After UNM’s loss to Brigham Young University earlier in the season, UNM head coach Fran Fraschilla said his team played as individuals. But on Monday night, the Lobos won as a team.
UNM had four players score in double figures, played tough team defense in the second half and played unselfishly in earning a runaway 91-78 win over Georgia State University Monday night.
Having lost six of the past seven games, Fraschilla set up a series of meetings after UNM’s loss to the Air Force Academy. Forward Wayland White said the team had two meetings the past couple of days; one was a team meeting, the other a players-only meeting to try and figure out ways to get back on the winning track.
“Those were meetings to try to get everything out into the open,” said White. “We talked about helping each other out, playing unselfishly. Everybody had a chance to talk about what they were thinking.”
UNM did come out and play unselfish on offense, especially on the fast break. Five players recorded assists, with Marlon Parmer leading the way with 10. Several times he guided the Lobos to easy baskets by pushing the ball up the court. With his teammates running down the court, every Lobo who played in the game scored.
“Everybody was contributing, scoring points, protecting each others back,” guard Ruben Douglas said. “When we had that meeting, we got a lot of things aired out and it helped us out tonight.”
When Douglas went on a 3-point barrage in the second half, his teammates looked for him, sometimes even giving up open shots to get him a shot.
“We tried to get the ball to Ruben because he was hot,” White said. “When someone is scoring, we looked to give them the ball as much as possible.”
The team finished with 18 assists on the night.
The togetherness of the team was also evident on defense, especially in the second half. With White, freshmen Patrick Dennehy, Alvin Broussard and senior Brian Smith covering the paint, the UNM guards got into the passing lanes and recorded six steals.
Each time a Georgia State shooter seemed open, a UNM defender would contest the shot or force the player to pass it. Many times, the Panthers were frustrated on offense, could not get many open looks, and shot only 31 percent in the second half.
Georgia State did not get many opportunities inside and at times looked intimidated by UNM’s inside players, namely White. White swatted away four shots and altered many others.
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“I was able to anticipate some shots and my teammates helped me on defense,” White said.