Over the weekend the New Mexico Lobos went 2-0 by defeating Cal State Fullerton and Idaho State. In the Idaho State game, the Lobos had control of the game from start to finish beating the Bengals 79-55. During the game, head coach Craig Neal found time to play 11 players to play double digit minutes. In the Cal State game, the Lobos struggled throughout with the scrappy Titans. Only seven players saw significant minuets with 10 total players seeing the court. The Lobos pulled away late to secure a 67-59 win. From the two games over the weekend here are some random observations.
1. Cullen Neal will lead the Lobos in scoring this year: For all of the talk that Cullen was going to play point he is still Lobos primary option on offense. Neal is averaging 24.5 points a game on 53% shooting from beyond the arc. He scored 21 of his 23 point in the second half of the Cal State game showing that even when he is quite he can turn it on when the Lobos need it. He should that he needs little room to shoot and that he has tremendous range. Neal has slowed down and so far this year is playing a little smarter he is averaging 4 assist to only two turnovers a game this year. Last year he averaged 1.9 assist and 1.9 turnovers a game.
2. Deshawn Delany and Hugh Greenwood need to shoot more: Even though Neal will be the Lobos primary scorer the Lobos cannot win with him alone. Last year's team was good because they could beat you in so many ways and while balanced scoring for the rest of the team is good the Lobos really need their seniors to step up and take more shots. At the beginning of the Cal State Fullerton game Greenwood came out shooting scoring 11 points in the first half. He looked aggressive and was taking shots. This is the Greenwood Lobos fans need to see if defenses have to worry about Hugh as an offensive threat it will open up Neal for better shots. Greenwood is averaging 9.5 points a game but he should be averaging double digits, at times during the first two games Greenwood has been passive.
Delany started off strong against Idaho State showing how he can change games for the Lobos with his athletic ability and his mid range jump shot but except for a short spurt during the Cal State Fullerton game he completely disappeared. The Lobos will be a better team if he can make plays from the wing. For the Lobos who are still a work in progress Delany and Greenwood will need to be consistent scores if the team wants to make it to the NCAA tournament again this year.
3. Jordan Goodman is Rusty: Goodman missed most of the Lobos preseason work outs and it shows. At times he looks like he is not on the same page as the other players when he is on the court. He is averaging 9.5 minutes a game which is surprising in itself since he was not supposed to play until December. He still looks a step slow and does not have very much lift on his shot. It will take him time for him to work himself in to game shape but he should be a contributor to the team. He just may not have the big season many expected from him.
Devon William has complicated the issue because of his play, after not seeing very much time last year he is now starting and has looked pretty good in his 21 minutes a game. When Goodman is fully healthy he will cut into Williams minutes but it is not know at what point he becomes a starter for the Lobos.