NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The Rio Grande basketball rivalry is back on Tuesday night in Las Cruces following a one-year pause because of the pandemic. The Lobos are looking to steal the first of the two-game series but head coach Richard Pitino says this one will come down to who is more physical on the glass.
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“We’re not big and strong right now. We’ll be bigger and stronger a year from now but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a better mentality of rebounding the ball,” Pitino said. Game two of the rivalry will tip-off on Monday night at The Pit.
While the Lobos are in the spotlight for their athletic performance, the man behind the scenes is in the spotlight for his work. On Tuesday the Miami Herald reported that the University of New Mexico‘s athletic director, Eddie Nuñez, is interested in the same job at the University of Miami. The report states that he will get a second interview for the job opening this week, however, Nuñez is currently in Albuquerque. KRQE Sports will continue to reach out to Nuñez about the report in the Miami Herald.
Meanwhile, high school basketball in the metro begins on Tuesday night. The defending champion Cleveland Storm will be taking on the Albuquerque High Bulldogs and Storm head coach says early season games like this are a mystery. “When you play the first game of the year you really don’t know who they have, who they don’t have, same thing for us. It’s going to be kind of a filler-out game probably for both of us to see exactly what they’re gonna do. It’s about us. If we do what we do and we play Cleveland Storm basketball on the defensive end and the offensive end hopefully we’ll be successful and not really have to worry about the team on the other side,” said the head coach for Cleveland Storm, Sean Jimenez.
On Tuesday, Mountain West all-conference honors were announced for football. Five Lobos were selected as an honorable mention, including defensive lineman Joey Noble. Head coach Danny Gonzales thinks that Noble was snubbed of a higher honor. “Obviously disappointed that we didn’t get anybody on the first or second team,” said Gonzales. “Really disappointed for Joey mostly. I think he’s one of the best D-lineman in this league, both statistically and on game day.”
The defensive lineman finished fourth in the country with 18.5 tackles for loss on the season and led the Mountain West for tackles by a defensive lineman with 72.
Gonzales also spoke on his plan for the quarterback position for 2022. “We’ll bring in, like I said, a couple of transfers, whether it be through the portal, whether it be an FCS guy looking to move up or somebody that has experience. We will hunt up a grad transfer quarterback or portal transfer that will be immediately eligible quarterback along with a high school commit quarterback that we’ll take,” Gonzales said.
The Lobos will kick off the 2022 season on Saturday, September 3 against Maine.