followed Ike’s or Wyoming’s season, this is what he does. Saturday, he was 11-of-13 at the free throw line and drew a game-high nine fouls.

Ike leads the nation — every player on 358 Division I teams — in fouls drawn per 40 minutes played (8.3).

So, here’s the hot take, expert analysis you all come here for: He’s pretty darn good.

Some Jordan Arroyo love

As mentioned above, walk-on Jordan Arroyo actually did have quality run on the court (he played a season high 11 minutes and appeared in just his fourth game).

“Normally walk-ons are guards,” Lobo coach Richard Pitino said. “When you can have walk-ons that are bigs, it’s really, really helpful. I thought that Jordan, in unfortunate circumstances, gave us some good minutes (on Saturday).”

Seeing double

Jamal Mashburn Jr. had 22 points on 10-of-17 shooting Saturday, a sight for sore Lobo eyes in terms of the team’s leading scorer not only getting back in the 20s for scoring, but doing so with efficiency from the field after what has been a shooting slump for most of league play.

But not Saturday. And he got it done with his mid-range game fans so much of earlier in the season, some long balls (he was 2-of-3 from deep) and even a couple dunks thanks to a career-high four steals.

Here are those two dunks in one clip:

Half a win?

The Lobos did win the second half, 57-52.

Unfortunately for UNM fans, that doesn’t count as half a win. But those 57 points were the most the Lobos have scored in a half all season and the most allowed by Wyoming in a half.

Here are the five highest scoring halves of the season for the Lobos:
• 57 (2nd half) — Saturday at Wyoming
• 56 (2nd half) — Nov. 10 vs. Florida Atlantic
• 52 (2nd half) — Nov. 30 at NMSU
• 49 (1st half) — Nov. 30 at NMSU
• 49 (2nd half) — Nov. 15 vs. Grambling State

As impressive as 57 points in a half is, the Lobos still lost because they also allowed 52 points in the half to Wyoming, tied for the most UNM has allowed in a half this season.

Here are the five highest scoring halves of the season for opponents when playing the Lobos:
• 52 (2nd half) — Saturday at Wyoming
• 52 (2nd half) — Nov. 10 vs. Florida Atlantic
• 51 (2nd half) — Nov. 30 at NMSU
• 49 (2nd half) — Jan. 8 vs. Utah State
• 46 (1st half) — Dec. 19 vs. SMU


The announced attendance for Saturday’s game in Laramie was 5,368 — the best attendance at a Wyoming game this season.

Here’s a look at the true road game attendances this season the UNM Lobos have faced, as announced by the home teams:

• 7,224: Jan. 1 at Nevada
• 7,115: Nov. 13 at Colorado
• 6,516: Wednesday at Colorado State
• 6,208: Nov. 30 at New Mexico State
• 5,368: Saturday at Wyoming
• 3,860: Jan. 11 at UNLV

He said it (or tweeted it)

Nobody is wanting to raise a banner in the rafters for the stretch of moral victories the Lobos has had recently. They are still just 0-6.

But at least some Lobo fans are paying close enough attention to the games that they realize the team is improving and playing really well lately.

Free throws

UNM went 0-2 this past week at CSU (Wednesday) and Wyoming (Saturday).

Here are the combined free throw numbers in those games:

• 11-15 FTs: UNM
• 47-61 FTs: CSU/Wyoming

I asked Pitino what the Lobos need to change to get back to the free throw line like the team was doing with such regularity earlier this season.

“We don’t have to change anything. It’s just a matter of continuing to attack and to play our game,” Pitino said. “It is what it is. I thought today’s attack was good. I really did. I can’t complain much about the offense.”


Here are the plus/minus numbers from Saturday’s game with minutes in parenthesis:

+5 Javonte Johnson (32:10)
+3 Jamal Mashburn Jr. (35:59)
+2 Jaelen House (29:35)
-2 Jay Allen-Tovar (38:12)
-2 K.J. Jenkins (25:54)
-2 Jeremiah Francis (00:20)
-3 Sebastian Forsling (12:22)
-4 Jordan Arroyo (10:57)
-7 Taryn Todd (14:31)

+5 Jeremiah Oden (25:42)
+5 Noah Reynolds (25:53)
+4 Hunter Maldonado (37:43)
+2 Graham Ike (36:57)
0 Hunter Thompson (3:03)
-2 Brendan Wenzel (32:50)
-4 Drake Jeffries (37:52)

Line ’em up

The Lobos had 14 unique lineup combinations in Saturday’s game. Wyoming used seven.

And in a game that was decided by two points, it should come as no surprise not one lineup combination for either team was overly dominant or bad.

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

• Who: House/Mashburn/Johnson/Allen-Tovar/Forsling
• Point differential: -2 (22-24)
• Time on court: 10:11

• Who: House/Mashburn/Jenkins/Johnson/Allen-Tovar
• Point differential: +5 (34-29)
• Time on court: 12:04
• NOTE: While K.J. Jenkins stats didn’t look as good Saturday as they had on his recent tear of games (26 points at UNLV, 15 vs. Boise State, 17 at Colorado State), his presence on the court Saturday was a benefit to UNM as the defense had to respect his outside shooting potential and that opened up the floor for others. This lineup in particular scored 2.8 points per minute and was the one Pitino was most comfortable riding with for the longest time on the court together.

• Who: House/Jenkins/Todd/Allen-Tovar/Arroyo
• Point differential: -5 (0-5)
• Time on court: 2:56

Meanwhile, in San Diego…

Boise State improved to 6-0 with a big win at San Diego State.

In case you were wondering, that 42-37 score is NOT a halftime score. That’s the final.

Some interesting numbers here:

• 79 = Boise State/SDSU total
• 109 = UNM/Wyoming second half total
• 42 = Boise State’s third lowest point total in the KenPom era (2001-02 season) and only time they’ve won in that span scoring below 50
• 37 = Second fewest points SDSU has scored in the KenPom era

Around the Mountain

There were four games around the Mountain West on Saturday, wrapping up six-consecutive games of league contests for a league trying desperately to catch back up after losing so many games to postponements in late December and early January.

• Colorado State 73, Air Force 53
• UNLV 70, San Jose State 62
• Wyoming 93, New Mexico 91
• Boise State 42, San Diego State 37

• UNLV at San Diego State, 6 p.m. PT/7 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

• Nevada at Colorado State, 7 p.m. MT (FS1)
• Wyoming at Boise State, 7 p.m. MT (Stadium)
• Fresno State at UNM, 7 p.m. MT (Stadium)
• Air Force at San Jose State, 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT (TheMW)

Mountain West standings

Through Saturday’s games:

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

Meanwhile, back in the Pit…

On the other end of the Mountain West standings spectrum from the Lobo men at 0-6 are the Lobo women now at 7-0 in their respective Mountain West standings.

Here is colleague Ken Sickenger’s write up from Saturday’s come from behind victory for the UNM women in the Pit:

Stats and stats

Here’s the final stat sheet I tweeted after Saturday’s game: Wyoming 93, New Mexico 91

And here is a link to the digital version of the stats: Wyoming 93, New Mexico 91

Up Next

UNM hosts Fresno State at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Pit. That game will be streamed on the Watch Stadium app and can be heard on 770 AM/96.3 FM.

Grammer’s Guesses

Welp, it’s good to know with COVID or without it, I’m the same at this picking games thing.

I went 1-3 on Saturday in picking games against the point spread and am now a pathetic 11-17-1 on the season.

My daughter’s coin flip picks had a perfect 4-0 Saturday and she passes me and is now 12-16-1 and starting her hot streak.

Home » Sports » Emptying the Notebook: Lobo Allen-Tovar steps up at Wyoming

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