‘We’re not playing very good basketball’
Saint Mary’s routs UNM in L.A. tournament
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.