Dec. 6, 2007
The University of New Mexico hopes the winning ways return when it hosts the University of San Diego Toreros Saturday afternoon. Tipoff is 1:05 p.m. from The Pit/Bob King Court in Albuquerque. Live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com.
After a 7-0 start, the Lobos (7-2) dropped a pair of road games to Ole Miss (85-77) and New Mexico State (71-62). The environment is much better at home where UNM is 6-0 and has won by an average margin of 26.5 points.
The San Diego game opens a four-game home stand for New Mexico. Texas Tech is in town next Saturday afternoon for a nationally-televised game followed by the 200th game between UNM and New Mexico State on Wednesday, Dec. 19. The Lobos entertain Weber State on Sunday, Dec. 23.
The Toreros of San Diego evened their record at 5-5 Wednesday with a 60-40 victory over San Jose State. Junior guard Brandon Johnson and junior forward Gyno Pomare each scored 13 points in the win. San Diego held San Jose State to just 28% (15-52) shooting from the field and 2 of 10 accuracy from 3-point. USD has won three of its past four.
Johnson is leading the team in scoring at 17.5 points a game. Pomare is averaging 14.1 points and a team-high 7.7 rebounds.
The Lobos and Toreros share one common opponent in Hawai'i. USD has already knocked off the Rainbow Warriors twice, 73-72 in the season opener at Honolulu and 81-67 in San Diego last Sunday.
San Diego has also faced a pair of Mountain West Conference teams. USD lost at UNLV 66-55 and fell at San Diego State 69-64.
STUDENT TICKET PICK-UP
Tickets for Lobo men's basketball are free for all full-time UNM students (enrolled in 6+ hours) during the 2007-08 season. Students can pick up tickets for the New Mexico State (Dec.19), Weber State (Dec. 23), San Diego State (Jan. 12), Air Force (Jan. 19) and Utah (Jan. 22) games at the UNM Bookstore or the Lobo Ticket Office at The Pit.
After 500 career games as a head coach, Alford is 315-185 (63%) into his 17th season. His teams have qualified for postseason play 11 times, produced 13 winning seasons and reached 20 wins on eight occasions.
Alford is facing the University of San Diego for the first time in his head coaching career.
In eight seasons at Iowa, Alford compiled a 152-106 record with a school-record seven consecutive winning seasons, and six postseason appearances. The Hawkeyes won two Big Ten Conference tournament titles (2001 and `06). Iowa was 17-14 in 2006-07. It was 9-7 in the Big Ten, tied with NCAA teams Illinois and Purdue for fourth place.
Prior to Iowa, Alford posted a 78-29 record in four seasons (1992-95) at NCAA Division III Manchester (Ind.) College and a four-year (1996-99) record of 78-48 at Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State). The Bears defeated Wisconsin and Tennessee to advance to the Sweet 16 of the 1999 NCAA Tournament before losing to top-ranked Duke in the regional semifinals. In 1997 Alford led the Bears to a 24-9 record (second in the Missouri Valley Conference) and a trip to the National Invitation Tournament.
THE LOBO-TORERO SERIES
This is the 5th meeting and each team has won two games. USD won the last game two years ago in San Diego, 63-56. UNM has a 2-1 lead in games played in The Pit, winning 61-46 in 1985 and 88-75 in January of 2004. The Toreros beat the Lobos 64-53 in 1988 in Albuquerque.
MORE ON SAN DIEGO
The Toreros return four starters from last year's team that finished 18-14 overall and 6-8 in the competitive West Coast Conference. Bill Grier is in his first season as the Torero's head coach.
SEASON NO. 105
The 2007-08 season is the 105th in school history. The Lobos first laced up the hightops on Feb. 2, 1900, when they lost 8-6 to the Albuquerque Guards. While this season is actually the 106th anniversary of that inaugural year, UNM did not field a team for various reasons in 1900-01, 1903-04, 1917-18 and 1920-21.
The Lobos have been on the hardwoods continuously since the 1921-22 season and have compiled an all-time record of 1,272-998 (.559). New Mexico was 421-497 (.458) from 1900-62, but has gone 851-501 (.627) over the past 44-plus seasons, an average of nearly 19 wins per year. The Lobos have made 27 trips to the postseason during that span, including 11 appearances in the NCAA Tournament and 16 showings in the NIT.
DANRIDGE OUT UNTIL JANUARY
Lobo senior Tony Danridge suffered a broken left fibula during a game with teammates on Oct. 4. He had surgery on Oct. 8 and is expected to miss three months. Danridge, a 6-5 senior from San Bernardino, Calif., posted 12.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game last season and was named 3rd team All-MWC. He is the only Lobo to play in all 95 games over the past three seasons, not missing a game to this point in his Lobo career. He does have a redshirt year available.
NEW MEXICO STATE RECAP
Justin Hawkins recovered from an 0-for-5 first-half shooting effort, scoring 12 points, and freshman Wendell McKines had 15 rebounds as New Mexico State beat New Mexico 71-62 on Tuesday.
With Hawkins struggling to a 3-of-14 shooting performance from the floor, his teammates picked things up. Hatila Passos was a force inside, scoring 12 points, Chris Cole added 11 and Jonathan Gibson 10, including a 3-pointer and a dunk during an 11-5 burst that stretched New Mexico State's lead to 57-44 with 5:11 remaining.
The Lobos cut it to 67-60 on a three-point play by Jamaal Smith with 39.1 seconds to go, but New Mexico made all 12 of its free throws in the final 2:14 to seal it up. Hawkins was 6-for-6 from the line in that stretch.
Chad Toppert led the Lobos with 20 points, hitting 6-of-7 from 3-point range, and Smith scored 17. New Mexico standout J.R. Giddense was held to four points on 2-of-10 shooting.
New Mexico State used a 44-28 rebounding advantage to control the interior and relied on a backcourt press to disrupt New Mexico's guards, nullifying the Lobos' dangerous transition game. The Lobos shot 38 percent from the field, hitting 21-of-55.
Last weekend, in an 85-77 loss at Mississippi, Giddens missed all six of his attempts, then went 0-for-2 in the first half against NMSU. He finally broke through on a 14-foot jumper to open the second half. But that was New Mexico's only bucket as the Aggies started with an 8-2 burst, capped by Hawkins' first basket on a dunk when the Lobos left him open under the hoop. It put New Mexico State up 36-28 and even when the Lobos cut it to 39-36 after Toppert hit two 3-pointers, the Aggies fired it up again, scoring the next seven points for a 46-36 lead with 9:43 to go.
Junior Chad Toppert
Senior Jamaal Smith
Freshman Dairese Gary
TOUGH ROAD NUMBERS
TOPPERT IS TOPS
Coming off a 6 for 7 performance from 3-point at New Mexico State, junior Chad Toppert is now the most accurate long-range shooter in school history. Toppert has made exactly 45% (126-280) of his tries. Troy DeVries is now 2nd at 44.95% (147-327). Toppert also leads the league in 3-point shooting this season at 50% (27-54).
IT'S A FIRST FOR LOBO HOOPS
For the first time since the 3-point shot was introduced into college basketball before the 1986-87 season, UNM canned at least 13 3-pointers in three straight games. The historic feat came during the Basketball Travelers Invitational when the Lobos were 13 of 28 against Presbyterian, 13 of 28 against St. Bonaventure and 13 of 26 against Loyola Marymount. That's a 47.6% clip for the 3-game tournament.
MORE ON THE 3s
Before the 3-for-24 performance from long range against Southern Utah, the Lobos were among the nation's early leaders in 3-point shooting. However, they still lead the league in 3s per game at 9.44 and the 42.3% shooting is No. 2 in the Mountain West.
3s AND COUNTING
UNM has made a 3-point basket in 557 straight games, the 12th-longest active streak in NCAA Div. I hoops. UNLV is 1st at more than 650 games. The last time UNM failed to connect from long range was Jan. 3, 1991, missing on 8 attempts against Colorado State in The Pit.
EVERYONE PLAYS AND CONTRIBUTES
All 10 Lobos have played in every game this season, and all 10 are averaging between 14.7 and 26.6 minutes a game. With nine games in the books, you could say there have been a total of 90 opportunities to score: 9 games x 10 players. Amazingly, only 8 times has a Lobo not gotten into the scoring column this season. It's the same with rebounding. Just six times has a Lobo failed to get a carom.
And, since everyone plays the Lobo bench has made huge contributions. The reserves contributed 49 points in the 86-58 win over Loyola Marymount, including 19 of the first 23 and 26 of 43 in the first half.
UNM's reserves have scored 46.2% (317 of 686) of the points and pulled down 45% (137 of 304) of the individual rebounds this season. That's averages of 35.2 points and 15.2 rebounds a game.