As Steve Alford and the New Mexico Lobos headed back to the locker room after Creighton came back to defeat them 82-75, they probably felt like he got kicked in the gut. The Lobos built themselves a lead from the beginning and had a nice 12-15 point cushion. Then at about the 10 minute mark, something happened–Justin Carter stole the ball and a Lobo was right in front of him. The whistle blew and everyone expected a blocking foul by New Mexico. Instead Justin Carter was called for a travel. That call woke up the Qwest crowd and the Jays defense as the Jays outscored New Mexico 40-16 and in the last 3+ minutes before the final basket made by New Mexico had a 16-0 run. What a way to start the season.
P’Allen Stinnett (30 pts.) and Booker Woodfox (26 pts.) were just on fire in those last 10 minutes and made some just sick shots. P’Allen seemed to be one player that was just on all cylinders for the whole game compared to everyone else. Even Cavel Witter was in on the fun with a great drive and basket during that stretch. Cavel though looked a little out of his game now that he is playing more of the shooting guard role than point guard.
P’Allen and Booker will get a lot of credit because they hit those shots, but a lot of credit needs to go to Josh Dotzler and Justin Carter. Josh looked like he did when he was a freshman and just ran the team with fluidity and played some tenacious defense. Justin was the iron man. Not only did the JUCO new guy get the start, but played 30 minutes mainly because of his intensity and hard play and also out of necessity. Chad Millard got elbowed in the head as he was taking a 3-point shot and was knocked unconscious in the first half and did not return. Caseb Korriman was not effective either asCasey Harriman was suffering a bout of Strep throat and Kaleb Korver didn’t contribute a whole lot. But it was great experience and great minutes for Justin.
For some reason, I felt Kenton Walker was more effective than Kenny Lawson. We’ll have to see how that goes as the season continues. I just thought Kenton was more active and helped with defensive intensity.
If Josh Jones doesn’t play on Thursday against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, I would assume they are looking to redshirt him, but I wouldn’t call it yet.
Overall, it was a tough game to watch in the beginning, but also New Mexico had an extra game of experience and the Jays started out of the gate slow just like they did last year against Depaul. However, the last 10 minutes will easily make me forget the first 30. But it is just beginning. Two more games in the next week. Bring it on. It should be a fun week.