Chants of “Judas” and “You’re a sellout” filled the air of the Pan American Center in Las Cruces on Tuesday evening.
Other ill-natured chants about the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team filled the air, too.
Inevitably, the negativity directed at UNM and its head coach had a grueling effect on the outcome of the game: A 100-65 thrashing on the road courtesy of rival New Mexico State.
It was the largest margin of victory in the series since a 37-point win from UNM more than 50 years ago.
It was UNM’s second loss this season to the Aggies. Paul Weir, now the Lobos’ head coach, is 0-4 against his former team.
“Speechless,” Weir said in response to the loss. “Speechless. Sick to my stomach. Humiliated. Embarrassed. So many things I could elaborate on, but unfortunately at this point in time, it is going to remain an incredibly humiliating defeat and we have to move forward.”
The Aggies (7-1) were led by JoJo Zamora (27) and Ivan Aurrecoechea (23), who combined for half of their team’s total points.
The Lobos (4-2), who have been known to start slow, did just that in the first half. NMSU’s Aurrecoechea, scored the first seven points for his team, while UNM had yet to make a shot.
A little more than five minutes in, though, New Mexico got its first bucket on a layup from Karim Ezzedine. But by that point, NMSU had built a sizeable lead -- and continued to pound the Lobos the rest of the first half.
Foul problems plagued the Lobos early on in the first half. Just seven-and-a-half minutes in, UNM had already put the Aggies in the bonus. NMSU went on to make 15 free throws on 21 attempts in the first half.
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Aurrecoechea had 17 first-half points and Zamora had 16 points in the frame, more than the Lobos combined.
UNM shot a horrid 20 percent in the first half, hitting only just six buckets total in the frame. The Aggies entered the half with a 50-22 lead.
In the second half, much remained the same: The Aggies scored while the Lobos had their troubles doing so.
To open up the second half, Zamora torched the Lobos from beyond the arc, hitting threes with ease. He finished 6-of-6 from beyond the arc. Previously, Zamora was shooting just 15 percent from three.
“I think this will be a big boost for him going forward,” NMSU head coach Chris Jans said of Zamora.
The Aggies got their lead up to 41 points on an AJ Harris layup nine minutes into the second half. The Lobos, clearly defeated, continued to play but at an uninspired pace. Weir showed little emotion in the second half.
“I didn’t necessarily feel that,” Weir said when told some fans suggested his team looked uninspired on Tuesday night. “Any observations are warranted as far as those observations being negative about us.”
The Lobos were heavily outrebounded by the Aggies, 50-28. NMSU had 21 points off of second chances. The Aggies also pounded the Lobos in the paint, scoring 44 points to UNM’s 16.
In the end, UNM shot 29.5 percent from the field compared to NMSU’s 50 percent. Drue Drinnon led the Lobos with 13 points, all of which came in the second half. Vance Jackson and Ezzeddine each finished with 11.
Pre-game scuffle: Corey Manigault of UNM and Shunn Buchanan of NMSU got into a scuffle about 45 minutes prior to the game that grew to include the majority of the Aggies players. In the lead up to the game, Buchanan and Manigault were trash talking on social media. Then, roughly an hour prior to the game, Manigault and Buchanan began to exchange words when both teams were warming up, in an altercation that began at the baseline near the tunnel and carried over to midcourt. At least one punch was thrown, though it is unclear who was behind it.
Manigault didn’t play in the second half. Weir said it was a “coach’s decision” and that it was a “teachable moment.”
Matthew Narvaiz is a senior writer for the Daily Lobo. He helps cover men’s basketball, however, he also contributes content to other sports. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @matt_narvaiz.
Cameron Goeldner is a senior reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, women’s basketball, softball and the Albuquerque Isotopes, but also contributes content for all other sports. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.