Emptying the Notebook: Mashburn continues quiet domination - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: Mashburn continues quiet domination

Lobo guard Jamal Mashburn Jr., left, puts up a floater past Air Force’s Joseph Octave on Saturday afternoon at the Pit. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
Here are a few extra notes, quotes, stats, videos and whatever other odds & ends I managed to empty out of the old notebook after Saturday’s 69-65 Lobos win over Air Force in the Pit:

Attacking Mash = Good Mash

I asked Jamal Mashburn Jr. on Thursday if he felt any pressure to try and one-up his backcourt mate Jaelen House’s last performance against Air Force when he put up 42 points.

Mashburn didn’t take the bait, batting away the lighthearted question with a quick, “Nah. It’s time for us to get a win.”

And, of course, the Lobos delivered on that with a 69-65 win over Air Force.

While Mashburn didn’t “one-up” House in points on Saturday, the 6-foot-2 shooting guard quietly put together two rather dominating games against the Falcons that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Points: 20
FG: 7-14 (50.0%)
FT: 5-7 (71.4%)
Fouls drawn: 5

Points: 24
FG: 7-20 (35.0%)
FT: 10-12 (83.3%)
Fouls drawn: 9

Points: 22.0 ppg
FG: 14-34 (41.2%)
FT: 15-19 (78.9%)
Fouls drawn: 14 (7.0/game)

Mashburn’s shooting percentage wasn’t off the charts on Saturday, but his lead-by-example attack mode was what set the tone for the Lobos to get back to attacking the rim and get to the foul line a Mountain West season-high 30 times on Saturday leading to a Mountain West high for UNM 25 made FTs.

Here are a couple and-1 opportunities Mashburn had in Saturday’s game thanks not only to attacking the rim, but a high skill set and strength that allows him to finish through contact:

And another…

Here are some of the milestones Mashburn hit in Saturday’s game:

• 18th consecutive game scoring in double figures
• Passed 500 points for the season (he’s at 519), making him the first to score 500 points in a season since Elijah Brown did it in the 2016-17 season
• He scored 20 or more for the 12th time, the fifth most in the Mountain West this season
• He and UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton remain the only two Mountain West players to score in double figures in every conference game this season.

“He’s one of the more mentally tough, disciplined kids out there,” Lobos coach Richard Pitino said of Mashburn after the game. “He has a belief in himself because he works hard.”

The gamer…

Here is the gamer I filed for the Journal after Saturday’s game:

A number to know: 12

The Lobos won game No. 12 on Saturday.

Is that what fans want in late February? Of course not. But is is double the amount of games the Lobos won a season ago when UNM was 6-16.

The Lobos’ four Mountain West wins is also double last season’s two league win total. UNM is 4-11 through 15 games and was 2-15 last season in 17 total MWC games.

Sweeping success…

UNM swept the season series with Air Force. Not exactly huge news most seasons, but sweeps aren’t exactly the norm in these parts anymore, whether fans realize it or not. They certainly don’t happen as regularly as they did a decade ago.

Here’s a look at UNM’s regular season sweeps over the past decade, not counting Mountain West Tournament games:

2021-22 SEASON
• Air Force

2020-21 SEASON
• none

2019-20 SEASON
• Wyoming
• New Mexico State

2018-19 SEASON
• none

2017-18 SEASON
• San Jose State
• Wyoming
• Colorado State

2016-17 SEASON
• San Diego State
• Boise State

2015-16 SEASON
• New Mexico State
• Nevada
• San Jose State
• Boise State

2014-15 SEASON
• New Mexico State

2013-14 SEASON
• Colorado State
• Wyoming
• San Jose State
• Utah State
• Nevada

2012-13 SEASON
• New Mexico State
• Fresno State
• Boise State
• Colorado State
• Wyoming
• Nevada

In case you missed it…

Earlier this week, I wrote a story about three former Lobo basketball players who were playing professional basketball in Ukraine this season. Two left the country last week. One was still in the country this week as Russian missile strikes began hitting the country.

Here’s my story from Thursday on those three players…

Allen-Tovar’s strong 2nd half…

After another frustrating first half for Jay Allen-Tovar with body language he couldn’t hide from anyone (in particular his head coach), the 6-foot-9 junior forward was nearly benched for the second half.

It wouldn’t have been the first time that happened this season. The low-energy, bad body language moments he often has, or at least portrays, is exactly what the coaching staff has been trying to eliminate from the team. And the staff has been working with him on it for months so he both plays hard but also doesn’t let his body language rub off on teammates.

“I was hard on him (at halftime),” Lobo coach Richard Pitino said. “I was I was frustrated with him in the first half very frustrated with him. I didn’t love the body language. I didn’t love the effort. And I was quite frankly ready to not play him in the second half.”

But Pitino said he and Allen-Tovar had a talk at the break and the forward “owned it, which is very, very important.”

The coach decided to play him in the second half, and Allen-Tovar delivered, finishing with 7 points, three blocked shots and a season-high 12 rebounds.

“And he brought great energy in the second half,” said Pitino. “I said I’m gonna give you one more chance, but if I see that walking around, we’re not dealing with that here. And to his credit, he responded great and he made some big plays, some big shot blocks, some big rebounds. He’s a very talented kid, he’s just got to continue to grow and mature.”

This dunk in the lane with 2:10 left put UNM up six…

… and this tip-dunk with 1:06 left was pretty much the final nail in the coffin …

Francis update…

Lobo guard Jeremiah Francis III was at home, sick, on Saturday, the team said.

You hear that?

The biggest news of Saturday to some might have been the return of the UNM band to the game.

Matchups make games…

K.J. Jenkins usually comes off the bench for UNM, but Richard Pitino put him into the starting lineup for both games vs. Air Force, knowing the matchup was a good one.

How did it pay off?

Pretty, pretty good.

I cover some of this again later in my usual “Line ’em up” section of this notebook below, but also wanted to pull this one out as a stand alone note.

Here’s how the starting lineup of Jaelen House, Jamal Mashburn Jr., K.J. Jenkins, Javonte Johnson and Jay Allen-Tovar fared over the two games, and combined:

• Total time on court: 15:26
• Point differential: +9 (32-23)

• Total time on court: 12:21
• Point differential: +11 (30-19)

• Total time on court: 27:47
• Point differential: +20 (62-42)

Now for the bad news.

This starting five has been used one other game this season: Last Sunday vs. San Jose State when it was outscored by nine points (16-7) in 7:52 on the floor together.

Familiar faces…

Some familiar faces were on Bob King Court at halftime on Saturday with several Lobo basketball alumni being recognized at halftime, which the crowd seemed to really enjoy.

Half the story (continued)…

Here’s a note I keep including lately because, frankly, the Lobos keep adding to it.

UNM scored just 24 points in the first half of Saturday’s game. That makes six times this season (out of 58 halves) that the Lobos scored 25 or fewer points, and three of those six have come in the past three games:

UNM being held to 25 or fewer points in a game this season:

• 21: Tuesday at Utah State (1st half)
• 22: Jan. 31 at San Diego State (1st half)
• 22: Jan. 15 vs. Boise State (1st half)
• 24: Saturday vs. Air Force (1st half)
• 25: Feb. 20 at San Jose State (2nd half)
• 25: Jan. 31 at San Diego State (2nd half)

And the 27.6% shooting the Lobos posted in the first half (8-of-29) was a season low for a half.

Another number to know: 2

UNM hit just two 3-pointers on Saturday, the lowest number of 3-pointers made in a game this season.

The Lobos finished 2-of-16 from beyond the arc in the game for a 12.5% shooting clip.

UNM’s 8.6 made 3-pointers per game entering Saturday was second most per game in the Mountain West.

UNM has been held to five or fewer 3-pointers just seven times this season:

• 2-of-16 (12.5%) — Saturday’s win vs. Air Force
• 4-of-18 (22.2%) — Dec 12 loss vs. UTEP
• 4-of-14 (28.6%) — Feb. 20 loss at San Jose State
• 5-of-26 (19.2%) — Dec. 19 loss vs. SMU
• 5-of-24 (20.8%) — Jan. 25 loss vs. Fresno State
• 5-of-17 (29.4%) — Tuesday’s loss at Utah State

Second time through…

UNM has now played six teams twice this season with a 2-4 record in the second game.

This is another stat I’ve used before in other ETN columns, but here it is again with an update on the Air Force rematch:

• Game 1: W, 101-94 in Las Cruces (Nov. 30)
• Game 2: L, 78-76 (OT) in Abq. (Dec. 6)
Nonconference, and an unusual turnaround from Game 1 to Game 2 of less than a week

• Game 1: L, 93-91 in Laramie (Jan. 22)
• Game 2: W, 75-66 in Albuquerque (Feb. 15)

• Game 1: L, 80-74 in Fort Collins (Jan. 19)
• Game 2: L, 83-68 in Albuquerque (Feb. 17)

• Game 1: W, 86-70 in Albuquerque (Jan. 28)
• Game 2: L, 71-55 in San Jose (Feb. 20)

• Game 1: L, 90-87 (OT) in Albuquerque (Jan. 8)
• Game 2: L, 81-56 in Logan (Feb. 22)

• Game 1: W, 91-77 at U.S. Air Force Academy (Feb. 5)
• Game 2: W, 69-65 in Albuquerque (Saturday)

VIDEO: Pitino, Singleton, Allen-Tovar…

Here’s the video of the postgame pressers with Lobos coach Richard Pitino and Lobo players Saquan Singleton and Jay Allen-Tovar:

House issues…

It wasn’t 42, and it didn’t have to be.

Jaelen House followed a rough road trip with a 0-point first half on Saturday.

But it was only a matter of time.

House went off in the second half for 16 points and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe.

He’s now hit 34 free throws in a row and 32 in a row in league games.

Getting to the free throw line helped him a lot on Saturday, but he can also do things like this…

That steal was his second of the day, becoming the first Lobo since Mark Walters in 2006 to have 60 steals in a season.


The announced attendance for Saturday’s game in the Pit: 9,089

Up next…

Monday, the Lobos play at Fresno State in a game broadcast on FS1 at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT.


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

+7 Javonte Johnson (32:34)
+7 Jay Allen-Tovar (30:37)
+4 Jaelen House (37:02)
+4 Taryn Todd (3:51)
+3 Jamal Mashburn Jr. (37:23)
+2 K.J. Jenkins (26:56)
-1 Sebastian Forsling (5:00)
-2 Birima Seck (4:23)
-4 Saquan Singleton (22:14)

+10 Camden Vander Zwaag (16:57)
+3 Nikc Jackson (13:03)
+2 Carter Murphy (9:35)
+1 Joseph Octave (32:28)
-4 Jake Heidbreder (40:00)
-5 Lucas Moerman (26:49)
-6 Ethan Taylor (34:42)
-10 A.J. Walker (15:17)
-11 Jeffrey Mills (11:09)

Line ’em up…

The UNM Lobos used 12 unique lineup combinations on Saturday and the Air Force Falcons used 14.

Here’s a look at how some of the Lobo lineups faired in the game, starting with the starters:

• Who: House/Mashburn/Jenkins/Johnson/Allen-Tovar
• Point differential: +9 (32-23)
• Time on court: 15:26
• NOTE: That’s why you start these guys, right?

Richard Pitino knew this lineup combination was the best for the Lobos against Air Force and that proved to be the case in both wins over the Falcons.

On Feb. 5, this starting 5 out-scored Air Force 11 (30-19) in 12:21 on the floor and scored 1.24 points per possession.

On Saturday, it was +9 (32-23) in 15:26 on the floor together with 1.33 points per possession.

• Who: House/Mashburn/Jenkins/Singleton/Allen-Tovar
• Point differential: -4 (8-12)
• Time on court: 4:47

Around the Mountain…

There were four games around the Mountain (West) on Saturday. Here’s a look at those and also a look at the final week of games in the league:

• New Mexico 69, Air Force 65
• Wyoming 74, Nevada 61
• Boise State 86, UNLV 76
• Colorado State 66, Utah State 55

• San Diego State at Wyoming, 7 p.m. MT (CBSSN)
• New Mexico at Fresno State, 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT (FS1)

• Nevada at Boise State, 7 p.m. MT (FS2)
• San Jose State at Air Force, 7 p.m. MT (TheMW)

• Wyoming at UNLV, 7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. MT (FS1)

• Fresno State at San Diego State, 8 p.m. PT/9 p.m. MT (CBSSN)

• Utah State at San Jose State, 8 p.m. PT/9 p.m. MT (FS1)

• Fresno State at Wyoming, 2 p.m. MT (TheMW)
• Boise State at Colorado State, 6:30 p.m. MT (CBSSN)
• San Diego State at Nevada, 7:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. MT (CBSSN)
• UNLV at New Mexico, 9 p.m. MT (FS1)

Mountain West standings…

Through Saturday’s games, here’s how the league standings look:

14-2 Boise State
12-3 Wyoming
13-4 Colorado State
10-4 San Diego State
9-7 UNLV
7-7 Fresno State
7-10 Utah State
6-10 Nevada
4-11 New Mexico
3-13 Air Force
1-15 San Jose State

Looking ahead…

There is still plenty of shuffling to to be done over the final week of the Mountain West season in terms of seeding for the Mountain West Conference Tournament, which starts March 9.

But here are a few things we know…

• First, the seeds that are locked in so far:

10. Air Force
11. San Jose State

• UNM is locked into either the 8 or 9 seed. The Lobos likely end up at the 9, but technically get up to the 8 seed if it wins its final two games and Nevada loses its final two because the first tie-breaker in a season with an uneven amount of games played is win percentage, not head-to-head games. Either way, UNM knows it’s in the 8/9 game at 11 a.m. PT/noon MT on March 9 in the Thomas & Mack Center.
• Boise State, Wyoming, Colorado State and San Diego State are all locked into first-round byes into Thursday’s quarterfinals.
• UNLV and Fresno State are still playing for the 5 or 6 seed, which is the difference between a first round bye and playing in the play-in round.

Stats and stats…

Here is the postgame stat sheet from Saturday: New Mexico 69, Air Force 65

And here is a link to the digital version of the stats from Saturday: New Mexico 69, Air Force 65

Grammer’s Guesses…

It was a HUGE 2-2 day for the Guesses, bringing my season record to a pathetic 36-48-2.

But the good news (for me and really nobody else) is that my daughter’s coin flip picks went 1-3 and she’s now also 36-48-2 on the season.


One week left in the season and I just let her know she’s totally grounded if she beats me.

Home » Sports » Emptying the Notebook: Mashburn continues quiet domination

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