Emptying the Notebook: Mo-mentum is building for Lobo big man Udeze - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: Mo-mentum is building for Lobo big man Udeze

UNM Lobo Morris Udeze, center, celebrates after scoring against the San Jose State Spartans in the Pit on Tuesday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal)

Here are some extra notes, stats, quotes, video and whatever else I could empty out of the old notebook after Tuesday’s 77-57 Lobos win over San Jose State in the Pit:

Uncle Mo is stepping up on the boards…

Earlier this season, Morris Udeze was leading the Lobos in scoring.

He was unstoppable near the rim, shooting well over 60% from the field many games into the season (he’s at 60.1% now).

And while it’s hardly a case of him struggling on offense, the Lobos are hitting a bit of a healthy stride of late as guards Jamal Mashburn, Jr., and Jaelen House have taken back their old role of being the 1-2 scoring punch they were last season. And who can question it when the two have combined to average more than 43 combined points per game in UNM’s current three-game win streak).

In the meantime, Udeze’s dominance hasn’t diminished, it’s simply shifted a bit.

Udeze on Tuesday night had 17 points and 14 rebounds, giving him his fourth-consecutive double-double and seventh for the season.

As I tweeted during the game when that alley-oop officially pushed him to 11 points and gave him his double-double, it has been awhile since the Lobos have seen the type of run he’s on.

Seven double-doubles is the most at UNM since the 2013-14 season when Alex Kirk had 14 and Cameron Bairstow had eight.

“I was out there boarding, I guess,” Udeze said. “I give all the credit to God and my teammates, putting me in position. I’m just going to the glass heavy, checking out my man.”

Here’s Udeze’s current four-game double-double streak:
• vs. San Jose State: 17 points/14 rebounds
• at San Diego State: 10 points/15 rebounds
• vs. Oral Roberts: 12 points/10 rebounds
• vs. UNLV: 22 points/13 rebounds

Here are Udeze’s ranks in the Mountain West through Tuesday’s games:

Points: 15.7 ppg (5th)
Rebounds: 8.6 (1st)
Shooting: 60.1% (2nd)

Points: 12.8 ppg (19th)
Rebounds: 11.0 (1st)
Shooting: 56.9% (4th)

And this highlight below is merely a way of me showing how good Udeze’s footwork is in the paint…

Beasts on boards…

Last season, the Lobos were out-rebounded by 3.7 boards per game.

This season, the Lobos are out-rebounding teams by 6.1 boards per game.

That’s a plus-9.8 rebounding swing from one season ago.

In the past eight games, the Lobos have been out-rebounded only once. Here, in reverse chronological order, are the last eight game rebounding differentials for the Lobos:

+12 — UNM 42, San Jose State 30
+1 — UNM 36, San Diego State 35
+2 — UNM 42, Oral Roberts 40
+10 — UNM 41, UNLV 31
-1 — Fresno State 31, UNM 30
0 — UNM 35, Wyoming 35
+5 — UNM 34, Colorado State 29
+27 — UNM 64, Prairie View A&M 37

The gamer…

Here is the gamer I filed from the Pit’s media room after Tuesday’s game…

House and Mash show won’t stop…

Since UNNM’s back-to-back losses — at Fresno State and at home vs. UNLV — the backcourt duo of Jamal Mashburn, Jr., and Jaelen House has been undeniably elite:

• POINTS: 43.0 per game
• FGs: 40-86 — 46.5%
• FTs: 32-36 — 88.9%
• REBOUNDS: 10.0 per game
• ASSISTS: 4.3 per game
• TURNOVERS: 4.0 per game
• STEALS: 3.0 per game

• vs. Oral Roberts: 24 pts, 6-13 FG, 7 reb
• at San Diego State: 22 pts, 9-18 FG, 3 reb
• vs. San Jose State: 20 pts, 6-13 FG, 5 reb
• 3-GAME AVERAGE: 22.0 pts, 47.7% FG (21-44), 5.0 reb/gm

• vs. Oral Roberts: 15 pts, 8-8 FT, 3 reb, 5 ast, 3 stl
• at San Diego State: 29 pts, 6-6 FT, 6 reb, 0 ast, 4 stl
• vs. San Jose State: 20 pts, 8-9 FT, 6 reb, 5 ast, 0 stl
• 3-GAME AVERAGE: 21.3 pts, 95.7% FT (22-23), 5.0 reb/gm, 3.3 ast/gm, 2.3 stl/gm

House, it should be noted, was named on Monday the Mountain West Player of the Week, his first. It easily could have been Mashburn, too.

On Tuesday, each scored 20 points, something rather remarkable in a 63-possession game as this one was.

It was also the second-consecutive game 20-20 game for the two, also doing it in Saturday’s road win at San Diego State.

The two now have each hit that 20-point mark in the same game seven times, one away from tying the UNM record.

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


Tuesday night didn’t change the fact that Tim Miles and Richard Pitino have led the two biggest turnarounds in college basketball since each were hired in the spring of 2021.

Entering Tuesday night’s game, the two had the two largest jumps in the NCAA’s NET rankings and the KenPom.com rankings from the final day of the 2020-21 season (they were hired shortly after the end of that season) to Tuesday’s updates:

• New Mexico:
+267 NET — 303 at end of 2020-21; 36 on Tuesday
+234 KenPom — 294 at end of 2020-21; 60 on Tuesday

• San Jose State:
+214 NET — 333 at end of 2020-21; 119 on Tuesday
+200 KenPom — 333 at end of 2020-21; 133 on Tuesday

Here was the preview article I wrote for Tuesday morning’s Journal (and Monday night’s Journal website) on the two and the rebuilding job they’ve done:

Speaking of KenPom…

Thanks to the Lobos defensive efficiency numbers finally making a move, their KenPom ranking finally took a pretty significant leap upward after Tuesday’s win.

Checking in at 49 means the Lobos have cracked the KenPom Top 50 for the first time since Dec. 19, 2015, when it entered a home game against Rice rated No. 44 in the KenPom rankings when Craig Neal was coaching the program.

The Lobos lost that game to lowly Rice, 90-89, in the Pit thanks in part to a closing seconds timeout called that the team didn’t have leading to a technical foul and some free throws. The team then went 0-for-3 in Hawaii in the Diamond Head Classic that included a 30-point loss to BYU and a 23-point loss on Christmas morning to Washington State.

And it’s been all downhill since.

For those scoring at home, as the tweet says, it’s been 225 games and 2,587 days between Top 50 KenPom rankings for the Lobos.

Tip of the hat: Omari Moore

San Jose State junior guard Omari Moore had a game-high 24 points on Tuesday, putting him right am 1,000 points for his college career — all three seasons spent at San Jose State.

He’s been one of my favorite players to cover in this league for a couple years because even when he’s been the absolute only player defense really had to key in on at times for the Spartans, he has still produced and done it with versatility every night I’ve watched him — in person or checking in on a broadcast of their games.

So I thought it was cool I got to be there the night he reached that 1,000 point mark.

House of free throws…

With 3:12 left in Tuesday’s game, Jaelen House missed the second of two free throws.

That snapped a streak of 25 consecutive made free throws for the senior guard who started the streak in the Jan. 7 home loss to UNLV.

• vs. UNLV: Made final 3 FTs
• vs. Oral Roberts: Made all 8 FTs
• at San Diego State: Made all 6 FTs
• vs. San Jose State: Made first 8 FTs

These are worth at least 1,000 words…

Here are some pretty pictures from Tuesday’s game by the Journal’s Adolphe Pierre-Louis:

A number to know: 18.8

San Jose State shot just 18.8 from 3-point range (6-of-32). That is the second lowest 3FG% of the season for a Lobos opponent.

Here are the three lowest 3FG% of Lobo opponents this season:

• 12.5% (3-24) — Iona (Dec. 18)
• 18.8% (6-32) — San Jose State (Tuesday)
• 20.6% (7-34) — North Dakota State (Nov. 26)

Another number to know: 20.0

UNM shot just 20.0% from 3-point range (3-of-15). That is tied for the lowest 3FG% of the season for the Lobos.

Here are the three lowest 3FG% for the Lobos this season:
• 20.0% (3-15) — vs. San Jose State (Tuesday)
• 20.0% (3-15) — vs. Jacksonville State (Nov. 25)
• 25.0% (4-34) — vs. Oral Roberts (Jan. 9)

Thumbs up after surgery…

UNM freshman Braden Appelhans is done for the season and had successful surgery on Monday to repair a ligament in his left thumb that had been injured all season.

Here was what he tweeted after his surgery…

And I asked him Tuesday before the game how things went and he said all good as far as he was told. So that’s good news. Here’s a pic I snapped pregame Tuesday while he stood in the line during the National Anthem…


The announced attendance for Tuesday night’s San Jose State at UNM game in the Pit: 11,519

Another number to know: 1

The Lobos had a season low in steals (1), which was three fewer than their previous low (4, done twice).

Combine that with SJSU’s opponent season-low of four turnovers and the Lobos ended up with just two points off turnovers. The Spartans, meanwhile, had 15 points off 10 UNM turnovers.

Sebastian Forsling highlight!

It’s been a rough season for 7-foot sophomore center Sebastian Forsling. Injuries — lots of them — have limited his playing time and he hasn’t really even gotten any regular minutes of late.

But he did get some run on Tuesday, and was able to do this:

The series…

Despite being the worst team in terms of record since entering the Mountain West conference, the Spartans have often given the Lobos problems through the years, even prior to the last few seasons when UNM was struggling particularly hard.

In a four-season stretch from 2018-19 to 2021-22, San Jose State had a Mountain West record of just 8-59 (0.119). Four of those eight wins — one in each season — was over the UNM Lobos. And in two of those seasons, UNM was the only — ONLY! — Mountain West team SJSU got a win against (2019 when it went 1-17 and last year when it went 1-17).

Here is a look at the last 10 games played in the SJSU/UNM series, which UNM leads overall 19-5:
• Tuesday: UNM 77, SJSU 57
• 2/20/22: SJSU 71, UNM 55
• 1/28/22: UNM 86, SJSU 70
• 1/23/21: SJSU 83, UNM 71
• 1/21/21: UNM 67, SJSU 51
• 3/4/20: UNM 79, SJSU 66
• 1/21/20: UNM 86, SJSU 59
• 1/1/20: SJSU 88, UNM 85
• 2/26/19: SJSU 89, UNM 82
• 2/13/19: UNM 90, SJSU 62

Up next…

FRIDAY: Boise State (5-1) at New Mexico (4-2), 9 p.m., FS1, 770 AM/96.3 FM

The Lobos have a tough one on Friday against the team most followers of the league — well, the ones who don’t watch the games with cherry-and-silver-tinted glasses — would tell is the team that’s been playing better than anyone else for a couple weeks now, the Boise State Broncos.

On Boise State, Richard Pitino said this:

“We talk a lot about San Diego State, as we should because they’ve won the most (men’s basketball championships in league history), but they’re (BSU) the conference champions. They’re the conference tournament champions. They’ve got Shaver, who’s a terrific guard. Degenhart is really good. So I’ll dive in. I don’t know much about them.

“What I do know is I know it’s a late game (9 p.m. start). We got to sell that out. We got to sell that out. That’s a huge game for us. Obviously a quad 1 win opportunity. Obviously a league game. So hopefully those tickets fly out fast because if we continue to do what we’re doing, it’s going to build for future success.”

VIDEO: Pitino, Mashburn, Udeze…

Here are the postgame media sessions with UNM’s Richard Pitino, Jamal Mashburn, Jr., and Morris Udeze (all 21 minutes of them while I was on deadline supposed to be writing!)…

Speaking of video, this happened…

I’ve been doing some live pregame video previews on the Albuquerque Journal’s Facebook page, and Tuesday, I invited Snake to join me.

It went about as one might have expected, especially when I forgot to get the microphone from Snake before he headed back to the student section to rile up the fans and could be heard loud and clear still on the video.

Fun times.

Here’s the direct link to FB video with Snake joining in about 3:30 into the video.


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

+21 Josiah Allick (35:23)
+19 Jamal Mashburn Jr. (31:40)
+17 Morris Udeze (34:02)
+17 Javonte Johnson (19:58)
+14 Jaelen House (28:19)
+6 K.J. Jenkins (23:32)
+3 Donovan Dent (15:37)
+2 Sebastian Forsling (2:12)
+1 Birima Seck (7:19)
0 Safi Fino-A-Laself (1:37)
0 Mac Manzanares (0:21)

Line ’em up…

The Lobos had 15 unique lineup combinations in Tuesday’s game and played 11 players. San Jose State had 15 lineup combinations and played 12 players.

The Lobos have used the same starting lineup in 18 of 19 games played this season (the lone exception being the one game wing Javonte Johnson was out vs. Oral Roberts with an elbow injury).

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

• Who: Jaelen House/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Javonte Johnson/Josiah Allick/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: +16 (26-10)
• Time on court: 13:42
• NOTE: I say it every time the starting 5 is the best 5. Whenever you can have this sort of domination from your starting unit, you’re going to be in pretty good shape. The Lobos never had much to worry about on Tuesday night in one of the most comfortable wins of the season. They’ve had bigger margins, but teams always seemed to make a little bit of a run. There was never really a threat in this one after the Lobos had an early 9-0 run and led 13-7 with 13:14 left.

• Who: Donovan/K.J. Jenkins/Javonte Johnson/Josiah Allick/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: +7 (10-3)
• Time on court: 3:06
• NOTE: So, as stated above, the best lineup was the starting five on Tuesday. But how’s this for some good feels for the Lobos? When the team’s starting guards — Jaelen House and Jamal Mashburn Jr., who combined for 51 points on Saturday and just 40 points on Tuesday — both went to the bench at the same time, the top two backups in freshman Donovan Dent and maybe the league’s 6th Man of the Year in K.J. Jenkins come in to get their run with the other three starters, the Lobos actually scored more points per minute (3.2) than when Mashburn and House were in (1.9).

• Who: n/a
• NOTE: There wasn’t really any lineup worth putting here. Yes, one group was at -3, but they were on the court barely over a minute and were outscored 3-0. Another at -2, same thing. Barely on the court and SJSU outscored them just 2-0. No lineup really struggled mightily on Tuesday, so I didn’t even pick one to fill this spot.

Meanwhile, in Boise…

Hey remember those two former Lobo coaches — Steve Alford and Craig Neal — who each had sons play for them in college?

Well, those sons weren’t there Tuesday to help stop Leon Rice’s son, Max Rice, go off for a career-high 29 points and hit six 3-pointers as the Boise State Broncos took over sole possession of first place in the Mountain West standings with a decisive 77-62 win over Nevada, a team that had edged the Broncos by a bucket (74-72) back on Dec. 28 in Reno.

The first-place Broncos head to Albuquerque on Friday for a late-starting game in the Pit against the Lobos.

Around the Mountain…

There were four games played on Tuesday around the Mountain West, one coming on Wednesday, one really big one coming to Albuquerque on Friday then four more on Saturday:

• New Mexico 77, San Jose State 57
• Utah State 75, UNLV 71
• Air Force 82, Wyoming 74
• Boise State 77, Nevada 62

• San Diego State at Colorado State, 8:30 p.m. MT (FS1)

• Boise State at New Mexico, 9 p.m. MT (FS1)

• Colorado State at Wyoming, 2 p.m. MT (FS1)
• UNLV at Fresno State, 3 p.m. PT/4 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)
• San Jose State at Utah State, 4 p.m. MT (TheMW)
• San Diego State at Air Force, 8 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

Mountain West standings…

Here are the Mountain West standings through Tuesday night’s games:

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

Poll position…

No Mountain West teams were ranked in Monday’s new Associated Press Top 25 men’s basketball poll, but three — including the Lobos — were in the “others receiving votes” section.

• UNM 67 points, four spots out of being ranked
• SDSU 44 points, six spots out of being ranked
• Boise State 6 points, 12 spots out of being ranked

Stats and stats…

Here is the postgame stat sheet I tweeted: New Mexico 77, San Jose State 57

And here is the digital version of the stats: New Mexico 77, San Jose State 57

Grammer’s Guesses…

Welp, that 3-1 Saturday came crashing back to earth on me with a 1-3 Tuesday. I’m now 14-18-1 on season picking Mountain West games against the Vegas point spread. My daughter’s mostly unlucky coin flip edged me on Tuesday with a 2-2 night. #TeamCoin is now 11-21-1 on the season.

Home » Sports » Emptying the Notebook: Mo-mentum is building for Lobo big man Udeze

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