A couple good moments weren’t enough for the Lobos to avoid falling 75-65 to the University of Pennsylvania Quakers on Saturday afternoon. With this result, the Lobos fall to a losing overall record of 5-6.
The beginning of the game looked like it could’ve been a blowout in favor of Penn, as the Quakers led 19-4 at the 12:24 mark. New Mexico struggled in different areas, but the free throw line stood out as the team missed its first six attempts.
However, the Lobos weren’t going to give up that quickly. With under six minutes remaining, the cherry and silver team managed to tie the score at 24-24.
The Pit gets LOUD as the Lobos tie it 24-24! Under six minutes remaining in the first period. pic.twitter.com/9YL5qRIoKR
— The Lair New Mexico (@thelairnm) December 22, 2018
A couple minutes before the half was over, the referees gave UNM senior Anthony Mathis a foul, which head coach Paul Weir didn’t agree with. He expressed this by walking into the middle of the court. He was pulled back and returned to the sideline by some players and coaching staff. This earned Weir a technical. This wasn’t the first time Weir acted on his frustration this season. When the Lobos lost their third-straight game on Dec. 11 (78-75 to the Colorado Buffaloes), the coach left the postgame press conference early.
The Lobos shot at 56.5 percent from the field during the first period of Saturday’s game. This was a better percentage than Penn’s 48.5 percent. It didn’t matter much, as the Quakers still entered halftime with a 42-38 lead.
New Mexico tied and led the game a couple times during the second period, but by the time the clock ran out, the Lobos’ struggles were pretty clear. During this half, they only made 28.9 percent of their shots form the field, 15.4 percent from beyond the arc and 37.5 from the free thrown line.
“It was just maybe one of those nights where we had something on our minds and that got in the way of us making any free throws,” Weir said.
When asked if the fact that Penn was coming from a victory over Villanova (2018 NCAA Tournament champion) made the Lobos nervous at the beginning of the game and affected their performance, the coach said “unfortunately” that didn’t seems to be the case. In fact, he believes it was the opposite, his team has been overconfident.
“I told my team after the game that I think they initially, up until the Northern Arizona (closed) scrimmage, read everything everybody wrote about us and seemed to think that wins were just going to happen,” the coach explained. “The night of the Northern Arizona game I got off social media, I slept in my office and I knew what I saw then was scary. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to put that same fear into our guys.”