NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – After a season on the road and in a hotel due to COVID-19, Lobo men’s basketball did something different, leading up to their 73-65 victory over Air Force Monday. They had a homemade meal away from their hotel.
Lobos Head Coach Paul Weir believes it gave his team a spark. “They had some good pop to them,” said Weir. “I credit coach Dave Pilipovich. We went to his house Saturday night. That’s one of the benefits of having the ex-Air Force coach, we got a house to go to. It’s the first time we’ve ever been together in a social setting, eat and watch TV and hang out. It was a lot of fun and I think it really helped us.” The Lobos responded with only their second victory in Mountain West play.
Even after losing the lead in the second half, the Lobos refused to fold and stopped a five-game losing streak. How long will the magic last? The Lobos and Air Force will play the finale of their two-game series Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Clune Arena.
In other news, the Mountain West Conference announced rescheduled dates for postponed men’s and women’s basketball games. The Lobos and Colorado State will play one of the two games in their series on March 3. A start time is to be determined later. The other game between the two clubs has been canceled and ruled a no contest.
The Lobos series against San Diego State has been ruled a forfeit. The Aztecs will get two victories added to their record. On the women’s side. The Lobos will play Colorado State on March 3 and March 5. The Lobo women’s series against Wyoming was canceled and ruled a non-contest. The Lobo women’s team started the first of a two-game series at Air Force Tuesday.
Lastly, Rio Rancho football coach Gerard Pannoni came to New Mexico last season, but has yet to coach his first football game with the Rams because of COVID-19. “I think as a coach, it makes you think outside the box and do some things that you haven’t done before,” said Pannoni. “I think some of the things we have done in this quarantine, or whatever you want to call this whole period, we’re going to keep doing in regular season.”
Pannoni came to New Mexico from Virginia and has 40 years of coaching experience. His last season in northern Virginia produced a Class 6 state title and 15-0 record.