Following New Mexico’s home win against San Diego State this past Saturday, there are appeared to be a scuffle while both teams snaked through the traditional post-game handshake line. While both the Lobos are the Mountain West Conference are still investigating whether an actionable incident occurred, UNM coach Craig Neal offered his advice on what he sees an antique custom: “Handshake lines aren’t good; I still don’t understand them. When two competitive people go to war, two competitive teams go to war — they’re not nice.”
It seems that every conference team, upon entering the Pit (UNM’s arena), becomes an instantaneous rival the moment the game ends. The court has always been tagged as one of the most intimidating college basketball venues, but following this past weekend’s contest, perhaps Neal’s words ring true: when a MWC game is played at the Pit, there might not be a need for a handshake line. The Lobos play a physical, grinding brand of basketball — there is a reason why UNM has the conference’s second-best defensive efficiency rating — and tensions are frequently high in a conference where even the top teams can be quickly humbled.
Why continue to perpetuate this ritual? Rather than force the teams to shake hands after a crushing loss, or a game whose outcome was long decided, why not have New Mexico and the opponent retire to their locker rooms, stew and cool down, and then have some sort of post-game event in the tunnel?
Critics will raise cries about sportsmanship, but if there is still a handshake line, just one that doesn’t happen immediately after the game, doesn’t that still count as sportsmanship?
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.