Emptying the Notebook: UNM's House and Mashburn show is on a mission - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: UNM’s House and Mashburn show is on a mission

VIejas Arena at San Diego State University on Jan. 14, 2023. (Geoff Grammer/Albuquerque Journal)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Here are more notes, quotes, stats, tweets and whatever other odds & ends I managed to empty out of the old notebook after Saturday’s 76-67 Lobos win over No. 23 San Diego State in Viejas Arena:

Best 1-2 punch in the league…

The Lobos aren’t 16-2 right now and coming off a second huge road win — a Quad 1 road win in the eyes of the NCAA Selection Committee — without the additions of the big transfers, Morris Udeze and Josiah Allick.

Those two closed the gap on the rest of the league in terms of physicality and toughness — something the shorthanded Lobos of a season ago (down three centers) simply couldn’t overcome.

But make no mistake, UNM still thinks it can win the Mountain West and showed Saturday that it’s ‘A’ game can beat anyone in the league thanks to having as good a 1-2 punch in Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn, Jr., as any team out West.

And those two, the returning All-Mountain West guards from last season, bounced back tremendously in Viejas Arena on Saturday, going from what was an embarrassing, maybe worst combined performance of the 2021-22 season to simply dominating the Aztecs in the same gym on Saturday night.

“Mash and House are so hard to guard and they’re scrappy,” said UNM coach Richard Pitino. Jaelen had (29) and I thought Mash was rock solid, terrific in the first half and made some huge free throws.”

The two have said they think of this season as a “revenge tour” to show the Mountain West that while they were struggling last season, the rest of the league better have enjoyed that because they’re on a mission this season with the addition of some inside help to show how good they knew they could have really been when they won just 13 games last season.

Here’s a comparison between their two games in San Diego:

1/31/22 — SDSU 72, UNM 47

• 13 points
• 4-15 shooting (26.7%)
• 9 turnovers
• 2 steals

Saturday — UNM 76, SDSU 67

• 51 points
• 19-39 shooting (48.7%)
• 4 turnovers
• 5 steals

Mashburn scored 15 of his 22 points in the first half.

House scored 21 of his 29 points in the second half.

It was the sixth time the two have each score 20 or more points in the same game, moving them up the UNM list of 20/20 scoring duos:

UNM’s most 20-point/20-point games:
8 – Elijah Brown/Tim Williams
8 – Hunter Greene/Kelvin Scarborough
6 – Jaelen House/Jamalm Mashburn, Jr.
6 – Cameron Bairstow/Kendal Williams
6 – Greg Brown/Marlow White
6 – Hunter Greene/Charlie Thomas

They now sit in the 1 and 3 spots in scoring in the Mountain West:

1. Mashburn, UNM (18.2 ppg)
2. Elijah Harkless, UNLV (17.3)
3. Jaelen House, UNM (17.3)

The gamer…

Here is the gamer I filed from Viejas Arena on Saturday night…

Streak bustin’ in Cali…

The Lobos have played three games in California this season, and all three times a rather significant streak of 14 or more wins in a row was snapped (two good for Lobos fans to enjoy, one not so much):

• 23: UNM snapped Saint Mary’s 23-game home win streak on Nov. 30 (the longest active streak in the country at the time)
• 16: UNM snapped San Diego State’s 16-game home win streak (the seventh longest active streak in the country)
• 14: UNM’s 14-game overall win streak to start the season was snapped Jan. 3 at Fresno State (UNM had the longest active win streak in the country at the time)

He said it: More from House…

I asked Jaelen House after Saturday’s game why he not only seemed to enjoy being booed by 12,000 people on Saturday night, but had that elevate his game — something he seems to do a lot when opposing fans get on him the hardest.

Here’s video of his answer…

How were those 2s?

My preview article in Saturday’s Journal really focused on one statistic that I suggested gave UNM its best chance at pulling off the upset: 2-point shots.

In fact, I led the article off with: “For the Lobos to pull off an upset on the Mesa on Saturday night, it’ll likely have to be an inside job.”

Why focus on 2s? And how did that play out in the game on Saturday?

Here’s a look…

Entering the game, the Lobos were shooting 53.0% on 2-point shots this season, which ranked 70th in the country (out of 363 teams), per KenPom.com. The national average is 49.8%. And the Lobos get 56.4% of their points off 2s, which ranked 51st nationally. So to have a shot, UNM knows it better score inside the arc, which it couldn’t do last season against SDSU.

On the other side of the court, San Diego State over the previous 13 seasons has been one of the nation’s most consistently dominant teams in defending the 2-point shot. The Aztecs never ranked worst that 83rd nationally in the previous 13 seasons in 2-point FG% defense and in 10 of those 13 seasons, they ranked in the top 40.

One year ago, SDSU ranked 7th nationally in 2-point FG% defense.

But this season, the Aztecs entered Saturday’s game ranked 207th in 2-point FG% defense — a 200-spot drop in the rankings.

The Lobos strength also happened to be SDSU’s weakness this season.

So, how did it turn out?

1/31/22 — SDSU 72, UNM 47

• UNM 2FG: 9-30 (30.0%)

Saturday — UNM 76, SDSU 67

• UNM 2FG: 21-40 (52.5%)

The Lobos did what only ranked, power conference schools have done to SDSU this season. Here are the most 2-point baskets San Diego State has allowed this season:

25 — Arizona, loss (Nov. 22)
21 — UNM, loss (Saturday)
21 — Arkansas in overtime, loss (Nov. 23)
21 — Ohio State, win (Nov. 21)

SDSU allowed only one team to hit more than 20 2s in a game last season: Creighton (23) in the NCAA Tournament.

As for the Lobos, after being held under 15 2-point FGs six times last season, they’ve been held under 20 2s only twice this season:

15 — vs. Colorado State, win (Dec. 28)
19 — at Wyoming, win (Dec. 31)

UNM hit a season high 13 3s in the CSU win and tied its second highest total in 3s with eight in the Wyoming win.

Hitting the road…

The Lobos have already matched the highest number of true road wins it has had in any of the past five seasons and doubled the number of Mountain West true road wins it had in and of the past five seasons:

True road wins for UNM:

• 2022-23: 4* (six road games remain)
• 2021-22: 2
• 2020-21: 3
• 2019-20: 2
• 2018-19: 4

True road wins in MW play for UNM:

• 2022-23: 2* (six MW road games remain)
• 2021-22: 1
• 2020-21: 1
• 2019-20: 1
• 2018-19: 1

Big night for the Pitino group chat…

As Rick Pitino sort of spilled the beans about when he was in the Pit in December for the Iona/UNM game, the Pitino family has a group chat going during every Lobo game — one Richard Pitino, obviously, is not a part of.

Oh, to see some of those posts now.

Instead, all we get is this toned down tweet from dad:

Javonte’s return…

After missing Monday’s game against Oral Roberts with an elbow injury, I think it’s safe to say the Lobos were happy to have Javonte Johnson back for Saturday night.

Johnson started, giving the Lobos their usual starting lineup (17 out of 18 games now with House-Mashburn-Johnson-Allick-Udeze).

And not only did he start, Johnson scored UNM’s first six points with a pair of 3-pointers before Lobo fans back in New Mexico could even seen the game (the previous game on CBS Sports Network ran long).

By the time Johnson hit a shot with 3:15 left in the first half, putting the Lobos up 34-23, he had already set a new season high of 10 points.

And while he didn’t score again in the game, his effort in the first half was what helped establish that big lead and his defense throughout the game was very much needed.


The announced attendance for Saturday night’s game in Viejas Arena: 12,414 (sell out)

Here are the six games in Mountain West play that have eclipsed 10,000 fans in announced attendance (SDSU or UNM are in five of the six games):

15,424 — UNLV at UNM (Jan. 7)
15,215 — Colorado State at UNM (Dec. 28)
12,414 — UNM at San Diego State (Saturday)
12,414 — Air Force at San Diego State (Dec. 28)
12,183 — Nevada at San Diego State (Jan. 10)
12,007 — Utah State at Boise State (Jan. 7)

Mo-mentum started with Udeze…

It’s hard not to get distracted by Jamal Mashburn Jr.’s rather dominant first half (15 of his 22 in the opening half) or Jaelen House’s huge second half (21 of his 29 were in the second half).

But, in case you didn’t notice, Morris Udeze had his third consecutive double-double (10 points, 15 rebounds) and his coach credited him with really setting things up for the Lobos on the night.

“Morris set the tone with the toughness rebounding on the basketball,” Richard Pitino said.

Udeze’s stat line:

• Points: 10
• Rebounds: 15
• Shooting: 4-7 (57.1%)
• Assists: 3
• Fouls drawn: 7

As stated above, it was Udeze’s third-consecutive double-double. Here’s UNM’s double-double count on the season:

• Morris Udeze: 6 (8 in his career)
• Josiah Allick: 2 (11 in his career)

Speaking of Allick…

The stat line was just 0 points, 2 rebounds and a 0 in the plus/minus when Josiah Allick fouled out with 2:29 left in the game. But he was anything but a non-factor.

Allick’s defense on Matt Bradley throughout the night was huge and as I wrote last week after Richard Pitino called him one of the most underrated players he’s ever coached, the big man’s value isn’t really ever truly shown by a stat sheet.

SDSU’s two leading scorers in Bradley (13.0 ppg/44.7% FG entering Saturday) and Darrion Trammell (12.1/44.2%) were largely held in check by the Lobos, and Allick was a big part of it.

• Bradley: 14 points on 5-16 shooting (31.3%)
• Trammell: 4 points on 1-8 shooting (12.5%)

“We didn’t play particularly great offensively,” SDSU coach Brian Dutcher said. “A lot of that was a credit to them. They came in, they played super hard.

“Matt and Darrion are very good. We might suffer through one of them not having a great game, but when both are a little off offensively, it puts extra pressure on us.”

Checking in on the first 50…

Saturday was the 50th game of the Richard Pitino era at UNM — a nice benchmark sort of number were we in the media like checking in on.


Here are the “first 50” records of Lobo basketball coaches since Bob King:
.760 (38-12) — Norm Ellenberger
.760 (38-12) — Craig Neal
.720 (36-14) — Bob King
.680 (34-16) — Steve Alford
.620 (31-19) — Dave Bliss
.620 (31-19) — Fran Fraschilla
.580 (29-21) — Richard Pitino
.540 (27-23) — Paul Weir
.460 (23-27) — Ritchie McKay
.460 (23-27) — Gary Colson
*Note: Charlie Harrison’s Lobos went 6-22 in the 1979-80 season, his only as head coach of the program after the Lobogate removal of Norm Ellenberger.

Here’s where it is worth noting that Pitino’s “First 50” wasn’t exactly made like the others. While there may have been issues in some instances that made things challenging, the rebuild Pitino inherited was particularly daunting.

• KenPom when took over: 294
• KenPom through Saturday: 60

• NET when took over: 303
• NET as of Saturday: 47 (Saturday’s game not updated yet)

• First 50 games since he was hired: .580 (29-21)
• Last 50 games before he was hired: .420 (21-29)

Lobos really stepping up free throw defense…

UNM must really be working hard lately on its free throw defense in practice.

The Lobos took hold of the game late because of a lot of factors, one of which was a little help from San Diego State not being able to connect at the charity stripe.

San Diego State was 11-of-21 from the free throw line (52.4%). It was a season-low percentage for the Aztecs, who entered the game shooting 71.2% on the season at the line.

It was the second game in a row that UNM’s opponent was held under 55% shooting at the free throw line.

Worst FT% for UNM opponents this season:

• 50.0% (14-28) — Western New Mexico (Dec. 6)
• 53.4% (11-21) — San Diego State (Saturday)
• 54.5% (6-11) — Oral Roberts (Jan. 9)
• 54.5% (6-11) — Northern Colorado (Nov. 27)
• 57.1% (12-21) — North Dakota State (Nov. 26)
• 57.9% (11-19) — SMU (Nov.15)

A number to know: 1:26

San Diego State led Saturday’s game for a grand total of 1 minute, 26 seconds.

Here is a recap of SDSU’s leads:
• 2-0 (lead lasted 23 seconds)
• 49-48 (lead lasted 1 minute, 3 seconds)

One year ago in the game between the two teams, SDSU never trailed against the Lobos in a 72-47 beat down.

So far this season, the Aztecs haven’t exactly been used to trailing much. Through 17 games, the Aztecs had five games where they never trailed at any point of the game. And here is a look at the five games with the lowest amount of time SDSU held the lead:

• 0:15 — Arizona, loss (Nov. 22)
• 1:26 — New Mexico, loss (Saturday)
• 5:46 — BYU, win (Nov. 11)
• 7:37 — Saint Mary’s, loss (Dec. 10)
• 15:50 — Troy, win (Dec. 5)

Planting the flag…

Does it really even count as a Lobos road game if the yellow State of New Mexico flag isn’t spotted somewhere in the arena?

VIDEO: Pitino, House, Mashburn…

Here are the postgame interviews with UNM coach Richard Pitino and Lobo guards Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn, Jr., …


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

+9 Jamal Mashburn Jr. (36:39)
+9 Jaelen House (33:47)
+8 Morris Udeze (33:54)
+7 K.J. Jenkins (15:10)
+6 Javonte Johnson (30:01)
+6 Birima Seck (10:06)
0 Josiah Allick (32:27)
0 Donovan Dent (7:57)

Line ’em up…

The Lobos had 14 unique lineup combinations in Saturday’s game and played eight players. San Diego State had 20 lineup combinations and played nine players.

The Lobos returned to the same starting lineup it used in the first 16 games of the season, but had to alter in Monday’s win over Oral Roberts due to the Javonte Johnson elbow injury. But Johnson was back on Saturday and so was the usual starting five — used now 17 out of 18 games played this season.

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

• Who: Jaelen House/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Javonte Johnson/Josiah Allick/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: +6 (43-37)
• Time on court: 21:04
• NOTE: A tick above 2 points per minute played in a game against San Diego State and their defense is always a good thing.

• Who: Jaelen House/K.J. Jenkins/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Javonte Johnson/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: +5 (12-7)
• Time on court: 2:47
• NOTE: The starting five was probably the best since they also defended against the SDSU starters a good amount of their time on the court, but this unit deserves some kudos, too. At 4.3 points per minute scored and 1.84 points per possession, thing were rolling on the offensive end for this unit. The only difference here from the starting five was K.J. Jenkins coming in for Josiah Allick.

• Who: Donovan Dent/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Javonte Johnson/Josiah Allick/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: -5 (1-6)
• Time on court: 1:28
NOTE: Not much time on the floor together for this unit, but not much offensive success, either.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas…

Isaiah Stevens went off for 33 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists as the Colorado State Rams beat UNLV 82-81 in overtime in the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday night.

And just how did the Rams star PG force overtime you ask? Take a look…

Around the Mountain…

There was one league game played late Friday, four played on Saturday around the Mountain West and the next batch of midweek games includes four on Tuesday and one on Wednesday:

Nevada 85, Utah State 70

• Air Force 51, Fresno State 48
• Colorado State 82, UNLV 81 (OT)
• New Mexico 76, No. 23 San Diego State 67
• Boise State 85, Wyoming 68

• San Jose State at New Mexico, 7 p.m. MT (FS1)
• UNLV at Utah State, 7 p.m. MT (TheMW)
• Wyoming at Air Force, 7 p.m. MT (TheMW)
• Nevada at Boise State, 7 p.m. MT TheMW)

• No. 23 San Diego State at Colorado State, 8:30 p.m. MT (FS1)

Mountain West standings…

Here are the Mountain West standings entering the midweek slate of games:

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

Quad 1 wins…

Assuming that another home loss by UNLV, as it suffered on Saturday, drops them out of the top 75 of the NCAA’s NET rankings and the teams that beat them in Las Vegas no longer get to count that as a Quad 1 win once the new rankings are updated on Sunday, here are the seven Quad 1 wins in the Mountain West Conference through Saturday’s games:

QUAD 1 wins in the Mountain West:
2 – San Diego State (vs Ohio State, at Nevada)
2 – New Mexico (at Saint Mary’s, at San Diego State)
1 – Colorado State (at Saint Mary’s)
1 – Nevada (vs Boise State)
1 – UNLV (at New Mexico)

And, as a reminder, the four “quad” of Division I games are determined by a team’s NET ranking. For instance, if you beat a team on the road that ranks in the Top 75 of the NET, that counts as a Q1 win. If they are ranked 76, that’s a Q2.

And it doesn’t matter what they’re ranked when you play them, ultimately these are all fluid until selection Sunday and whatever a team’s final NET ranking is will be how these things are determined.

Here’s the criteria:

QUAD 1 — Home 1-30; Neutral 1-50; Road 1-75
QUAD 2 — Home 31-75; Neutral 51-100; Road 76-135
QUAD 3 — Home 76-160; Neutral 101-200; Road 136-240
QUAD 4 — Home 161-363; Neutral 201-363; Road 241-363

Based on those criteria, UNM’s Qs look like this:

Quad 1: 2-0
Quad 2: 2-1 (loss to UNLV)
Quad 3: 5-1 (loss at Fresno State)
Quad 4: 6-0

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas (part 2)…

There were two Mountain West games played in Las Vegas on Saturday — the CSU overtime thriller mentioned above on the men’s side and the UNM Lobo women’s team playing UNLV on national television.

My Albuquerque Journal colleague Ken Sickenger has this write up of the UNM Lobo women’s loss to the Rebels:

Stats and stats…

Here is the postgame stat sheet from Saturday’s game: New Mexico 76, San Diego State 67

And if you want the digital version of the stats, here you go: New Mexico 76, San Diego State 67

Grammer’s Guesses…

The Guesses went 3-1 on Saturday and I’m now 13-15-1.

My daughter’s coin flip picks are really hurting. They went 0-4 on Saturday and are now just 9-19-1 and I can’t wait to get back home to talk trash to her!

No. I’m not above doing that at all!

Until next time…

Until next time, Viejas Arena, on the campus of San Diego State University…

Home » Sports » Emptying the Notebook: UNM’s House and Mashburn show is on a mission

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