Emptying the Notebook: Some national reaction to end of Monday's Lobos loss - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: Some national reaction to end of Monday’s Lobos loss

Lawlor Events Center 2023 Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev., on Jan,. 23, 2023. (Geoff Grammer/Albuquerque Journal)

RENO, Nev. — Here are some more notes, quotes, stats, videos and whatever else I could find to empty out of the old notebook after Monday’s 97-94 double overtime Lobos loss to Nevada:

National media react to Udeze flagrant foul …

I’ve been doing this long enough to know that a beat writer pointing out officiating issues affecting the team he covers pretty much never comes across as objective.

In fact, there are some around college basketball well known for frequently commenting on officiating of the games they cover, and they have established reputations for it.

Because I genuinely don’t think officiating affects games nearly as much as fans think it does, I generally stay out of such things. In fact, much to the displeasure of many Lobo fans, and I do mean many based on emails and social media complaints, I pretty much never take up space after a game discussing my opinions on officiating.

And I’m not going to here, either.

Instead, I’ll let several national media members do it since, as the only Mountain West game that was on television Monday night, much like Friday night’s Boise State at UNM game in Albuquerque, there were plenty of eyeballs across the country watching the Lobos and Wolf Pack.

But before I show you the video of the last foul call (and non-calls) related to UNM’s Morris Udeze rebound and subsequent contact — on him and then his contact of Nevada’s Daniel Foster — in the closing seconds of the second overtime that led to Nevada sealing the game at the free throw line, let me write two things:

First, the poor officiating sequence at game’s end cost BOTH Nevada and New Mexico the ability for the discussion right now to be about a wonderfully-competitive, two-overtime game between two really good teams.

Second, let me spoil the fun here by reminding everyone UNM had several opportunities to win, primarily in the final 1:07 of the first overtime when the Lobos led by 5 then turned it over on three consecutive possessions:

• 1:07 OT 1 — 5-second inbounds turnover (UNM TO 16)
> Nevada turns that into a 3-pointer

• 0:28 OT 1 — shot-clock violation (UNM TO 17)
> Nevada turns that into a game-tying jumper

• 0:02 OT 1 — Jumpball called on tie up, possession to Nevada (UNM TO 18)
> We go to second overtime.

That sequence cost UNM the victory in the first overtime period long before this situation we’ll discuss now.

Here we go…

In a tied game (94-94) with 20 seconds remaining in double overtime, UNM forward Morris Udeze grabbed the rebound off a Jarod Lucas missed jumper.

He secured the rebound and was immediately surrounded by Nevada players, and on more than one instance, there was contact that game officials, including Michael Irving standing very close, chose not to call.

Those same game officials chose not to call the subsequent flail of Udeze’s left arm, which hit Daniel Foster in the face with about 14 seconds remaining.

Again, no calls were made on any of it.

Instead, the Lobos move the ball up court and call a timeout with head coach Richard Pitino intending to draw up something for what he believed would be the Lobos final offensive possession in the tie game.

During that timeout, lead official Verne Harris decided to go review all that contact in rebound sequence mentioned above and in doing so, retroactively called the flagrant foul on Udeze. This set Pitino off for a few reasons, one of which was he spent the timeout drawing up an offensive set, lost the timeout as a result, and in the end was told his team that went into the timeout with the ball was not only no longer in possession, but the other team would get four free throws.

Now that’s one costly timeout, especially when no refs called anything. Both teams were moving on before the timeout to set up the final play.

Here’s the video, and then some reactions:

And here’s a sampling of the reactions from people who aren’t me and aren’t anyone covering Nevada:

• From Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News…

• From Kevin Sweeney of Sports Illustrated…

• From Mid-Major Madness…

• From Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated…

• From Sam Vecenie of The Athletic…

The gamer…

Monday’s “gamer” was a mess. A write then re-write, then re-write again and finally had about 12 minutes from the time that final foul was called (and still some game to play, of course) until when I was supposed to send my story back to Albuquerque for an early print deadline that simply doesn’t give us the time we used to have to get game stories in like we used to.

So, I’m sorry about that. No quotes. No time for a postgame interview with Richard Pitino, which certainly was necessary context for our coverage of this game. I apologize for that.

Nevertheless, here is the article I filed after Monday’s game in Reno:

There are no ties in basketball…

There are no ties in college basketball, but if ever was there a time that two teams looked pretty darn even, it was Monday night in Reno.

I mean, for starters, they both game in with 5-2 league records, have the same mascot, same hand sign for wolf/lobo, one team even has two coaches who once coached the other team. Oh, and there’s this:

Over 50 minutes of basketball, in a game that twice was still tied when the game was supposed to be over, neither team really ever looked much better or worse than the other:

• There were 16 lead changes
• The game was tied 21 times
• Neither team led by more than 5 points
• Neither team had a scoring run larger than 8 points
• Neither team led for even 20 minutes (again, a crazy stat for a 50-minute game!)

Alford’s streak…

Bitter Lobos fans, look away now.

If the ETN column is anything, it’s a place where I always update streaks and trends. And here’s a tough one for Lobos fans to look at.

Since Steve Alford, the former Lobo coach and his top assistant and also former Lobo coach Craig Neal, have coached at Nevada, they are now 7-0 against the Lobos.

Here’s the look at Alford’s 7-0 vs. the Lobos:

• Nevada 97, New Mexico 94 (2OT)
(Jan. 23, 2023 — Reno)
• Nevada 79, New Mexico 72
(March 9, 2022 — Las Vegas/MWC Tournament)
• Nevada 79, New Mexico 70
(Jan. 1, 2022 — Reno)
• Nevada 84, New Mexico 74
(Jan. 2, 2021 — Lubbock, Texas/COVID season)
• Nevada 68, New Mexico 54
(Dec. 31, 2020 — Lubbock, Texas/COVID season)
• Nevada 88, New Mexico 74
(Feb. 18, 2020 — The Pit)
• Nevada 96, New Mexico 74
(Jan. 25, 2020 — Reno)

The Pack certainly enjoyed Monday’s win and, as former Lobo coach Craig Neal can be heard screaming here, they believe they have some dogs on the team…

Finally, back in the Pit…

If you happened to scroll through that list above, you’ll notice that while Steve Alford is, in fact, 7-0 against the Lobos in now his fourth season since the former UNM coach became Nevada’s coach, the Wolf Pack has actually only played in the Pit once.

How can that be?

• 2019-20: 1 game in Reno, 1 game in Albuquerque
• 2020-21: 2 games in Lubbock (UNM had to play its entire season outside the state of New Mexico due to the state’s COVID restrictions, leading the Lobos to relocate to Lubbock, where they technically were the host team for two games against Nevada and no games between the two played in Reno.)
• 2021-22: Due to the 18-team league’s unbalanced schedule, UNM played at Nevada once that season, but Nevada was the one team chosen by the league not to play in the Pit. The two teams did, however, play twice when they met in the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas.
• 2022-21: Monday night in Reno and…


Nevada is scheduled to play in Albuquerque — in the Pit — on Feb. 7 at 8:30 p.m. in a game televised on FS1.

Monster Mash still scoring…

Mashburn, who on Monday morning was named the Mountain West Player of the Week for averaging 22.5 points per game in a pair of wins last week over San Jose State and Boise State, topped that with a career-high 33 points on Monday night in Reno.

That’s five-consecutive 20-point games and seven of the last eight games he’s played:

• 33 points — Monday at Nevada
• 25 points — Friday vs. Boise State
• 20 points — Jan. 17 vs. San Jose State
• 22 points — Jan. 14 at San Diego State
• 24 points — Jan. 9 vs. Oral Roberts
• 19 points — Jan. 7 vs. UNLV
• 22 points — Jan. 3 at Fresno State
• 20 points — Dec. 31 at Wyoming

As for the conference scoring race…

Mountain West scoring (all games)
1. Jamal Mashburn, Jr., UNM — 19.3 ppg
2. Isaiah Stevens, CSU — 18.4 ppg
3. Jaelen House, UNM — 17.3 ppg

Mountain West scoring (league games only)
1. Jamal Mashburn, Jr., UNM — 22.5 ppg
2. Jaelen House, UNM — 19.0 ppg
3. Omari Moore, SJSU — 18.7 ppg

1K for Uncle Mo…

Morris Udeze had 16 points on Monday night, putting him now at 1,005 for his college career.

Udeze is the third Lobo this season to reach the 1,000 point college milestone, following Jamal Mashburn, Jr., and Jaelen House.

All three are transfers who got some of their points at previous schools. Here are the breakdowns through Monday:

• 675 points — Wichita State
• 330 points — New Mexico
• 1,005 points — TOTAL

• 237 points — Minnesota
• 987 points — New Mexico
• 1,224 points — TOTAL
**NOTE: Mashburn is 13 points away from scoring 1,000 points just as a Lobo.**

• 229 points — Arizona State
• 889 points — New Mexico
• 1,118 points — TOTAL

But wait, that’s not all for Udeze.

The 6-foot-8 power forward also had 10 rebounds on Monday, giving him 179 for the season, not to mention the 10th double-double of this career — 2 at Wichita State and 8 at UNM.


Morris Udeze AND Jaelen House had double-doubles on Monday night:

• Udeze: 16 points, 10 rebounds
• House: 17 points, 10 assists

Current Lobos and their career double-doubles:
• 11 — Josiah Allick (9 UM-Kansas City, 2 UNM)
• 10 — Morris Udeze (8 UNM, 2 Wichita State)
• 2 — Jaelen House (2 UNM)
• 1 — Javonte Johnson

Speaking of doubles…

Monday was the first double overtime game for the Lobos since Nov. 21, 2013, in Charleston, South Carolina, against UAB. The score of that game, coincidentally, was also 97-94.

Depth? What depth?

Both teams showed they are rosters without much depth on Monday night.

UNM had four guys play 43 or more minutes and all five Nevada starters played 38 or more minutes.

Here’s a breakdown of the bench minutes used on Monday night:

UNM 250 minutes
• Starters: 208:48 (84%)
• Bench: 41:12 (16%)

NEVADA 250 minutes
• Starters: 201:46 (81%)
• Bench: 48:14 (19%)

Those numbers shouldn’t be too surprising for those who followed my game preview information.

According to KenPom.com, UNM now ranks 334th out of 363 Division I teams in bench minutes used (23.6%). Nevada is 333rd at (23.7%).


The announced attendance at Monday’s game between the No. 25 UNM Lobos and the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Lawlor Events Center: 8,292

None of this makes Lobo fan feel better, but…

What did Monday’s loss mean to the Lobos?

First, it dropped them from a four-way tie for second place down to fifth place.

They are, however, just 1 1/2 games behind first place San Diego State, a team the Lobos did beat at Viejas Arena.

So, with no team yet to the halfway point of the 18-game conference schedule, the Lobos are still very much in contention for a league title, but missed a huge opportunity on Monday to be sitting in a much, much more comfortable spot. And, of course, it was the losses Jan. 3 at Fresno State and Jan. 7 vs. UNLV that hurt far more than any road loss at Nevada could really do.

The Lobos still have four games to play against the four teams above them in the standings: road games at Boise State and Utah State and home games against San Diego State and Nevada.

But what else did Monday mean? Let’s take a look at the KenPom.com rankings…

• New Mexico 44
• Nevada 50

• New Mexico 43
• Nevada 48

Yes, even with the loss, the metrics from that game pumped out a formula saying both were better after than they were before.

And, while we won’t know the NCAA’s NET ranking update until sometime Tuesday morning, recent history (as in just Friday night in the Pit) tells us that the Lobos won’t likely drop much because a road loss at a top 35 NET team like Nevada simply isn’t all that bad.

Boise State didn’t even drop one spot in the NET ranking when it lost at UNM by 2 in overtime and I don’t think UNM will have much of a drop with a 3-point, double overtime loss at Nevada.

So, Monday was, in the end, more of a lost opportunity for UNM than a damaging loss.

Turning into a trend…

I was told by two people after Monday’s game that the Wolf Pack missed so many 3-pointers. And that’s true. In fact, it was 19 missed 3-pointers (5-of-24 shooting from beyond the arc).

But it’s also true that teams playing the Lobos just seem to be missing a lot of 3s lately. Like, maybe the Lobos might have something to do with it?

Monday was the fifth-consecutive game the Lobos opponent shot 25.0% or worse from 3-point range:

• 9-36 3FG (25.0%) — Oral Roberts, Jan. 9
• 6-24 3FG (25.0%) — San Diego State, Jan. 14
• 6-23 3FG (18.8%) — San Jose State, Jan. 17
• 5-24 3FG (20.8%) — Boise State, Friday
• 5-24 3FG (20.8%) — Nevada, Monday

And just what are those five teams shooting on the season?

• 37.6% — Oral Roberts
• 35.7% — San Diego State
• 33.8% — San Jose State
• 36.7% — Boise State
• 33.8% — Nevada

Court storm worthy?

There are a lot of ways to judge how far a team has come in a rebuild period like the Lobos are going through.

But how about this?

Despite being favored by 3.5 points on their home court, the Nevada Wolf Pack fans felt Monday’s game was worthy of a court storm. It was their first win over a ranked team since 2018.

Who are they?

Just in case any Lobo fans were a bit confused by the starting lineup graphic CBS Sports Network went with before Monday’s game, I can confirm that neither Javonte Johnson or Josiah Allick have drastically altered their appearance. Those are not them in the UNM graphic. Those are Utah State player pics in the spots of Johnson and Allick.

There, but not available…

Both Emmanuel Kuac (torn patellar tendon) and Braden Appelhans (turn ligament in thumb) are out for the season after recent injuries and surgeries, but both were able to still tag along on Monday on the team’s charter…

(That’s them standing at center court in pregame warmups)

Two numbers to know: 19 and 23

The Lobos had 19 turnovers on Monday night, tying a season high, and Nevada scored 23 points off those turnovers, a season high for a Lobos opponent.

Here are the worst turnover games of the season for the Lobos:

• 19 — Monday at Nevada (loss)
• 19 — Dec. 20 vs. Prairie View A&M (win)
• 17 — Nov. 30 at Saint Mary’s (win)
• 16 — Jan. 7 vs. UNLV (loss)
• 16 — Jan. 3 at Fresno State (loss)
• 16 — Dec. 18 vs. Iona (win)

And here are the most points off turnovers games for Lobo opponents:

• 23 — Monday at Nevada (loss)
• 21 — Jan. 7 vs. UNLV (loss)
• 21 — Jan. 3 at Fresno State (loss)
• 18 — Nov. 7 vs. Southern Utah (win)
• 17 — Nov. 27 Norther Colorado (win)
• 17 — Dec. 28 vs. Colorado State (win)

Yes, there is a magic number there. When the Lobos give up 18 or fewer points off turnovers, they are 18-0. When they allow more than 18 points off turnovers, they are 0-3.

Poll position

Earlier in the day Monday, the Lobos re-entered the AP Top 25 poll at No. 25.

UNM appeared on 45 of a possible 62 voter ballots with 156 total points (Duke had 102 points and was the first team outside the rankings). The Lobos had a high vote of 17. They were ranked for two weeks earlier this season, peaking at No. 21 on Jan. 2 before their only two losses of the season knocked them out.

Two other Mountain West teams — San Diego State and Boise State — were in the “others receiving votes” section of the poll. The Aztecs have 57 points and are three spots from being ranked and the Broncos have 2 points, 15 spots out of being ranked.

VIDEO: Josiah Allick …

My usual Richard Pitino and a player or two postgame video is just a player this time. That’s not because Pitino wasn’t available or didn’t want to talk. He came over to see if I was ready, but due to press deadlines and the double-overtime game, I had to decline taking part in interviewing him.

Pretty frustrating to be the lone media outlet investing the resources to cover the team at home and on the road and then not be able to get a postgame interview, but that’s a gripe with deadlines, not with UNM or Pitino.

What I was able to get as the rest of the team was already on the bus and after I filed my story for print was a few minutes with Josiah Allick.

Here is that video…


Sunday, I posted the latest Talking Grammer podcast. Episode 58 was a conversation with Lobo big man Morris Udeze. I actually recorded the conversation with Morris last Thursday when he had a four-game double-double streak, then they played on Friday and he didn’t have a double-double. I couldn’t help but think the podcast jinxed that streak.

Then, I post the podcast and he’s back int he double-double world with 16 points, 10 rebounds on Monday, so I’m off the hook there.

Mo and I talk a lot about rebounding, this season he’s had and the team’s success as well as revisiting a story I did a month ago on the fifth-year senior rooming with three freshmen teammates this season and them calling him “Uncle Mo.”

You can listen to the podcast here, or on the links below:

• SoundCloud (Ep. 58)
• iTunes (Ep. 58)
• Spotify (Ep. 58)

For the full 58-episode archive of the Talking Grammer podcast, CLICK HERE.


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

+3 Donovan Dent (23:29)
-1 Jaelen House (46:35)
-1 Josiah Allick (47:29)
-1 Sebastian Forsling (4:16)
-2 Morris Udeze (45:44)
-3 Javonte Johnson (25:49)
-4 Jamal Mashburn Jr. (43:11)
-6 K.J. Jenkins (13:27)

Line ’em up…

The Lobos had 11 unique lineup combinations in Monday’s game and played eight players. Nevada had 16 lineup combinations and played nine players.

The Lobos have used the same starting lineup in 20 of 21 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 Monday’s game, starting with the starters:

• Who: Jaelen House/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Javonte Johnson/Josiah Allick/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: 0 (44-44)
• Time on court: 23:05
• NOTE: The offense was there from the Lobos starters on Monday, scoring 1.3 points per possession in over 23 minutes together on the court and dishing out 10 of the team’s 17 assists in the game. But when the offensive numbers are that good and you score 44 points as a starting unit but have a point differential of 0, yeah. You know the defense was lacking, to say the least.

• Who: Donovan Dent/Jaelen House/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Josiah Allick/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: +3 (29-26)
• Time on court: 13:28
• NOTE: Dent had a great game and it makes sense his minutes on the floor were one of the few stretches the Lobos had consistent plus-point differential. UNM scored 2.2 points per minute with the three-guard lineup of him, House and Mashbunrn on the court together, though it also had seven turnovers in about 10 minutes fewer on the court than the starters, who also had seven turnovers but in 23 minutes.

• Who: Jaelen House/Jamal Mashburn Jr./K.J. Jenkins/Josiah Allick/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: -2 (4-2)
• Time on court: 2:06
• NOTE: Not a lot of great lineups on Monday and not a lot of bad ones. That’s what happens when you play such a short bench and don’t have a lot of lineup combinations in a game that was so even it went two overtimes and still only got decided in the closing seconds.

Around the Mountain…

The Lobos and Wolf Pack was the only game in the Mountain West on Monday night, again putting a lot of eyes on the screen for two high-level Mountain West teams. Four more coming on Sunday and then a spread out six weeknight games ahead, including the Lobos with a Monday night then Friday night game:

• Nevada 97, New Mexico 94 (2OT)

• Fresno State at Boise State, 7 p.m. MT (FS1)
• Air Force at San Jose State, 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT (TheMW)
• Wyoming at UNLV, 8 p.m. PT/9 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

• Utah State at San Diego State, 8 p.m. PT/9 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

• Air Force at New Mexico, 8 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

Mountain West standings…

Here are the Mountain West standings through Monday:

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

Stats and stats…

Here is the postgame stat sheet from Reno: Nevada 97, New Mexico 94 (2OT)

And here is the digital version of the stats: Nevada 97, New Mexico 94 (2OT)

Grammer’s Guesses…

I got Monday’s game right with the benefit of a point spread at +3.5. So, I’m now at 16-23-1 on the season. Still embarrassing for a guy who covers this sport, I know.

But hey, my 13-year-old daughter’s coin flip picks know less than me! They missed out on Monday and fall to 14-25-1 on the season.

If you’ve been taking our advice all season, you’re broke. Good luck with that.

If you’re smart, you’ve been waiting to see our picks and go bet the house against us and you’re rich right now. Congratulations.

Until next time…

Until next time, Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev., …

Home » ABQnews Seeker » Emptying the Notebook: Some national reaction to end of Monday’s Lobos loss

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