Emptying the Notebook: Where Morris Udeze's performance stacks up in Lobo history - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: Where Morris Udeze’s performance stacks up in Lobo history

UNM forward Morris Udeze, left, goes up for a shot against Northern Colorado’s Brock Wisne during Sunday’s game in the Pit. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)
Here are some extra notes, quotes, tweets, stats, analysis and other odds ends that didn’t make it into print after Sunday’s 98-74 Lobos win over Northern Colorado in the Pit…

Mo’s Monster game…

Sunday, the Northern Colorado Bears were doing their best to distract you from it, hanging around in a game that shouldn’t have been that close for far longer than most Lobo fans expected.

Then, all of a sudden, a spectacular 16-0 run by UNM in just over 3 minutes and a late push to try and hit the century mark on the scoreboard might have diverted your attention as the Lobos won 98-74 to improve to 6-0.

But in the end, Sunday’s game was really about one thing: Morris Udeze’s MONSTER game for the Lobos.

The 6-foot-8 graduate transfer from Wichita State had a career high in points (33) and rebounds (14) and was dominant throughout, drawing 10 fouls and hitting a perfect 13-of-13 free throws.

The 33-14 game was good enough to clinch the Lobo Classic MVP award for Udeze:

And the Mountain West Conference, which has been known to botch such things in the past, would be hard-pressed to award anyone but Udeze on Monday morning with the league’s Player of the Week honor.

Udeze’s three-game average for the Lobo Classic:

• 22.3 points per game
• 7.3 rebounds per game
• 24-36 FGs (66.7%)
• 19-21 FTs (90.5%)

His was the first 33-point/14-rebound game of this season among Division I players, according to UNM hoops sports information director Steve Kirkland.

As for where it stacks up at UNM, the list isn’t particularly long. He joins just three other Lobos to have accomplished the feat and Sunday was just the sixth time it happened in the 119 seasons the program has played basketball.

UNM’s 33 point/14 rebound games

• Morris Udeze – 33 points, 14 rebounds vs. Northern Colorado (Sunday)
• Ruben Douglas – 39 points, 14 rebounds vs. Utah (March 1, 2003)
• Kenny Page – 47 points, 15 rebounds vs. Illinois Tech (Dec. 21, 1979)
• Willie Long – 34 points, 19 rebounds at Texas Tech (Dec. 14, 1970)
• Willie Long – 41 points, 16 rebounds at BYU (Jan. 29, 1970)
• Willie Long – 34 points, 15 rebounds vs. Arizona (Jan. 17, 1970)

But wait, there’s more.

Udeze’s 13-of-13 at the free throw line was remarkable in and of itself, but even more so when you realize he was shooting 53.8% from the free throw line so far this season for UNM and shot 63.2% over the past four seasons at Wichita State.

He did have one previous game with a perfect showing at the charity stripe with a significant amount of attempts (9-9 at Tulsa last March), but nothing that would have suggested he had a 13-of-13 game in his bag.

It ranked as the 7th best free throw shooting game without a miss in Lobo history:

• 16-16 — Kendal Williams vs. San Diego (Nov. 30, 2013)
• 15-15 — Elijah Brown vs. Nevada (Dec. 30, 2015)
• 15-15 — Ruben Douglas vs. UNLV, overtime (Feb. 5, 2002)
• 15-15 — Willie Long at UTEP (Feb. 20, 1971)
• 14-14 — Elijah Brown vs. Fresno State (Dec. 28, 2016)
• 14-14 — Ruben Douglas vs. Northwestern State (Nov. 25, 2002)
• 13-13 — Morris Udeze vs. Northern Colorado (Sunday)

So I asked Udeze if it was something he saw coming.

“Um, no, I didn’t. I ain’t going to lie. I didn’t,” said Udeze of the free throws. “But, I mean, I’ve been working on my free throws everyday. Just trying to go 46-of-50 — just trying to just keep on shooting ’em, really. It’s really a blessing, man.”

The gamer…

Here’s the game story I filed from the Pit on Sunday night after the Lobos beat Northern Colorado…

And then there were 20…

The Lobos are now among the final 20 (out of 363) Division I unbeaten teams in the country, as our friend Ken Pomeroy keeps us all up to date on with his team-by-team first-loss tweets:

A number to know: 6-0 …

Sunday’s win pushed the Lobos’ record to 6-0 for the first time since the 2012-13 season. That was Steve Alford’s final season at UNM when the Lobos started 12-0 before their first loss.

This is the 119th season of Lobo basketball being played and here are the 15 times the Lobos have started at least 6-0 with their record before losing their first game reflected:

• 2022-23: 6-0 (TBD)
• 2012-13: 12-0
• 2009-10: 12-0
• 2007-08: 7-0
• 1998-99: 8-0
• 1995-96: 10-0
• 1973-74: 12-0
• 1972-73: 9-0
• 1970-71: 7-0
• 1967-68: 17-0
• 1963-64: 7-0
• 1932-33: 9-0
• 1924-45: 10-0
• 1915-16: 8-0
• 1912-13: 6-0*
*The 1912-13 season was only six games.

Defending House…

Jaelen House scored 22 points on Sunday, and is obviously an offensively gifted player. But he also had four steals and two blocked shots to follow a Saturday stat line that included three blocked shots and two steals.

So far this season, House has ramped up his defensive intensity and has been the best defender on the floor for the Lobos.

Yes, he takes chances that sometimes result in bad fouls, but it appears that’s part of the plan — be aggressive and take those chances until you get foul 2 in the first half or foul 3 or 4 in the second half, depending on the time on the clock.

And he’s been elite this season at turning the turnovers into points, like he did on this play Sunday…

Here are some notable defensive numbers through six games for House:

• Steals: 18 (3.0/game – 1st in MWC)
• Steal rate: 5.7% (18th in the country)

House is on pace for 90 steals if he plays 30 games this season. With the Lobos losing two games (for now) with last week’s decision to cancel the home-and-home rivalry series with New Mexico State, the Lobos are currently scheduled to play at least 30 games — 11 nonconference, 18 Mountain West and 1 Mountain West Tournament game.

Here is the list of UNM’s top single season steal totals:

1. 84 – Hunter Greene (1986-87)
2. 80 – Kelvin Scarborough (1984-85)
3. 78 – Kelvin Scarborough (1986-87)
4. 77 – Phil Smith (1983-84)
5. 70 – Hunter Greene (1987-88)
6. 69 – Gabe Nava (1973-74)
7. 68 – Jaelen House (2021-22)

Speaking of turning defense into offense…

House isn’t the only Lobo turning defense into offense this season.

The whole team has not only been feasting off opponent turnovers, but converting them into points.

Sunday, the Lobos had 28 points off 19 turnovers. Several were steals turned into layups like the one above by Jaelen House or the one here by K.J. Jenkins…

On the season, the Lobos are averaging 21.2 points off turnovers per game. (UNM opponents are averaging just 10.3 points off turnovers).

Here are the game-by-game totals for points off turnovers by the Lobos:

• 22 points off 20 TOs vs. Southern Utah (Nov. 7)
• 22 points off 15 TOs vs. South Alabama (Nov. 11)
• 20 points off 15 TOs at SMY (Nov. 15)
• 16 points off 13 TOs vs. Jacksonville State (Friday)
• 19 points off 13 TOs vs. North Dakota State (Saturday)
• 28 points off 19 TOs vs. Northern Colorado (Sunday)

All-Tournament team…

The Lobo Classic All-Tournament team:

• Morris Udeze, UNM (MVP)
• Jamal Mashburn Jr., UNM
• Dalton Knecht, Northern Colorado
• Daylen Kountz, Northern Colorado
• Demaree King, Jacksonville State

The last time…

Here are a few of the notable “when was the last time” notes from the weekend…

• 2012-13: The last time the Lobos started 6-0
• 2012-13: The last time the Lobos won an in-season tournament (that year was the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgen Islands)
• March 1, 2003: The last time a Lobo recorded at least 33 points and 14 rebounds in a game like Morris Udeze did on Sunday (the last one was Ruben Douglas vs. Utah with a 39 point, 14 rebound game)
• Nov. 30, 2021: The last time UNM scored 98 points in a game (that was when the Lobos beat New Mexico State 101-94 in the Pan American Center in Las Cruces)

Cleaning up on the glass…

UNM had 17 offensive rebounds and missed 32 shots on Sunday. That absurdly good offensive rebound rate of 53.1% is the 4th best for the Lobos in the KenPom era (the site tracks such records back to the 2001-02 season).

UNM’s five best offensive rebound % games since the 2001-02 season are:

1. 56.8% – at UNLV (Jan. 21, 2012) – loss
2. 56.0% – at Air Force (Jan. 15, 2005) – loss
3. 54.0% – vs. Northeastern (Dec. 2, 2002) – win
4. 53.1% – vs. Northern Colorado – win
5. 52.3% – at UNLV (Feb. 2, 2010) – win

Four quarters…

The Lobos continue to dominate opponents in the “first quarter” — first 10 minutes — of their games. Sunday, UNM was up 25-15 as the first half clock hit the 10:00 mark, pushing the season’s point differential in the first 10 minutes of games to plus-43 for the Lobos.

Here’s how much the Lobos are outscoring opponents by in each of the four quarters of their six games so far this season:

• 1Q (20:00-10:01 1st half): +43 (+7.2/game)
• 2Q (10:00-00:00 1st half): +13 (+2.2/game)
• 3Q (20:00-10:01 2nd half): +8 (+1.3/game)
• 4Q (10:00-00:00 2nd half): +34 (+5.2/game)

It’s worth noting that the most lopsided “quarter” of the season for the Lobos was the 27-9 final 10 minutes on Sunday, which really skewed the 4th quarter numbers you see above.

What to make of all this? So far, early in the season, the Lobos have been able to get off to good starts and then settle into more of an even back and forth with their opponents after that.

Attendance…

The announced attendance for Sunday’s Day 3 of the Lobo Classic (Northern Colorado vs. UNM) in the Pit: 8,434

The three-day Lobo Classic announced attendance figures:
• Friday: 9,033
• Saturday: 8,715
• Sunday: 8,434

Three games in three days…

Three games in three days means this is ETN No. 3 in three days. I understand if you might have missed some of the coverage. So, here you go…

Video: Pressers with Pitino…

Here is the video I posted of postgame media sessions with Richard Pitino, Morris Udeze and K.J. Jenkins…

Triple threat?

Remember that Cherry/Silver game back in October when many Lobo fans were introduced to this big, long-haired newcomer who somehow couldn’t miss from the outside and won the team’s 3-point contest?

Well, while there’s no question the 3-point shot is PART of forward Josiah Allick’s game, him winning that 3-point contest might have fooled some fans into thinking he was going to be hitting a ton of those this season.

Allick entered Sunday’s game 0-6 form beyond the arc, but with 17:39 left in the first half, he drained this 3-pointer, his first as a Lobo:

Plus/minus…

Here are the Lobos’ plus/minus numbers from Sunday’s win with minutes played in parenthesis:

+23 Jaelen House (32:03)
+22 Morris Udeze (34:41)
+19 Jamal Mashburn Jr. (31:15)
+17 Javonte Johnson (22:55)
+15 Donovan Dent (19:24)
+13 K.J. Jenkins (20:33)
+7 Josiah Allick (28:23)
+1 Birima Seck (3:01)
+1 Emmanuel Kuac (1:49)
+1 Sebastian Forsling (1:49)
+1 Braden Appelhans (1:49)
+1 Safi Fino-A-Aldelf (1:49)
-1 Mac Manzanares (00:29)

Line ’em up…

The Lobos had 17 unique lineup combinations in Saturday’s game and played 13 players. Northern Colorado had 16 lineup combinations and played 9 players.

The Lobos have used the same starting lineup in all six games they have played this season.

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

STARTING LINEUP
• Who: Jaelen House/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Javonte Johnson/Josiah Allick/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: +4 (25-21)
• Time on court: 9:57
• NOTE: This unit and the one with the swap of K.J. Jenkins for Javonte Johnson have been the two used for the most minutes this season and both seem to have efficient offensive stats thus far. The ball moves well. The starters scored 2.5 points per minute on the floor together, which is great, but also gave up a lot of points on Sunday. That hasn’t been the norm, though. The starters have, more often than not this season, played solid defense.

BEST LINEUP
• Who: Jaelen House/Donovan Dent/K.J. Jenkins/Javonte Johnson/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: +5 (8-3)
• Time on court: 1:54

WORST LINEUP
• Who: Donovan Dent/K.J. Jenkins/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Birima Seck/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: -3 (6-9)
• Time on court: 4:07

Around the Mountain…

There were three games around the Mountain on Sunday to wrap up a busy weekend of holiday hoops with just one (but a good one) game scheduled for Monday.

FRIDAY
• North Texas 69, San Jose State 54
• New Mexico 79, Jacksonville State 61

SATURDAY
• San Jose State 80, Oakland 67
• Boise State 87, Utah Valley 69
• Colorado State 88, Mississippi Valley State 45
• New Mexico 76, North Dakota State 55
• UNLV 126, (NAIA) Life Pacific College 54

SUNDAY
• San Jose State 67, Ball State 65
• Air Force 59, Montana 56
• New Mexico 98, Northern Colorado 74

MONDAY
• Sam Houston State at Nevada, 8 p.m. MT

Stats and stats…

Here is the final stat sheet from Sunday’s game: UNM 98, UNC 74

And if you prefer a digital version, here you go: Final stat sheet: UNM 98, Northern Colorado 74

Up next…

The Lobos’ next game is Wednesday in Moraga, California, to play Saint Mary’s at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT. The game can be heard in New Mexico on the radio at 770 AM or 96.3 FM or watched online on the WCC Network at this link: UNM at SMC game stream

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