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Emptying the Notebook: A tale of two shots -- breaking down the buzzer beater that fell and the one that did not

Feb. 14—RENO, Nev. — Here are some extra notes, quotes, stats, videos and other odds and ends I managed to empty out of my notebook after Tuesday's late-starting, late finishing 83-82 Lobos win at Nevada:

Not déjà vu all over again...

If you didn't know any better, you might have thought you were having that feeling of déjà vu late Tuesday night watching the Lobo basketball game.

Wasn't it about this time last year that the hot-starting Lobos found themselves in an important, not must-win, but in a sure-would-be-a-good-win situation against the Nevada Wolf Pack?

Here's a step-by-step break down of the Kenan Blackshear shot that fell a year ago and the one that did not on Tuesday night — with all the similarities, and a couple of very important, key changes (not just the outcome).

I included the tweeted video I posted from press row of each shot plus made a video Wednesday morning after the game of them in a split screen mode, too (at bottom of this section).

Feb. 7, 2023, in the Pit:

—44 seconds left — Kenan Blackshear free throw puts Nevada up, 75-74

—18 seconds left — Jamal Mashburn Jr. jumper puts New Mexico up, 76-75

—Nevada brings ball up court, calls timeout with 15.4 seconds remaining to draw up a play.

—UNM subs in Josiah Allick for KJ Jenkins.

—15.4 2H — Side out of bounds in front of Nevada bench. The 6-foot-6 Blackshear uses a Jared Lucas screen at the top of the key to get a defensive switch from 6-6 Javonte Johnson to 6-2 Jamal Mashburn Jr. Blackshear works Mashburn closer to basket, gets into the paint, shoots a turnaround jumper over Mashburn for the buzzer beater.

—Nevada wins 77-76.

Here's my press row video tweet of that final play last season:

Tuesday, Lawlor Events Center:

—31 seconds left — Nick Davidson layup puts Nevada up, 82-80

—22 seconds left — Jamal Mashburn Jr. 3-pointer from the corner puts UNM up, 83-82

—Nevada brings ball up court, calls timeout with 16.8 seconds remaining to draw up a play.

—UNM subs in Jemarl Baker Jr. for Jamal Mashburn Jr.

—16.8 seconds left — Side out of bounds in front of Nevada bench. Blackshear uses a Jared Lucas screen at the top of the key to try and get a defensive switch from the 6-5 Baker to 6-foot Jaelen House. The Lobos do not switch. Baker stays in one-on-one defense on Blackshear, who gets into the paint, shoots a contested turnaround contested jumper that misses.

—New Mexico wins 83-82.

Here's my press row video tweet of Tuesday's final play:

Here is some reaction from Pitino, Mashburn and Steve Alford to Tuesday's last play:

"Kenan worked hard to get something. It was a good shot, it wasn't a great shot. But he's made shots like that." — Nevada coach Steve Alford

"They run that. Same play. They beat us on it (last year). And they shot it over Mash. We didn't want to switch (Johnson and Mashburn defensively) last year. So, we got Baker in there and we talked about in recruiting we got to get bigger. Baker's in there for moments like that and he made a great play." — New Mexico coach Richard Pitino

"I'm glad we put a bigger defender on him and I think coach made the right sub of pulling me out and having Baker in there just to give (us) some some size and some some length. Because I was on him last year, and y'all know the result. Obviously I take pride (in my play), but you know, I think that was great coaching." — Lobos guard Jamal Mashburn Jr.

And, for those who want to see just how similar the two plays were, here's a split screen I put together of the two videos I took...

The gamer...

Here is the gamer I filed late Tuesday from the Lawlor Events Center in Reno...

On the road again...

The Lobos are staying on the road this week, pulling the old school late WAC days/early Mountain West days two-game road trip with two grueling games.

It's been awhile since UNM has had a pair of road games like this in the same week — at Nevada on Tuesday now at San Diego State on Friday — but the good news is this: The Lobos have won four consecutive road games in Mountain West play, a first for the program since the 2013-14 season.

And what's more, while Tuesday's game was decided by just one point, the Lobos have led by double digits at halftime in all four of those past four road MW wins.

Four-game road winning streak:

—Jan. 20: UNM 85, Air Force 66

—Jan. 24: UNM 95, San Jose State 75

—Feb. 6: UNM 91, Wyoming 73

—Tuesday: UNM 83, Nevada 82

That's the longest UNM Lobo road win streak in conference play since a five-game win streak in the 2013-14 season.

Around the Mountain, stacking up consecutive road wins has proven to be difficult. And while it's clear the schedules have a big say in such streaks, the bottom line is this: Just two Mountain West teams have won more than two road league games in a row so far this season.

2024 longest MW road win streaks:

—4* — New Mexico

—4 — Boise State

—2* — Fresno State

—2* — UNLV

—2 — Utah State

—1* — Nevada

—1 — Air Force

—1 — Colorado State

—1 — San Diego State

—1 — San Jose State

—1 — Wyoming

* denotes active streak.

Mash up: 1,500 points and counting...

Mashburn's big 3-pointers (he was 3-of-3 from beyond the arc) and 6-of-6 free throw line showing helped him score a team-best 17 points on Tuesday, pushing him past the 1,500 point plateau and counting in a UNM uniform.

These three of the 1,509 points he's scored at UNM were pretty important...

UNM career scoring leaders

10. Willie Long — 1,542 (1969-71)

11. Mel Daniels — 1,537 (1965-67)

12. Jamal Mashburn Jr. — 1,509 (2022-present)

13. Phil Smith — 1,477 (1981-84)

14. Kelvin Scarborough — 1,469 (1984-87)

A number to know: 20...

UNM has 20 wins through 25 games (20-5 record is how some people would say that).

That's the program's best 25-game start to a season in a decade since the 2013-14 season also started 20-5.

The 2012-13 Lobos were 21-4 through 25 games.

Dent update...

The night for Donovan Dent was all over the map on Tuesday in Nevada.

First, the biggest news is that there is no news yet to report on the injury he suffered to his ankle on the final play of the game, apparently in the scrum for the final second rebound off the Blackshear miss.

Dent couldn't put weight on the foot, signaled to the bench was hurt, and then fell to the ground. He was helped off the court by strength coach Matt Flores, though was putting some, very little, but some weight on the ankle.

Richard Pitino told me after the game the would get Dent an X-ray on Wednesday and have more comment then.

As for the game itself, Dent had nine points and a team-best 7 assists, including a crips baseline whip around pass finding Mashburn in the corner for the game-winning 3.

He also had this breakaway dunk in the second half...

But Dent also had a couple of costly second half turnovers that led to Nevada buckets and he was just 1-of-6 at the free throw line.

While he's not great at the line this season (now shooting just 65.6% on FTs), he's not often as bad as Tuesday.

It was the second time in his college career that Dent missed five free throws (he also dis so int he Dec. 2 blowout win over New Mexico State, going 2-of-7 at the stripe).

For now, though, the important news for the Lobos is Dent's health, not just for heading into Friday's game at San Diego State, but for the rest of the season.

Lobos are painting again...

UNM has been beating teams up in the paint all season, and only getting outscored in the paint five times, going 1-4 in those five times. Two of those five games they've lost the points in the paint battle have been in the past two Lobo home games — losses to Boise State (minus-8 PIP differential) and to UNLV (season-worst minus-22 PIP differential).

Lobos lose points in the paint battle:

---22 (48-26): Saturday in 80-77 loss vs. UNLV

---8 (46-38): Jan. 31 in 86-78 loss vs. Boise State

---6 (32-26): Jan. 2 in 76-68 loss at Colorado State

---4 (48-44): Nov. 16 in 82-80 win vs. UT Arlington

---4 (38-34): Nov. 9 in 72-58 loss vs. Saint Mary's

As for Tuesday, the Lobos got back on track, outscoring Nevada 40-32 in points in the paint.

If you want to know how important the PIP stat is for the Lobos, other than that 1-4 record when losing PIP, consider they outscored Nevada 24-10 in the paint in a first half UNM led 45-35.

Then Nevada outscored UNM 22-16 in the paint in a second half and outscored the Lobos 47-38 overall in the half.

Twice is nice ...

Beating a team a second time in conference play — and getting that coveted sweep — is tough for a variety of reasons. For Richard Pitino and the Lobos, it was particularly rough last season as UNM went 1-5 in the six opportunities they had to complete a sweep in Game 2 after having beat a team in the first meeting.

This year, they are 2-0 in league play when having the sweep on the line in Game 2 (they also have the unique NMSU home and home each season, and swept that this season, but for this section, we're just looking at league sweeps).

Here is how the Lobos have faired thus far under Richard Pitino when the Game 2 sweep is on the line (these are only series in which the Lobos won Game 1):

2021-22 season

UNM was 1-1 when a sweep was on the line.

—Swept Air Force

—Lost game 2 to San Jose State

2022-23 season

UNM was 1-5 with the sweep on the line.

—Swept San Jose State

—Lost game 2 to Colorado State, Wyoming, San Diego State, Boise State and Air Force

2023-24 season

UNM is 2-0 with a sweep on the line.

—Swept Wyoming

—Swept Nevada

Attendance...

The announced attendance for Tuesday night's UNM at Nevada game in the Lawlor Events Center: 8,293

Sell out tracker...

San Diego State had another sell out on Tuesday night against Colorado State, pushing the league's conference sell out tracker number to 16 in league play.

6 — San Diego State

3 — Boise State

2 — Colorado State

2 — New Mexico

2 — Utah State

1 — Nevada

Plus/minus...

Here are the plus/minus numbers for Tuesday's game with minutes in parenthesis:

NEW MEXICO

+13 Mustapha Amzil (21:11)

+11 Tru Washington (15:09)

+9 Jemarl Baker Jr. (22:37)

+2 Donovan Dent (27:38)

-3 JT Toppin (29:45)

-8 Nelly Junior Joseph (29:04)

-8 Jaelen House (31:17)

-11 Jamal Mashburn Jr. (23:19)

NEVADA

+5 Jared Lucas (32:47)

+4 Nick Davidson (35:16)

+3 Tre Coleman (28:36)

+2 KJ Hymes (20:47)

-2 Tyler Rolison (9:32)

-3 Kenan Blackshear (33:06)

-6 Hunter McIntosh (15:45)

-8 Daniel Foster (24:11)

Line 'em up...

The UNM Lobos played 8 players and used 15 unique lineup combinations on Tuesday night. The Nevada Wolf Pack played 8 players and used 12 unique lineup combinations.

Here's a look at some of those lineup combinations for the Lobos, starting with the starters...

STARTING LINEUP

—WHO: Jaelen House, Donovan Dent, Jamal Mashburn Jr., JT Toppin, Nelly Junior Joseph

—POINT DIFFERENTIAL: -1 (21-20)

—TIME ON COURT: 8:49

—NOTE: Knowing the Lobos' three bench players all did so well in the plus/minus stats, the team's starters being at a pretty even minus-1 isn't the worst thing. The starters did score a whopping 1.41 points per possession.

BEST LINEUP

—WHO: Donovan Dent, Tru Washington, Jemarl Baker Jr., JT Toppin, Mustapha Amzil

—POINT DIFFERENTIAL: +7 (11-4)

—TIME ON COURT: 4:47

—NOTE: The bench! The bench! The bench is on fire!

The Lobos bench has been great most of the season with so much added depth. But I don't remember seeing it quite as productive as this unit, which features three bench players on the floor together.

WORST LINEUP

—WHO: Jaelen House, Donovan Dent, Jemarl Baker Jr., JT Toppin, Nelly Junior Joseph

—POINT IFFERENTIAL: -5 (2-7)

—TIME ON COURT: 3:10

—NOTE: This group really couldn't get the offense going, scoring just 0.37 points per possession while out there together.

VIDEO: Pitino and Mashburn...

Here is the Journal's court side interview with UNM coach Richard Pitino and Lobo guard Jamal Mashburn Jr. after Tuesday's game. I highly recommend listening to Jamal's openness to talking about his recent struggles with social media criticism.

This week's podcast...

Episode 79 of the Talking Grammer podcast was a conversation I had with Nevada Steve Alford on Monday (before Tuesday's big game) and you can also go listen to my thoughts on the game before it happened (I did say Nevada is a far better matchup for the Lobos than UNLV is).

You can watch on the video player here or in the tweet beneath there are links to a variety of ways to watch or listen:

And here is the post with more links...

Meanwhile, in San Diego...

Things were looking pretty good for Colorado State at halftime in Viejas Arena on Tuesday night with the Rams holding a nice 44-30 lead.

Unfortunately for CSU, the game was a standard 40-minute affair.

San Diego State went off for a 41-11 second half, beating CSU 71-55 and the Aztecs now await a visit on Friday night from the Lobos.

Around the Mountain...

There were three games around the Mountain West on Tuesday night and a pair more to come Wednesday.

TUESDAY

—San Diego State 71, Colorado State 55

—San Jose State 73, Air Force 66

—New Mexico 83, Nevada 82

WEDNESDAY

—Utah State at Wyoming, 8 p.m. MT (FS1)

—UNLV at Fresno State, 8 p.km. PT/9 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

FRIDAY

—New Mexico at San Diego State, 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT (FS1)

SATURDAY

—Utah State at Colorado State, 3:30 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

—Fresno State at Boise State, 5:30 p.m. MT (CBS Sports Network)

—Wyoming at San Jose State, 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT (TheMW)

—Nevada at UNLV, 8:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. MT (TheMW)

Mountain West standings...

Through Tuesday's games...

8-3 Utah State

8-4 New Mexico

8-4 San Diego State

7-4 Boise State

6-4 UNLV

7-5 Colorado State

6-5 Nevada

5-5 Wyoming

4-7 Fresno State

2-10 San Jose State

1-11 Air Force

Mountain West NET rankings...

Updated Wednesday morning...

18 San Diego State

21 New Mexico

27 Utah State

30 Colorado State

46 Boise State

49 Nevada

89 UNLV

162 Wyoming

204 Fresno State

219 San Jose State

260 Air Force

MW Players of the Week...

In case you missed it Monday, the Mountain West player honors this week were both from the state of Nevada and, now, on the past two teams the Lobos played.

Nevada sophomore forward Nick Davidson was named Player of the Week after averaging 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in back-to-back wins over ranked teams last week (Tuesday's game vs. UNM not included, of course).

UNLV freshman Dedan Thomas Jr., after his career-high 25 points against the Lobos on Saturday in the Pit, was named the MW Freshman of the Week for the third time this season.

And don't forget...

While we're at it, how about UNM's Aniyah Augmon being named the Mountain West Women's Basketball Player of the Week?

Stats and stats...

Here is the postgame stat sheet I posted late Tuesday night: New Mexico 83, Nevada 82

And if you prefer the digital version, here you go: New Mexico 83, Nevada 82

Grammer's Guesses...

The Guesses, and my daughter's coin flip picks, both went 2-1 on Tuesday night (same picks) and I am now 28-34 on the season. She is at 27-35.

Up next...

For New Mexico: The Lobos play at San Diego State at 7 p.m. PT/8 p.m. MT on Friday in Viejas Arena. The game will be broadcast on FS1.

For Nevada: The Wolf Pack plays at in-state rival UNLV at 8:30 p.m. PT/9:30 p.m. MT on Saturday in the Thomas & Mack Center. The game will be streams on TheMW.com.

Until next time...

Until next time, Lawlor Events Center in Reno, Nev., ...

Lobo schedule/results...