ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In Saturday night’s game against Nevada, there were great highs and terrible lows, as they lost in overtime 105-104. The Lobos looked fresh and ready to bounce back from their loss to Utah State. They jumped out early and really looked as good as they have looked this whole season in the first 35 minutes of the game at The Pit.
They led by 13 at the half and did not just have their usual 2 scorers, but multiple players stepping up to the occasion. They continued to roll through the second half, leading by 25 points with 11 minutes left in the game.
The University of New Mexico got 26 points out of Tim Williams and Elijah Brown. They also had a combined 26 points out of freshman Jalen Harris and Dameon Jefferson. While things looked good, they would turn drastically down the homestretch.
“We were up 25 with you know 11 minutes left to go and we kind of got complacent on defense and they hit 7 threes,” said UNM Head Basketball Coach Craig Neal. “We went one for eight in the last minute from the foul line and then we just made some bad plays, so that’s a hard one but you can’t miss 14 free throws, but you have to give them credit they finished the game and we let them win.”
Free throws killed the Lobos late in this game, as Sam Logwood missed 2 at the end of regulation, which led to a game-tying three-pointer to send it into overtime. Then in overtime, Elijah Brown would go 1 of 2 from the line late in the extended time, which then led to a 3 pointer from Jordan Caroline to seal it.
“We were in total control and then your team has to figure out that you have to finish games when you are ahead, but it all starts with your defense. Now granted they banked 3 shots in, but they went in and we were trying not to give them a 3 on the last shot and we let him shoot a 3. So, I mean we just had some breakdowns that this group has to get over,” said Coach Neal.
Fans were in an uproar after this loss on Saturday night at The Pit, even some saying they want Coach Neal to be fired. Maybe Neal could have called timeouts to change the outcome late in the game, or maybe the Lobos could have fouled sending Nevada to the line instead of the 3 point line, hindsight is 20/20 but one thing is for sure if they stop Jordan Caroline the outcome would have been different.
“I just think he got real aggressive and we had a hard time guarding him. We played a lot of zone in the second half and then when we went man he just drove us, but we didn’t have an answer for him,” said Coach Neal.
Caroline finished with 13 rebounds and 45 points, which marks the most allowed by a player against the Lobos at The Pit. It was a huge win for this Nevada program moving on in conference play.
“This was with the upmost importance, I mean to win this conference you need to win at a place like this and the fans are tough it’s a hard place to play at,” said Jordan Caroline. Coach Eric Musselman went on to add this about the game, “We are all going to be a part of a lot of games, but you are probably never gonna see anything like that again.”
Coach Eric Musselman went on to add this about the game, “We are all going to be a part of a lot of games, but you are probably never gonna see anything like that again.”
This win has to mark as one of the worst in Lobo Basketball history at The Pit. Losses from the past come to mind, like in Steve Alford’s last year. When the Lobos lost to Harvard in the NCAA Tournament, or in 1978 under Coach Norm Ellenberger. The heavy favorite Lobos lost to Cal State Fullerton 90-85 in the NCAA Tournament, but other than the 1993 double-overtime loss to New Mexico State University at The Pit. This overtime loss to Nevada racks up as one of the worst.
“You know I have been a fan for 30 something years and that’s probably is the worst loss that I have seen,” said Lobo Fan David Crowley. “Just the way it played out was pretty bad, it’s tough.”
“It goes forward we just have to keep playing, keep getting batter, you know it’s a long season so hopefully they will bounce back but they are down right now,” said Coach Neal after the game.
There is still time for the Lobos to bounce back from this loss. They lost to one of the best teams in the Conference and it was just the 4th conference game of the season. Hopefully they bounce back was the feelings of Lobo Fan David Crowley, but as a fan his hopes are not too high about people getting back on the Lobo Basketball fan train.
“I think fans were having a problem getting on the train before this loss, you know attendance is down and this certainly isn’t going to help,” said David Crowley.
The Lobos now 9-7 overall and 2-2 in MWC play will take on UNLV next on Tuesday. That game will tip off at 7 p.m. from Wise Pies Arena AKA The Pit.