Jan. 9, 2010
Saturday: UNLV 74, Lobos 62
Up Next: Utah at Lobos, 8 p.m., Wednesday, The Pit
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It's early, lots of games to play, but the New Mexico Lobos definitely are in hole looking up. The UNLV Rebels got a huge Mountain West Conference road win Saturday afternoon in The PIt with a convincing 74-62 win over the Lobos.
"These young guys have been hit in the mouth," said Lobo coach Steve Alford. "We're going to see how we handle (it). It's a long season. It's a long grind. We have a big game on Wednesday and we have to move on to the next game."
Vegas jumped to a 36-30 halftime lead, held back a couple of small UNM runs in the second half, and raised its MWC mark to 1-1. The Lobos are 14-3 and 0-2 in league with a Pit loss and a road loss at San Diego State.
The Lobos have a good chance to crack the MWC win column when the Utah Utes visit Albuquerque on Wednesday.
The Lobos haven't been shooting lights out the past few games and that cool spell was extended Saturday by the quick and lanky Rebs. UNM shot 36 percent from the floor and 22.2 percent (4-of-18) from behind the line. "We just haven't been shooting the ball well," said Alford. "Everybody is talking about it and I guess our guys are listening. We missed some shots."
Meanwhile, Reb Kendall Wallace burned the Lobo perimeter on 7-of-10 shooting from 3-point range and led all scorers with those 21 points. Wallace never took a shot inside the long line. Wallace was a huge reason the Lobos could not crack the Rebs down the stretch. When UNLV needed a big bucket, the quick Rebs would break down the Lobo defense and Wallace would bang in a bomb from long range.
"He did a great job," Alford said of Wallace, who was 6-of-7 in the second half. "He got on fire. They did a good job of finding him and he made shots. Wallace got away from us in the second half."
Said Lobo Roman Martinez on Wallace: "He was killing us. Every three he shot was going in. He hit some big shots and we weren't able to respond. It all starts on the defensive end and we weren't getting any stops."
The Lobos grabbed a 23-21 lead in the first half and led 46-45 at the 10:45 mark of the second half. The Rebs then went on an 11-0 run paced by two Wallace treys and another bomb by Chace Stanback.
The Rebs were up 56-46 with 6:29 to play and up 64-51 with 4:56 to go. The closest the Lobos could pull down the stretch was a six-point deficit at 68-62 with 1:43 to play. Wallace crushed the Lobos' hopes with another trey at the 1:12 mark and the Rebs went up 71-62.
"Give a lot of credit to Vegas," said Martinez. "They are tough, tough defensively and tough overall. We are a young team, but we have no excuses. We need some people to step up."
Martinez ended the game with 15 points and 12 rebounds. UNM got 17 points from Dairese Gary (13-of-15 from the line), 14 points from Darington Hobson and 10 points from Phillip McDonald. UNLV's Tre'Von Willis slipped into double figures with 20 and Stanback had 14 points and nine boards.
The Rebs shot 45.8 percent from the floor and 42.3 percent from behind the line. UNM dominated the boards, 41-to-30, but Vegas had 20 assists to 10 for the Lobos. UNM shot 31 free throws to 11 for Vegas.
"I thought we drove the ball pretty well," said Alford. "We got to the line 31 times. We outrebound them. They just shot the ball better than we did. They executed their offense better than we were able to execute on defense."
Second Half -- UNLV 38, Lobos 32
The Lobos came out of the half down six points (36-30), probably needing to add a few more 3-point bombs to their effective drive to the hoops. The Lobos need to elevate their perimeter defense and maybe get Hobson more involved in the offense.
The Rebs probably were hoping to keep UNM out of any Pit-rocking runs and try to do a better job containing UNM on drives.
Martinez hit a trey from the get-go to make it 36-33. That got The Pit into the game early. At the 15:45 break, Vegas was still up six points: 42-36. UNM was shooting 33.3 percent at that point and UNM was at 25 percent.
Hobson posted up again: 45-42. The Rebs missed long and Hobson was fouled on a drive: 45-44. The Rebs now needed to find a way to quiet Hobson. The two teams went into the 11:55 break at 45-44 -- Vegas' favor.
Brown joined Hobson with some good inside work. The 6-9 Lobo sophomore scored underneath off the glass and UNM was back up 46-45. Both teams were having to work hard for their shots.
Willis found an easy place to shoot from at the 9:22 mark -- the free-throw line. The quick Reb knocked down two and Vegas was back up 47-46. The Lobos turned it over and Wallace banged in a trey from the left baseline.
Vegas was up 50-46 and Alford called a time with 8:31 to play. At the 7:57 media break, it was still 50-46. Vegas came out of the break, got the UNM defense to collapse inside, and Wallace hit another baseline trey: 53-46. A UNM turnover led to a baseline trey by Stanback and Alford called another timeout. His Lobos were down by ten, 56-46 with 6:29 to play.
Gary was looking at a one-and-one at the 6:20 mark and cut Vegas down to a 56-48 lead. Vegas' Derrick Jasper was hammered by McDonald on a drive and the Reb got even with two free throws of his own: 58-48.
Gary drove and kicked out to McDonald for a trey: 58-51. UNM had a nice opportunity when Martinez stole the in-bound pass, but McDonald missed the 3-point shot. Vegas then got yet another trey from Wallace: 61-51.
Vegas had a nice chance to go up by 12, but Willis missed a layup on a lob pass. UNM didn't score and Wallace again drilled one from long range: 64-51. The Rebs were drifting away.
At the 4:36 mark, McDonald went to the line and hit two to cut Vegas' lead to 64-53. The Lobos needed a rally. Hobson drove for a layup: 64-55. Stanback pulled up for a 15-footer: 66-55.
That score stayed frozen going into the final media break at 3:26. UNM was shooting 31.8 percent from the field, 2-of-10 from behind the line. Vegas was at 34.5 percent, but the damage from Wallace had UNLV 6-of-12 from 3-point range.
The Lobos got a quick four-point run to make it 66-59. Vegas got a layup: 68-59. Hobson got held and went to the line at the 2:27 mark. The junior missed both: 68-59. Vegas threw up an air ball and Gary drove, scored and got fouled with 1:44 to play. He converted the free one to pull the Lobos into a 68-62 hole. The Lobos needed to hold the Rebs and score on at least two possessions.
Wallace then ended it for UNM. The hot-shooting Reb banged in his seventh trey, this time from left of the key and Vegas was up 71-62. UNM turned it over and Willis added one from the line: 72-62.
Vegas pulled in for the 74-62 win.
First Half -- UNLV 36, Lobos 30
It was a first half that could have been better for the Lobos, could have been worse. The Lobos used a combination of missed shots, turnovers and so-so defense to fall into a 17-6 hole. UNM battled back to take a 23-21 with 4:42 to play, off two Gary free throws. The Rebs outscored UNM 15-to-7 down the stretch to grab the six-point halftime lead. UNM shot 37.5 percent in the first half to 55.6 percent for UNLV.
The Rebs got 13 points from Tre'Von Willis, who played only 13 minutes in the half. UNM got 10 points from Martinez and nine from Gary. Martinez led all rebounders in the half with eight. Chace Stanback and Matt Shaw each scored seven points for UNLV. UNM won the board battle 17-13, with four more offensive rebounds than UNLV.
Alford likes his Lobos to get off to a good start and send a quick message to the other team that they are in for a game. The message at the 15:41 timeout was not good. The Lobos had missed every field goal (0-4), had three turnovers and were down 9-2. The Rebs were runinng pretty smoothly, but not exactly running. They had worked the UNM defense for 4-of-7 shooting.
The Lobos came out of the break and got a tip from Martinez to make it 9-4. The Rebs hit another perimeter shot and went up 11-4. Garth broke down the Reb defense and fed Martinez for a layup: 11-6. The Rebs did the same at the other end, banged down their second trey, and UNLV was up 14-6. Garth then got stripped on a drive and TreVon Willis got the layup and a foul from Garth. The Rebs' leading scorer converted for a 17-6 UNLV lead.
The Lobos went into the 11:42 media break down 19-8. UNM got a 16-foot jumper from Brown off a feed from Hobson. UNLV got a layup from Darris Santee, who powered through Brown on the baseline. UNM was shooting 33.3 percent from the field at that mark to 66.7 percent for Vegas. Most of the other vital stats were fairly close.
The Lobos crawled to 19-12 and woke up -- and stood up -- The Pit. The UNM baskets were two free throws from Martinez and a layup from Hardeman. UNLV's Wallace committed his second turnover and UNM got a layup from Hobson. UNLV was up 19-14 at the 7:59 break. The Lobos were playing better defense and doing a better job of attacking the Rebs' defense. The Rebels' shooting percentage had dipped to 50 percent. UNM was at 33.3 percentage.
The Lobos took their first lead at 4:42 when Gary was fouled by Reb Willis on a drive. The Lobo junior hit both sides of the one-and-one and UNM was up 23-21. That UNM lead was aided by five points from McDonald. Vegas scratched back into a 24-23 lead at the 3:45 media break off a trey near the top of the key from Shaw.
Gary came out of the UNM huddle and hit a single free throw to form a 24-24 tie. Vegas scored inside on a follow: 26-24. Hobson missed on a drive and UNLV went into transition with Derrick Jasper driving on Gary. The lanky Reb flipped in the layup for a 28-24 Vegas lead. UNLV's Anthony Marshall got a steal and a dunk for a 30-24 UNLV cushion.
Martinez got an eruption from The Pit tossing in a 3-pointer from the right baseline that he had to lift over a high-jumping Reb. The shot fell and the Reb fell into the Lobo. Martinez added the free throw to make it 30-28. Both teams missed a couple of good looks before UNLV scored out of transition again. Willis took the ball in for a layup with 42 seconds to play. He added a free throw for a 33-28 Vegas cushion.
Gary threw another power drive at the Rebs and got bumped with 14.5 ticks to go. The Lobos made both to push the score to 33-30. Vegas called time at the 6.3 mark, looking to set up a final shot. Willis rolled in a long trey over the UNM zone to form the 36-30 halftime count.