New Mexico Dominates LMU In Basketball Travelers Invitational Final, 86-58
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/18/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 18, 2007

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Coach Alford Press Conference

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- J.R. Giddens scored 21 points and reserve Darren Prentice had 19, leading New Mexico to an 86-58 win over Loyola Marymount on Sunday in the final game of the Basketball Travelers Invitational.

Roman Martinez scored a career-high 11 points as the Lobos (5-0) survived a tough three-day stretch. After breezing past Presbyterian and St. Bonaventure, New Mexico dispatched the Lions, too, but this one was a grind.

Loyola Marymount (1-4) trimmed a 43-27 halftime deficit to 48-42 early in the second half on a 3-pointer by Quentin Turner and to 52-45 with 12:16 remaining after another 3-pointer by Jon Ziri.

Chad Toppert and Martinez each answered with 3-pointers as New Mexico found the energy for a 10-1 burst that put the Lobos ahead 62-46 with 9:51 remaining, but it wasn't always pretty.

There were missed putbacks, 21 turnovers and several Lobos slogged toward the bench when they came out of the game.

In fact, first-year coach Steve Alford buried his face in his hands midway through the second half after point guard Jamaal Smith was called for carrying the ball. But the Lobos held on, reaching 5-0 for the second straight year.

Jon Ziri led Loyola Marymount with 19 points and 10 rebounds while freshman Orlando Johnson scored 17. The Lions were tired, too, as evidenced by their 24 turnovers and 5-of-18 free throw shooting.

The Lobos came out sluggish, shooting 2-of-9 and 0-for-3 on 3-pointers through the first 8 minutes. But then Prentice came off the bench and hit two 3-pointers as part of a 16-3 run that featured some defense, as the Lions went scoreless for a 5 1/2 -minute stretch.

The 3's kept coming for New Mexico, which got two each from Martinez and freshman Jonathan Wills and another by Toppert. By halftime, the Lobos led 43-27, shooting 11-of-16 and 8-of-11 from 3-point range in the final 12 minutes of the half.