With less than two weeks before the Mountain West Tournament, there is not much more time left to figure things out. The University of New Mexico men’s basketball team fell 89-82 to the San Jose State Spartans on Tuesday. This week is all about bouncing back and preparing for Saturday’s home match against Colorado State. The Lobos enter the weekend 11-16 overall and 5-10 in the MW.
New Mexico did not shoot the ball well on Tuesday. While the Lobos shot at 50 percent from the field during the first half, the second half decreased to 30.95 percent. From beyond the arc, the Lobos shot at 23.5 percent with only eight out of 34 attempts being successful. Only 42.1 percent of their free throw shots went in.
“I thought overall the shots selection was pretty good, the execution was not,”said head coach Paul Weir. “That might lead you to question some of the shot selections, but even after watching the film, I don’t feel awful about it. Our turnovers, to me, were much more critical to our outcome than our shot selection was.”
The Lobos allowed San Jose State 22 points off 16 turnovers (including 10 steals) on Tuesday.
While turnovers was what the coach wanted to focus on, he made sure his team knew good shooting was important too. During Thursday’s practice, the team lined up and each player had to take a shot from the charity line. If someone missed, the entire team had to run.
The Lobos shot at 42.1 percent from the free throw line during their last game. During today’s practice, the entire team has to run whenever a player misses a shot. pic.twitter.com/wP4YUiibUd
— Isabel Gonzalez (@cisabelg) February 28, 2019
Kuiper missed Tuesday’s game due to knee tendinitis. He was at practice on Thursday, but Weir said during the press conference that he was questionable for the weekend. Weir said he didn’t want to rush anything because once Kuiper is back, he wants him back permanently. The coach will make his decision on whether Kuiper plays against Colorado State based on how Kuiper is feeling and what the athletic trainer is saying.
After practice, Kuiper said he wasn’t feeling 100 percent yet but he felt good enough to return for the rest of the season.
After practice today, senior Dane Kuiper said he felt ready to get back on the court this weekend. pic.twitter.com/67mhMGiBEk
— The Lair New Mexico (@thelairnm) March 1, 2019
McGee scored a season-high 25 points on Tuesday. He made 10 field goals with five shots from beyond the arc. Weir said the redshirt sophomore has been exceeding expectations.
“To have him for another two years it’s really comforting. We got tremendous talent there,” the coach said. “There have been some frustrating moments along the way, probably for him. For me, they were just teachable moments as you’re trying to grow a really talented young player into hopefully becoming an all-conference guy down the road.”
— The Lair New Mexico (@thelairnm) February 28, 2019
Colorado State Rams
When New Mexico met Colorado State on the road on Jan. 12, the Lobos left with a 76-91 loss.
Four Lobos saw double digits with redshirt sophomore Vance Jackson leading his team with 18 points. He also picked up 12 rebounds to get his third double-double of the season. Meanwhile, it was CSU’s Hyron Edwards who led all scorers with 20 points. Four other Rams also saw double digits. This game was rough for the New Mexico zone defense as the Rams got 44 points in the paint, twice the amount the Lobos got (22pts). UNM switched to man-to-man defense for a while but it didn’t help much. For a good part of the first half, the Rams were shooting over 70 percent from the field.
The Rams (12-16, 7-8 MW) are coming in with a three-game winning streak. Their latest result was a 76-62 victory at Boise State. While the first half went back and forth a couple times, the Rams dominated the second period shooting at 70.8 percent from the field.
The game is scheduled for Saturday at 8pm MT. It will be available on ESPNU.