‘We’re not play­ing very good bas­ket­ball’

Saint Mary’s routs UNM in L.A. tour­na­ment

Santa Fe New Mexican - - SPORTS - Staff and wire re­ports

An­other game, an­other blowout loss for the reel­ing Univer­sity of New Mex­ico men’s bas­ket­ball team.

For the sec­ond time in three days, the Lo­bos were de­mol­ished in a non­con­fer­ence game away from The Pit. This time it was an 85-60 loss to Saint Mary’s in Fri­day’s Nai­smith Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame Clas­sic at the Sta­ples Cen­ter in down­town Los An­ge­les.

UNM (4-3) was beaten by 35 points ear­lier in the week at New Mex­ico State, a game in which the Lo­bos trailed by as many as 41 points. Saint Mary’s needed less than four min­utes to open a dou­ble-digit lead it would hold the rest of the game.

It was 19-4 less than six min­utes in and 33-16 with seven min­utes left in the half. Down 43-19 at the break, the Lo­bos gave up 15 unan­swered points to open the sec­ond half and were down by as many as 35 late.

“Clearly we’re not play­ing very good bas­ket­ball right now,” head

coach Paul Weir said on his postgame ra­dio show on KKOB-AM. “It’s at­trib­uted, prob­a­bly, to a lot of dif­fer­ent fac­tors.”

The Lo­bos made just 4 of 26 shots from 3-point ter­ri­tory and al­lowed the Gaels (6-4) to make 60 per­cent of their field goals.

“In­de­pen­dent of how poorly we play, when you shoot that per­cent­age from 3, you’re not go­ing to be re­ally in very many bas­ket­ball games,” Weir said. “If some of those go in, you’re maybe not feel­ing the way you do right now, but that’s not nec­es­sar­ily to con­done the rest of the ef­fort. It just wasn’t very good.”

New Mex­ico played with­out the ser­vices of its top post player, Corey Mani­gault. A power for­ward who has dealt dis­ci­plinary prob­lems mul­ti­ple times this sea­son, he was held out of Fri­day’s game after

his in­volve­ment in a pregame fra­cas against New Mex­ico State.

The 6-foot-9 ju­nior was with the team on the side­lines but did not suit up.

The Lo­bos were outscored 52-38 in the paint and out­re­bounded by 11. The last two games, they are mi­nus-33 on the glass.

“It’s back to back re­ally dis­ap­point­ing ef­forts,” Weir said. “It’s some­thing that’s very new to me, new to this team and we’ve got to find a way to dig our way out of it.”

Two Lo­bos reached dou­ble fig­ures, led by Vance Jack­son’s 12 points.

He was the only player to shoot the ball rea­son­ably well, mak­ing four of his five at­tempts while pulling down a team-high eight re­bounds.

Makuach Malu­ach added 10 points. Vladimir Pinchuk had nine points but left the game mid­way through the sec­ond half after col­lid­ing with a Saint Mary’s player and suf­fer­ing an undis­closed head in­jury. Keith McGee also had nine points.

Gaels guard Jor­dan Ford led all scor­ers with 28 points, 18 of which came in the first half.

Weir said UNM’s strug­gles on of­fense has to do with op­po­nents fo­cus­ing on cer­tain play­ers, like Jack­son and shoot­ing guard An­thony Mathis.

Mathis was the na­tion’s top 3-point shooter go­ing into the game against NMSU but is just 1-for-13 from dis­tance and 3 of 19 over­all the last two games.

“Un­for­tu­nately we just don’t have the ma­tu­rity and prob­a­bly just the where­withal to still ex­e­cute the things that went to ex­e­cute,” Weir said.

“That’s on me as a coach, and then part of it’s just they’re kids.”


The Lo­bos had eight as­sists, one off their sea­son low. … The Lo­bos have trailed at the break four times in seven games this sea­son and came back to win three of them. … The Gaels had a sea­son-high 15 turnovers.


New Mex­ico for­ward Makuach Malu­ach, right, shoots against Saint Mary’s cen­ter Jor­dan Hunter on Fri­day at the Air Force Re­serve Hall of Fame Clas­sic in Los An­ge­les. The Lo­bos lost a sec­ond straight game in a blowout, 85-60.

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