Weir apologizes for Lobos’ behavior before NMSU humiliation; UNM playing St. Mary’s in tournament
This time a week ago, the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team was sky high, coming off a win that head coach Paul Weir said was one of the best during his brief tenure with the Lobos.
On Thursday with his team sitting on a plane headed for Southern California and Friday night’s game in Los Angeles against St. Mary’s, Weir was sending out a press release apologizing for his team’s behavior in a humiliating loss earlier this week at New Mexico State.
Saying he was disappointed over a pregame scuffle involving at least one of his own players and at least one from NMSU, Weir issued an apology to both UNM and New Mexico State for what took place. He also assumed responsibility and warned that this thing — whatever it is — isn’t over.
“Our actions are a direct reflection of me and my lack of ability to communicate to our players the importance of sportsmanlike behavior,” Weir said in a statement. “At no point has anyone in our program ever been encouraged to behave in that fashion and much like the outcome of the game itself, I am embarrassed. Any member of this team who acts that way will have consequences and this will be no different.”
A photo taken by UNM’s student newspaper, The Daily Lobo, showed Lobos power forward Corey Manigault in the middle of a group of NMSU players on the part of the floor where the Aggies were warming up.
Neither Weir nor Aggies head coach Chris Jans were on the floor when the incident took place. Both men were in their respective locker rooms, leaving the players and a handful of assistants alone for pregame warmups.
“I discussed it immediately after the game,” Weir said in his postgame media session after Tuesday’s 100-65 loss, the seventh-largest margin of defeat in the history of the longstanding UNM-NMSU rivalry. Weir was the Aggies coach until 2017 when he took the UNM job.
During the game, Weir disciplined Manigault for an unspecified reason. The 6-foot-9 junior played only nine minutes and scored three points. It’s the second time in the last three games he has gone to the bench early and not returned.
In the four games where he has stayed out of trouble, Manigault has averaged 18.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in 23 1/2 minutes. In the two games where he’s been in Weir’s doghouse, he has three points and two rebounds in 13 minutes.
“We spoke at length prior to this game about being emotionally stable and just competing,” Weir said Tuesday. “I don’t know what prompted [the pregame scuffle] so I do know how much [about] who had to do with what but, regardless, I was extremely disappointed in whatever that happened to be.”
Pay up, fans: Friday’s game is part of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, a three-game, one-day event at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The UNM-St. Mary’s game is the only one not televised and, unfortunately, is only available with a subscription of $29.99 on FloHoops.com.
Sneak peek: The Lobos can get an in-person scouting report of their Mountain West Conference rival Nevada. The sixth-ranked Wolf Pack (8-0) play in the night cap against No. 20 Arizona State (7-0) in a 10 p.m. Friday tipoff televised by ESPN2.
The other game tips at 7:30 p.m. and has TCU (6-1) facing Southern Cal (5-3).
Friday: Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, New Mexico (4-2) vs. St. Mary’s (5-4), 5 p.m. at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Live stream: www.flohoops.com.
Radio: KKOB-AM 770 and KVSF-AM 1400.
Live stats: www.GoLobos.com.