Feb. 18, 2004
Game 23 * New Mexico at BYU
Saturday, Feb. 21 * 7:07 p.m. MST * SportsWest/KRQE-TV
Marriott Center * Provo, Utah
The University of New Mexico opens a two-game road swing through the Beehive State this weekend, visiting BYU Saturday and Utah Monday. The Lobos and Cougars tip at 7:07 p.m. Mountain Time from the Marriott Center in Provo. SportsWest will originate the live telecast with local viewing on KRQE-TV in Albuquerque.
UNM is closing the regular season by playing four of its final six games of the road. The final two home games are against San Diego State (Feb. 28) and UNLV (March 1).
New Mexico is 13-9 overall and 4-5 in the MWC after losing a tough 51-50 decision at Air Force last Saturday. The Lobos are tied with UNLV for fourth place in the league. BYU is 16-7 overall and 6-4 in the loop after sweeping Wyoming and Colorado State on the road last week. After losing three straight between Jan. 24-31, the Cougars have won four in a row to move into third place in the MWC.
Just like last week at Air Force, the Lobos are invading an arena where the home team has a double-digit winning streak. BYU has won 15 straight at the Marriott Center (10-0 this year), the last lost coming against Utah a year ago. New Mexico has dropped three in a row at Provo.
New Mexico will try to end a road losing streak that has reached 23 straight games overall, 24 consecutive including neutral sites, and 16 MWC games in a row. The last win away from Albuquerque was Jan. 28, 2002, a 70-64 decision at Colorado State. It?s UNM?s longest losing skid away from home in more than 40 years.
UNM has surpassed last year?s win total by three games and equaled its conference win total (4-10). New Mexico is 13-3 in The Pit this season, and has won four straight and 11 of its last 12. The Lobos were 10-7 at home last year.
New Mexico has had a full roster the past 16 games - since Dec. 21 - when Granger (Bradley) and Troy DeVries (Portland State) became eligible as mid-season transfers. The twosome has been UNM?s top-two scorers since taking the court. UNM is 10-6 since their arrival. At 20.8 points a game, Granger would be leading the MWC in scoring had he played in the required number of games. His is averaging 9.0 rebounds. Granger has posted five double-doubles. He became the first Lobo since Kenny Thomas in 1997-98 to record four straight double-doubles.
DeVries is averaging 11.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.5 assists, including 12 dishes against Coppin State, the best total by a Lobo in 12 years. He is shooting 43.5% (40-92) from 3-point, an average of 2.5 treys a game.
LOBOS VS. BYU - BYU has a 65-48 advantage in a series that started 54 years ago. The Lobos? 65-63 win in Albuquerque last month snapped a four-game losing streak to the Cougars. UNM won eight of nine between 1996-2000, but BYU has captured eight of the past 10.
The Cougars have a 37-15 lead in games played in Provo, including 20-12 in the Marriott Center. UNM is 5-3 in its last eight games in Provo, but has dropped the last three. BYU knocked the Lobos out of the MWC Tournament in 2000, ?01 and ?03.
Granger, who scored 27 points, bailed out DeVries, who had a chance to break a 63-all tie but missed two free throws with 3.8 seconds remaining. DeVries went to the line after BYU's Mark Bigelow was given a technical for running onto the court after teammate Kevin Woodberry's tip-in tied the game with 4 seconds left. Bigelow had fouled out with 1:26 left in the game.
DeVries missed the two free throws, but the Lobos retained possession. With Granger near the baseline under the New Mexico basket, DeVries threw the ball to him and Granger beat BYU center Rafael Araujo to the basket, his layup just managing to roll in.
BYU grabbed a 61-60 lead with 29.6 seconds left when Araujo made one of two free throws. The Lobos countered when Javin Tindall's second three of the night gave UNM a 63-61 lead with 15 seconds remaining. Tindall had been 1 of 9 from long range in three games before the BYU game.
Granger was the difference in a game that saw 14 ties and 16 lead changes. He also had 8 rebounds, six blocks and three assists. Granger didn't get his first field goal until the 11:32 mark of the first half, but finished with 15 points in the first half.
How close was the game? Only four times was the lead more than three points for either team. BYU led 21-15 and 24-20 in the first half, while UNM had a four-point advantage at 53-49 and 55-51.
Last year at Provo: Despite another heroic effort by Ruben Douglas, the Lobos came up short at BYU, losing 80-64. Douglas finished with 39 points, a game after knocking down 40 against UNLV. The Cougar reserves outscored the New Mexico bench, 25-5 and held a huge 30-6 advantage in points in the paint.
Leading by eight at halftime, BYU opened the second half with a 9-2 run to take a 48-33 advantage. UNM missed its first six shots from the floor after halftime to dig itself a hole.
The lead grew to 16 points at 59-43, but the Lobos cut the deficit to 70-62 with less than four minutes remaining. UNM had the ball with a chance to cut the margin even more, but consecutive turnovers started a 9-0 Cougars and sealed the win.
HEAD COACH Ritchie McKay - Ritchie McKay is in his second season in charge of Lobo hoops and his eighth year as a collegiate head coach. He was named UNM's 18th head coach on March 28, 2002. McKay is the son of the late Joe McKay, who was a three-year letterman at guard for the Lobos from 1961-63.
McKay had previous stops at Portland State (1996-98), Colorado State (1998-2000) and Oregon State (2000-02). He has a career record of 106-116, 23-27 at New Mexico. McKay is 8-15 in conference games while at UNM, 8-4 at The Pit, 0-11 on the road. He is 2-4 against BYU, 0-2 in Provo.
AIR FORCE RECAP / NOTES - Antoine Hood made a free throw with 9.7 seconds left to give Air Force a 51-50 victory over New Mexico. With the score tied at 50, Hood was fouled by Troy DeVries. Hood made the first, but missed the second. UNM's Danny Granger got the rebound, but his 3-point try to win the game was off the mark. Granger led the Lobos with 15 points and seven rebounds.
The Lobos led 41-34 with 11:23 left in the game following a basket by David Chiotti. The Falcons chipped away and took a 45-44 lead on a pair of free throws by Nick Welch with 3:26 left.
Trailing 48-46, seldom-used reserve Jeff Hart nailed a 3-pointer as the Lobos regained the lead at 49-48 with 1:19 to play. Hood made a pair of free throws with 1:04 remaining as the Falcons got the lead back at 50-49. Chiotti tied the game at 50 by making one of two fouls shots with 33 seconds left.
* The Lobos were swept by Air Force in conference play for the first time ever...UNM and AFA have been conference mates since 1980-81 when both were members of the Western Athletic Conference
* UNM is now 11-2 in games decided by 10 points or more, 2-7 when the margin is under double figures
* Nailing their first four shots, including three 3s, UNM grabbed an 11-2 lead...the Falcons stormed back with a 15-4 burst to take a 17-15 advantage
* With UNM leading 27-26 at halftime, Air Force trailed at the break for the first time in 11 home games and for only the fourth time in 21 games overall...New Mexico became just the third team this season to score more than 25 points in the first period against the Falcons...the 27 first-half points scored by the Lobos tied for the most against the Falcons at Clune Arena this season...Wyoming trailed Air Force 36-27 on Feb. 7
* The Lobos had been 13-3 when leading at halftime
* New Mexico made eight 3-pointers, the most against Air Force this season...Utah made 6 on Jan. 26...UNM also had the best 3-point percentage against the Falcons this year at 47% (8-17)
* After taking a 41-34 lead with 11:23 left, New Mexico was outscored 17-9 the rest of the way...the Lobos finished 3 of 9 from the floor after grabbing that 7-point lead...meanwhile, the Falcons made 5 of their final 6 shots over the final 8:05 of the game
* Sophomore walk-on Jeff Hart played 9 minutes and hit a clutch 3-pointer that gave UNM a 49-48 lead with 1:19 left in the game...coming into the game, Hart had played just 2 minutes in 3 MWC games and scored a total of 7 points in 11 games this season...his only 3 of the season came in the opener against San Francisco State...the 9 minutes is his most playing time since getting 10 against Northwestern State on Dec. 28
* New Mexico was 8 of 9 from the FT line and has converted 37 of 40 (92.5%) the past two games...the Lobos have shot 81% (83-103) from the stripe the past 5 games
* The frontcourt trio of Danny Granger, David Chiotti and Alfred Neale combined for 36 points and 19 rebounds...in the Lobos? 68-42 loss at Albuquerque last month, the threesome had 23 points and 9 rebounds with Chiotti and Neale getting just 10 points and 1 board
* Troy DeVries did not score for the first time in 16 games as a Lobo...DeVries was 0-2 from the floor...he scored 3 points in two games against Air Force this season
* Air Force shot 48.5% (16-33)...in nine MWC games, opponents are shooting 48.4% (209-432) from the field against UNM
* The Lobos have won 15 straight games when shooting better than their opponent, including a perfect 10-0 this season...the last loss was at Tennessee on Jan. 4, 2003...UNM shot 45% (18-40), the Vols 43% (22-51)...the Lobos are 50-4 in such situations since 2000-01, 147-13 since the 1995-96 season
* New Mexico committed 10 turnovers, the fifth time in the past seven games they have had 11 or less...the Lobos have just 33 miscues (8.3 a game) in their four MWC wins compared to 61 (12.2 a game) in their five conference losses
NO SLIGHT TO DEVRIES AND GRANGER - Even though their averages and percentages warrant placement in the rankings, you won?t find Troy DeVries or Danny Granger?s names listed among the leaders in NCAA or Mountain West Conference statistical categories for awhile. The NCAA and MWC require a minimum of 75 percent participation in a team?s games to be eligible for the rankings. Provided they don?t miss any future games, the duo will be eligible after New Mexico?s 24th game of the season, which is next Monday at Utah. That will be DeVries and Granger?s 18th game, thus meeting the required minimum of games played for inclusion in the stats.
Were they eligible, Granger would be leading the MWC in scoring (20.8) and rank 5th in rebounding (9.0), while DeVries would be 3rd in the league in 3-pointers per game (2.50) and 5th in 3-point percentage (43.5).
The Lobos are 1st in the MWC in team assists, averaging 14.95 per game.
DISTRIBUTORS - The Lobos are 1st in the MWC in team assist average at 14.95 a game. That number is nearly three assists better than last year's average of 12.11, which ranked last in the loop. The primary reason for more assists is that UNM is shooting much better than a year ago, 46.6% this season compared to 42.3% last year. The Lobos? assist-to-basket ratio is 329-516 or 63.8%. Last year's was 51% (339-659).
IT'S RAINING 3s - The 3-point shot is definitely part of the Lobo arsenal. Through games of Feb. 17, New Mexico is averaging 8.73 treys a game to rank 1st in the MWC and 11th nationally out of 326 schools.
More tidbits about the 3-ball proficiency:
* The Lobos set a school record for 3-point accuracy against San Francisco State, making 72.2% (13-18) of their attempts...the previous best was 70% (7-10) against Wyoming on Feb. 6, 1992...UNM made 9 of 10 treys in the second half against the Gators
* The school record for 3s in a season is 301 set in 32 games in 1997-98...at 8.8 a game, the current Lobos are on 30-game pace for 262, which would rank No. 3 for a single season
* The single-season standard for 3-pt. FGs made per game is 9.67...the 1993-94 team made 300 in 31 games...last year?s Lobos rank third at 7.9 (222 made in 28 games)
* The single-season mark for highest percentage is 43.4% (157-362) set in 1988-89...only one other team has converted better than 40%, the 1997-98 squad making 40.2% (301-748)...UNM is currently at 38.6%
* UNM has made at least one 3-pointer in 418 straight games...the last time it didn't was Jan. 3, 1991, missing on 8 attempts against Colorado State...since the 3-point shot became part of college basketball in 1986-87, the Lobos have made 10 or more 81 times...UNM's record in those games is 65-16
* The Lobos' streak of 418 games ranks as the 13th-longest streak in NCAA history...UNLV is first at more than 550 games...the Runnin' Rebels had made a 3 in every game since the shot became rule in 1986-87
* The Lobos have made 10 or more nine times this season...UNM has drained 15 or more twice at home...the 1993-94 team accomplished that feat four times
* New Mexico made eight 3s before making its first 2-point basket of the game at San Diego State
* Eleven different Lobos have canned a 3-pointer this season
* UNM attempted a season-high 35 3-point attempts against San Diego, matching the third-most tries in school history...New Mexico also attempted 35 vs. New Mexico State on Dec. 13, 1996...UNM hit 15 of its attempts vs. USD, tying for eighth on the single-game list
* The Lobos hit a season-high 16 3-pointers in the win against Penn State, equaling the fourth best effort in school history...UNM last hit 16 versus Sacramento State on Dec. 19, 1998...the school record is 18 set against Holy Cross on Dec. 29, 1997