Emptying the Notebook: Does UNM have a chance when House and Mashburn are both off? - Albuquerque Journal

Emptying the Notebook: Does UNM have a chance when House and Mashburn are both off?

ExtraMile Arena on the campus of Boise State University on Feb. 22, 2023. (Geoff Grammer/Albuquerque Journal)

BOISE, Idaho — Here are some extra notes, quotes, stats, videos and other odds and ends that I managed to empty out of the old notebook after Wednesday’s 82-77 Lobos loss at Boise State:

It’s hard to overcome 23 missed shots…

By this point of the season, the offseason slogan that the Lobos were no longer going to be just the House and Mash show has been proven correct.

When at their best, the Lobos are able to hurt teams inside and out — with two new post players in Morris Udeze and Josiah Allick, two uniquely skilled guards off the bench in K.J. Jenkins and Donovan Dent and even Javonte Johnson, who was struggling earlier in the season, has come on of late and had 11 points on Wednesday.

But while all the extra help is good, and means the Lobos don’t have to rely on top scorers Jamal Mashburn, Jr., and Jaelen House for all their scoring, it’s hard to overcome night when those two are still trying to score a ton and just don’t have it.

Wednesday, the two shot a combined 6-of-29 from the field (20.7%) and scored 21 points (14 for House, 7 for Mashburn). The 23 combined missed field goal attempts from the two usually dynamic guards is the most of the season and tied for second most those two have had in their Lobos career.

And, even with an 18 point, 14 rebounds double-double from Udeze, the 12 points off four made 3-pointers off the bench from Jenkins, or Johnson’s 11, doubling his season average, the House/Mash misses were just too much to overcome on Wednesday.

The rest of the team shot 50% from the field (20-40).

Most combined missed House/Mashburn shots
• 24 (13-37) — Dec. 19, 2021, loss (90-72) to SMU
• 23 (6-29) — Wednesday’s loss (82-77) at Boise State
• 23 (16-39) — Feb. 28, 2022, loss (81-78) to Fresno State
• 23 (10-33) — Jan. 1, 2022, loss (79-70) at Nevada

So how much of it was Boise State’s defense on Wednesday and how much of it was just Mashburn (2-of-15) and House (4-of-14) having really bad shooting nights?

“I think it’s probably a little bit of both,” UNM coach coach Richard Pitino said. “I thought there were some shots those two traditionally made that they didn’t make. Plus, (Boise State) is a terrific defensive team. So, I didn’t think they took too many bad shots by any means, but there was a lot that we normally make that we weren’t just able to convert on. So I think it’s probably a little bit of both, for sure.”

Asked about the House/Mashburn shooting line in the Boise State postgame press conference, Broncos wing Chibuzo Agbo acknowledged there’s only so much you can do sometimes to stop those two. The key is just going at them all game.

“Those are two really good players,” Agbo said. “Keep making them take tough shots. Obviously they’re going to make some because they’re good players, but when you keep making them take those tough shots, they’re going to miss some of them. That’s what happened tonight.”

On the other hand…

Despite all those words I just wrote about the Lobos not being able to overcome when House and Mashburn have such awful offensive games, the Lobos still put up 77 points on Boise State’s No. 9-ranked defensive efficiency team in the country. That’s the the third highest point total of the season against Boise State, with UNM also owning the top spot at 81 points, albeit in an overtime game.

So, once again, the Lobos defense was the bigger problem on Wednesday night, simply not being able to come up with a stop in key moments (or seemingly any moment in those final 7-8 minutes it seemed).

Here are the six highest point totals scored against Boise State this season:

*81 — New Mexico (UNM 81, BSU 79 OT – Jan. 20 in Albuquerque)
78 — Colorado State (BSU 80, CSU 78 – Feb. 15 in Fort Collins)
77 — New Mexico (BSU 82, UNM 77 – Wednesday in Boise)
74 — Nevada (Nevada 74, BSU 72 – Dec. 28 in Reno)
73 — Santa Clara (SC 73, BSU 58 – Dec. 22 in Santa Clara)
72 — San Diego State (SDSU 72, BSU 53 – Feb. 3 in San Diego)
*Overtime game. Was 72-72 at end of regulation.

The 77 points UNM scored in Boise was the first time this season a team broke 70 vs. the Broncos on their home court.

It was also the most points scored by an opponent in the arena since Colorado State beat BSU 77-74 in overtime on Feb. 13, 2022.

The last time an opposing team scored more than 77 points in a regulation game in Boise was UNLV’s 83-72 win on Feb. 6, 2019.

So, yeah. The Lobos offense was still pretty good. Imagine if House and Mashburn didn’t miss 23 shots.

The gamer…

Here’s the gamer I filed right after the final buzzer on Wednesday night in Boise. (I did add some quotes to this version, but the print edition had no quotes):

A number to know: 12

Morris Udeze went for 18 points and 14 rebounds on Wednesday and did so on an efficient 8-of-12 shooting performance.

He was making “grown-man moves” against the Broncos.

But that actually wasn’t what this section is all about. The “number to know” is 12, because Wednesday was Mo’s 12th double-double of the season — lapping the field at this point over the rest of the Mountain West Conference and also the most any Lobo has had since Alex Kirk had 14 in the 2013-14 season.

Mountain West double-double leaders:
12 — Morris Udeze, UNM (10 in MW games)
6 — Dan Akin, Utah State (3)
5 — Rytis Petraitis, Air Force (3)
5 — Isaiah Stevens, Colorado State (4)
4 — Eduardo Andre, Fresno State (3)
4 — Sage Tolbert, San JOse State (1)
4 — Max Shugla, Utah State (1)

Oh, those free throws…

And it happened again.

The Boise State Broncos outscored the Lobos 23-17 at the free throw line, once again proving to be about as fool-proof a stat as anything this season to determining the Lobos’ fortunes.

For the season, the Lobos are:

• 1-6 (0.143) when outscored at the FT line.
• 19-2 (0.905) when tied or outscoring opponent at FT line.

FTs made differential
-16 — Utah State 27, New Mexico 11 (Feb. 1, LOSS)
-6 — Boise State 23, New Mexico 17 (Wednesday, LOSS)
-4 — Wyoming 13, New Mexico 9 (Feb. 14, LOSS)
-4 — UNLV 18, New Mexico 14 (Jan. 7, LOSS)
-3 — Fresno State 12, New Mexico 9 (Jan. 2, LOSS)
-3 — Saint Mary’s, New Mexico (Nov. 30, WIN)
-2 — Nevada, New Mexico (Jan. 23, LOSS)

One Rice played nice, but not two…

Baseball gate unfortunately distracted far more people than it should have from just how good that epic overtime game in the Pit was in January. Boise State coach Leon Rice, unprompted, talked that night for several minutes after his team’s loss in Albuquerque about how the UNM Lobo baseball team nearly started a “riot” (his words) with his players at halftime near the locker room and he was insistent the league look into it.

The Journal filed a records request to see what the league decided and it showed UNM’s version of events indicated it was Rice, himself, who got in the face of a baseball player and escalated matters. Yes, the incident report was UNM’s version since Leon already shared his version.

(Here’s that story.)

On Tuesday, asked about the Journal story, Rice said he didn’t want to talk much about it because he would never want to distract from that great game a month ago in Albuquerque and then got short with reporters who asked if the account (yes, the UNM version) was accurate about him and the baseball player:

But that was all earlier this week.

Leon Rice on Wednesday night played nice and welcomed the Lobos into his arena with open arms. The school even coincidentally set 40 seats aside in its student section closest to the hallway by the Lobos locker room just for members of Broncos’ football team:

For the record, coincidence or not, I thought that was funny. But, I digress.

The point is Leon Rice played nice on Wednesday.

His son, on the other hand…

Yeah, Max Rice wasn’t very nice to the Lobos at all.

The Broncos senior did this to the Lobos:

• 30 — points (career-high)
• 22 — 2nd half points
• 16 — points in final 7:18
• His bucket with 7:18 left put BSU up 62-61, the final lead change of the game as he pretty much closed the door from there.
• He is the first player to score 30 on the Lobos this season (last to do it was David Roddy with 31 points on Feb. 17, 2022)

“He just did a good job of finding his spots, losing us a little bit, getting to the line and getting to the mid range area — what he does best,” said UNM guard K.J. Jenkins. “So, yeah. Max definitely hurt us tonight. We would’ve liked to shut him down a lot more, but he’s a good player and he did what he did.”

Said UNM coach Richard Pitino, who had a nice son of a coach mention in his response:

“I think he’s a really good player. He’s very, very unorthodox,” said Pitino. “Coaches’ sons don’t always get the credit they deserve. I’ve lived that. But he’s a terrific player. I think people need to understand that. He’s a big shot maker. He plays really, really hard. He’s tough. So, a terrific player.”

House steals…

Jaelen House only had one steal on Wednesday and is back off the single-season record pace he was on most of the season, at least based on the minimum number of games the Lobos will play.

UNM single-season steal record:
1. Hunter Greene (1986-87) — 84
2. Kelvin Scarborough (1984-85) — 80
3. Kelvin Scarborough (1986-87) — 78
4. Phil Smith (1983-84) — 77
5. Jaelen House (2022-23) — 71
6. Hunter Greene (1987-88) — 70

House’s current pace, assuming just four more games for a total of 30 on the season for him, would be 82 steals — two shy of the record. It should be noted that Greene, the team’s radio analyst, played 35 games the season he set the record at 84. His 1987-88 season with 70 steals, which House passed on Wednesday, Greene played 36 games and House has played just 26.


The announced attendance in ExtraMile Arena on Wednesday was 9,825.

That was the top weeknight crowd of the season for Boise State and it was certainly one of the best road environments the Lobos have played in this season.

In fact, here’s what Lobo guard K.J. Jenkins said of the environment when I talked with him after the game:

“It was my first time playing here (UNM did not play in Boise last season), and Boise fans definitely showed up. They did not disappoint. It was loud in here. It was one of the top venues I’ve ever played in.”

And Boise State coach Leon Rice said:

“It might have been the loudest I’ve heard this place. It was terrific.”

Not this time…

The Lobos have enjoyed being home wreckers this season.

On Nov. 15 in Dallas, UNM beat SMU to snap the Mustangs’ 19-game regular season home win streak.

On Nov. 30 in Moraga, Calif., UNM beat Saint Mary’s to snap the Gaels’ school-record 23-game home win streak.

On Jan. 14 in San Diego, UNM beat San Diego State in Viejas Arena to snap the Aztecs’ 16-game home win streak.

Wednesday, UNM lost to Boise State, keeping the Lobos from snapping another long home win streak. Instead, the Broncos extended their win streak in ExtraMile Arena to 13 in a row.

It’s also now a five-game Lobos skid in ExtraMile Arena with the last UNM road win in Boise being on Jan. 17, 2017, under former UNM head coach Craig Neal.

A number to know: 26

UNM outscored the Broncos 26-3 on fast break points and was trying to get out and run even more, knowing how hard it is to score against the Boise State defense in the halfcourt.

And as they always do, Jaelen House led the facilitating part of the fast breaks (even when he wasn’t running all the way up the court as he usually does) and Josiah Allick continues to run the floor as well as any big man in the country:

Mashburn’s streak ends…

Jamal Mashburn’s 7-point, 2-15 shooting night was not the norm to say the least.

The 7 points ended a 48-game streak of scoring in double figures, which was the second longest active streak in the country and had him rise to having the 5th longest streak in UNM history.

UNM’s top double-figure scoring streak:
61 — Luc Longley
53 — Hunter Greene
53 — Kenny Page
53 — Willie Long
48 — Mashburn
38 — Ruben Douglas
32 — Charles Smith

Video: Postgame with Pitino and Jenkins…

Here is the postgame video interviews I conducted with UNM’s Richard Pitino and K.J. Jenkins on Wednesday night. I truly apologize for my voice. Believe me, it hurts me more than it hurts your ears.

This is my column so I’ll put this here if I want to…

I was lucky (and I truly believe that) to have the USBWA on Wednesday announce I have been chose as this year’s Jim O’Connell Award winner for beat writing excellence.

Here is a story they posted back in Albuquerque on Wednesday night and I’m told was being published in Thursday’s print edition of the Journal:


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

+14 Donovan Dent (15:40)
0 Javonte Johnson (31:30)
0 K.J. Jenkins (17:33)
-1 Birima Seck (0:59)
-3 Jaelen House (30:20)
-6 Morris Udeze (34:53)
-8 Josiah Allick (35:04)
-21 Jamal Mashburn, Jr. (34:01)

Line ’em up…

The Lobos had 15 unique lineup combinations in Wednesday’s game and played eight players. Boise State had 10 lineup combinations and also played eight players.

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

STARTING LINEUP (and best lineup)
• Who: Jaelen House/Jamal Mashburn Jr./Javonte Johnson/Josiah Allick/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: -6 (21-27)
• Time on court: 14:06
• NOTE: Boise State is a top 10 defensive efficiency team in the country for a reason (they are No. 9 out of 363 Division I teams on KenPom.com). But when the Lobos hang their hat on being an offensive team, you’re in trouble with the starting five of that offensive team can only score 0.745 points per possession, which is what happened on Wednesday.

• Who: Jaelen House/Donovan Dent/K.J. Jenkins/Javonte Johnson/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: +8 (8-0)
• Time on court: 1:55
• NOTE: Going small with Johnson playing the 4 — like he was forced to a year ago but the Lobos really wanted to get away from this season — is actually producing come good stretches for the Lobos. Albeit this one was just under 2 minutes, an 8-0 run is an 8-0 run and it was the best look the Lobos got on Wednesday.

• Who: Jaelen House/Jamal Mashburn Jr./K.J. Jenkins/Josiah Allick/Morris Udeze
• Point differential: -7 (9-16)
• Time on court: 7:04
• NOTE: There were two units that posted a -7 point differential, but the other had no turnovers and was just on the floor together about 2 minutes. This group was on the court for 7:04 and managed 0.818 points per possession and had three of the team’s turnovers — more than any other lineup combination.

Around the Mountain…

Just one game on the slate for the Mountain West on Wednesday, capping off a full slate of midweek games that started Tuesday…

• Utah State 65, Wyoming 55
• Fresno State 74, Air Force 69
• Nevada 66, San Jose State 51
• No. 22 San Diego State 77, Colorado State 58

• Boise State 82, New Mexico 77

• Wyoming at Colorado State, 7 p.m. MT (FS1)
• Air Force at UNLV, 6:30 p.m. PT/7:30 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)
• Nevada at Fresno State, 8 p.m. PT/9 p.m. MT (FS1)

• Boise State at San Jose State, 4 p.m. PT/5 p.m. MT (MWN)
• No. 22 San Diego State at New Mexico, 8 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

Mountain West standings…

Mountain West standings through Wednesday’s game…

13-2 San Diego State
12-3 Boise State
11-4 Nevada
11-5 Utah State
7-8 New Mexico
7-8 San Jose State
6-10 Fresno State
5-10 UNLV
5-11 Air Force
4-11 Colorado State
3-12 Wyoming

Stats and stats…

Here is the postgame stat sheet I posted after Wednesday’s game: Boise State 82, New Mexico 77

And if you just want the digital version: Boise State 82, New Mexico 77

Grammer’s Guesses…

Of course I miss a pick because the team favored to win by 6 misses five free throws in the final 25 seconds and only wins by 5.

Oh well. I’m now 36-48-1 on the season. My daughter’s coin picks are making a late season run toward a .500 record. She’s now 40-44-1.

Until next time…

Until next time, ExtraMile Arena on the campus of Boise State University…

Home » Sports » Emptying the Notebook: Does UNM have a chance when House and Mashburn are both off?

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