Lobos come back to the friendly confines of The Pit after a hard loss to SDSU. With a week of rest and preparation and with the "Cherry Crush" promotion going on and MWC rival BYU coming to town Lobo fans had to be thinking all is well and it is time for New Mexico will get back to its winning ways and we will turn this season around, right?
Wrong! First problem was Lobo superstar JR Giddens wasn't starting once again as "newspaper rumors" had Giddens and Lobo Coach Ritchie Mckay once again not seeing eye to eye.
Second problem was the game itself. Well, let's not say the whole game as the first seventeen minutes the Lobos went back and fourth with the BYU Cougars only trailing by one point with 3 minutes left in the 1st half. So not all was wrong. Unfortunately, after that everything fell apart for the Lobos, and I mean everything. BYU went on an eight to zero run to end the 1st half starting spelling not only doom, but also a lot of gloom in The Pit crowd. The only bright spot I could find in the first half it was the play of Tony Danridge as he scored the first eight points of the half, but like the entire team they went into a funk to the end.
Tony Danridge with the monster rebound
In the second half BYU built an early thirteen point lead UNM had to play catch up. Something UNM has had to do a lot this season, and at one point they had whittled it down to seven but it was too little too late and BYU wasn't going to be denied.
JR Giddens in pain
Major Problem! Lobo superstar, though he didn't play like a superstar tonight going 0-5 from the field with 2 boards, 1 assist and 2 turnovers JR Giddens re-injured his left ankle as he back peddled into BYU player. For the first time this year JR was held scoreless he went zero for five from the field as well as he did not start tonight and did not get in the game till 14:minutes left in the game. Coach McKay was asked was their five player in practice that played better then JR and in McKay words "yes."
The Pit faithful started filing out early as UNM was en route to one of the worst and most disheartening losses in many a year. As the Lobo fans were grumbling and mumbling up The Pit floor after being "Cherry Crushed" the boo birds or were they the Coooop Birds made a visit as the few fans left made their feelings felt.
Has Mckay lost this team?
Coach Mckay is left with major questions and major problems the rest of the season. Did this team quit on him tonight? If they did that does not bode well for the rest of the season as UNM's only post season hopes rest in the 3 days in Las Vegas. Is JR Giddens ankle going to recover and is he going to get motivated to use his God given talent to lead this team in said tournament? Coach Mckay and staff have a few weeks left to try and mend this fractured team otherwise AD Paul Krebs is going to have to put out the Help Wanted sign.
all photos courtesy of NewMexicoSportsnews.com