Craig Neal rolling with the punches, trying to move forward


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Craig Neal said he and his New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team cannot wait to get back on the court. The Lobos are eager to try and wipe away the memory of blowing a 25 point lead and finishing on the wrong side of one of the biggest comebacks in college basketball history. Neal said the Lobos played some of their best basketball of the season for 37 minutes against Nevada.

That was before the Wolfpack came roaring back to force overtime and win 105-104. At a press conference Monday, Neal said he would not have done anything different and said he believes his team will learn from the experience. Some vocal Lobo fans have expressed their displeasure through the newspaper, television and sports radio. Some fans did so through their phones. After the Lobos beat San Diego State on the road New Year’s Day, Neal got 98 texts from fans and friends.

After the loss to Nevada, there were five. Neal just wants his players to be supported.

“These guys deserve to have someone to cheer for them and that’s what I say,” said Neal. “I understand some people don’t like the direction I am taking the program.”

Neal said he doesn’t keep track of the noise outside of his program. While some may doubt him he is sure he is the right man for the job.

“I know I am a good coach,” said Neal. “I have been highly successful as a player and as a coach. I’ve been around here and won seven championships. I’ve won my own. Do I make mistakes? Yes. Do I have to get better? Everybody does. Am I learning? Yes.”

The Lobos are trying to avoid losing a third straight game and will take a 2-1 conference record into their match up against 1-3 UNLV Tuesday night at WisePies Arena AKA The Pit.The game has a 7 p.m. start time and will be online only on ESPN 3.

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