WyoSports senior editor Robert Gagliardi did a question-and-answer session with Geoff Grammer, who covers New Mexico men’s basketball for the Albuquerque Journal.
Wyoming (18-10 overall, 4-10 Mountain West) plays at No. 14 and first-place New Mexico (24-4, 11-2) at 3 p.m. today at the Pit.
Question: The Lobos seem to be the most complete team in the Mountain West this season. Can you elaborate on that and, in your opinion, what has made them so good this season?
Answer: Alex Kirk, UNM’s sophomore center, said something after the San Diego State win on Wednesday that seems to have become the team’s unofficial motto for the season. He was asked about how Kendall Williams was OK with going from scoring 46 points last Saturday in a win at Colorado State to making just one field goal but dishing out eight assists in the SDSU win. Kirk said, “You can’t guard an unselfish team.” The Lobos have embraced the notion of a different man stepping up each night and don’t seem to care who that guy is from game to game. That makes them hard to prepare for. When CSU keyed Tony Snell last week in Fort Collins (Snell had 23 points against the Rams in their first game), Williams went off. It’s hard to know which player will be the guy each game.
Mark Smith of the Albuquerque Journal covers New Mexico men’s basketball. He answered five questions I had for him on Saturday’s game with Wyoming:
The Lobos have won four straight and have looked good doing so. Are they playing their best basketball of the season and what in particular have they done well during this winning streak? They are certainly playing their best ball of the season. The guard play has been flat-out terrific, which obviously helps the inside game. The thing that makes the Lobos so potent is the depth at guard. It’s tough for the opposition to focus on any one, two or three of the sharp-shooters they have.
It actually took a lot for Wyoming to lose 72-62 to New Mexico Saturday afternoon in Laramie.
UW had to go seven minutes in the second half without scoring and nearly 12 minutes with only two baskets.
New Mexico needed to shoot 52.3 percent from the field and 8 of 14 from 3-point range to win. Six of those treys came from guys who normally are reserves. Sophomore Jamal Fenton started at point guard, but only because of an injury to freshman Hugh Greenwood. Fenton had three 3s. Senior Phillip McDonald, a 1,000-point scorer, came off the bench and made two 3s, both in the second half to help the Lobos extend their lead.
UW also missed eight layups according to the shot chart.