Lobos show improvement, but not enough to avoid third straight loss

Isabel Gonzalez

New Mexico head coach Paul Weir left Tuesday’s postgame press conference early after frustration from his team falling 78-75 to the Colorado Buffaloes at home.
“I’m sorry, more than you’re ever going to know,” he said while getting up from the table.
The Lobos were coming into Tuesday having lost two road games in a row by a combined 60 points. A good result over the Buffaloes was necessary to show the cherry and silver team had bounced back. At the beginning of the night, it looked like that’s what was happening.
Colorado took possession of the ball first but senior Anthony Mathis and teammate Drue Drinnon worked together to steal it. Drinnon passed it to Vance Jackson who set up a dunk for Dane Kuiper.

Karim Ezzeddine got a layup when the clock read 7:07 as the Lobos led 32-15. This 17-point lead was New Mexico’s largest of the night. Instead of continuing with that momentum, the Lobos went all the way to the 2:55 mark without scoring again until Corey Manigault made a free throw and the score was 33-29.
By halftime however, New Mexico still found a way to lead 43-34. The team was shooting at 45.7 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from beyond the arc and 60 percent from the free throw line. These numbers were a significant improvement from the previous two games (28.1 field goal percentage against New Mexico State, 34.8 percent against Saint Mary’s).
During the second period, the Lobos worked their way up to a 14-point lead but got stuck at 52 points from the 15:54 mark until the clock said 10:44. By then the score was 54-48.
The Buffaloes caught up at 64-64 with five minutes remaining and took a two-point lead after a layup by McKinley Wright. Colorado never lost the lead after this.
Mathis hit his seventh three-pointer of the game with seven seconds remaining to put his team within one point at 75-76. He led all scorers with 23 points, but he also ended the night on the bench. Two seconds after that last three-pointer, Mathis fouled out and Colorado’s Lucas Siewert made both free throws for Colorado.
Being three-points down and having their best three-point shooter leave the game was fatal for the Lobos. A successful shot from beyond the arc was what New Mexico needed, but when Vance Jackson attempted to make it before the clock ran out, the ball didn’t go in.
When asked about Mathis staying in and allowing that opportunity of him fouling out, Weir said that in retrospective it was a bad call on his part.

Weir said the first 20 minutes could’ve been the best 20 minutes of the season so far, but also admitted that an early lead didn’t mean anything.
“When you have 10 deflections in a half, you’re never going to win a game,” the coach said. “Our energy dropped as if we didn’t know how to play with a lead and we missed some 50/50 balls that could have gotten us a few more (deflections). Hopefully we will be able to fix this going forward.”
Box score.
New Mexico is now 4-4 overall and is on a three-game losing streak. The Lobos host Central Arkansas on Sunday at 2pm MT.