Dec. 16, 2003
After the longest in-season layoff in three years, the New Mexico Lobos return to the court in the middle of a six-game home stand, playing host to Coppin State on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. and New Mexico State Monday at 7:05 p.m. Both games will be televised by KRQE-TV on a same-day delayed basis at 10:35 p.m. It's the final two games before the Christmas holiday. UNM entertains Arkansas State, Northwestern State and Penn State Dec. 28-29, in the 39th Comcast Lobo Invitational.
UNM is 3-3 after a 77-63 victory over Sacramento State on Dec. 8, which halted a three-game losing streak overall and a two-game slide at The Pit. The 13-day break is the Lobos' longest since the 2000-01 season when they were off 14 days between Dec. 7-21.
Located in Baltimore, Md., Coppin State is 3-7 overall and 1-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference following a 68-66 overtime win over Morgan State on Dec. 10, snapping a four-game losing skid. The Eagles have already played at Xavier (Ohio), Cincinnati and Missouri. They only lost to No. 4 Mizzou 70-61.
This is the second meeting between the two schools. UNM took a narrow 67-61 decision in The Pit on Dec. 31, 1998.
PREGAME CEREMONY SLATED FOR COPPIN STATE - A ceremony to honor the late Billy Feeney will occur before Sunday's game against Coppin State. Feeney, a 6-9 sophomore transfer from Portland State, was expected to play a large role for the Lobos this season. He committed suicide on Aug. 28.
Billy's parents, Jim and Liz, older brother Jimmy and younger sister, Kayla, are expected to attend and receive a framed Lobo jersey from the UNM team. The Lobos are wearing a patch with BF#3 on their jerseys during the 2003-04 season.
TALK ABOUT A DISADVANTAGE - When the Coppin State game tips on Sunday, UNM will have more than eight scholarship players available for only the third game since Ritchie McKay took over the program last year. DeVries and Granger give the Lobos 10 players on scholarship. Freshman Sean Phelar is the 11th, but he is expected to redshirt this season. The NCAA allows a maximum of 13.
New Mexico started the 2002-03 campaign with nine players on scholarship. However, in the second game of the season, senior guard Senque Carey suffered a career-ending injury, leaving UNM with just eight players on aid for the remainder of the year. That's all the Lobos have had available in the first six games of this season as well.
Also, for the first time since McKay took over, UNM will start a power forward who is taller than 6'5". The 6'8" Granger and 6'9" David Chiotti are expected to be the Lobos' starters in the post. Jamaal Williams (6'4") was the starter at that position last year, while Alfred Neale (6'5") has started there five times this season.
BONUS PACK STILL AVAILABLE; GET A FREE TICKET TO NMSU - Lobo fans can get a free ticket to the New Mexico State game on Dec. 22 when they purchase a six-game Bonus Pack for just $72. The Bonus Pack includes six games: Coppin State Dec. 21, Northwestern State Dec. 28, U. of San Diego Jan. 6, Cornell Jan. 9, Air Force Jan. 17 and BYU Jan. 26. Fans must come to the ticket office at The Pit to purchase the Bonus Pack. Call (505) 925-5626 for more information.
SACRAMENTO STATE RECAP/NOTES - David Chiotti scored a career-high 24 points to lead New Mexico to a 77-63 victory over Sacramento State. Chiotti fashioned a double-double by also grabbing 10 rebounds. He had four 3-point plays. Javin Tindall added 22 points, including a 10-for-11 effort at the foul line. New Mexico hit 30 of 39 free throws, making its last 14 of the evening.
The Hornets hit just 1 of their first 15 shots and trailed 15-4 with 9:56 left in the first half. Sacramento State made only one field goal in the first 10 minutes, then hit 9 of its next 17 shots in the first half.
New Mexico led 37-26 at halftime, but Sacramento State scored seven straight points to cut the Lobo lead to 45-44 with 12 minutes left. A 3-pointer by Joel Jones tied it at 47.
Tindall put UNM in front for good with a 3-point-play and a 3-pointer from the top of the key, but the Hornets had it back to within three (60-57) after another 3-pointer by Jones and a free throw by Joseth Dawson with 3:18 left. Chiotti got his final 3-point play of the game with a layup and free throw and Tindall added six free throws and a layup in the last two minutes.
* New Mexico evened its record at 3-3, snapping a 3-game losing streak...the Lobos avoided their first 3-game slide in The Pit since the 1991-92 season...UNM improved to 2-0 vs. Sacramento State, while head coach Ritchie McKay earned his fifth win in six games against the Hornets
* New Mexico set season-highs for free throws made and attempted, hitting 30-39 (76.9%) from the line...UNM started 16-25 (64%) before hitting 14 straight to close the game...Chiotti (12-16) and Tindall (10-11) both had career-best performances at the free throw stripe, combining to hit 22-27 (81.4%)
* Chiotti scored a career-high 24 points and matched a career-best with 10 rebounds to notch his second double-double of the year...he converted all four of his 3-point play opportunities, including three in the second half...the sophomore had 16 points (3-3 FGs, 10-12 FTs) and 5 rebounds in the second half
* Tindall tied career-highs with 4 rebounds and 3 steals...he also notched 22 points, 4 assists and had just one turnover...the senior rebounded from a rough outing at NMSU to log 49 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists and just 1 turnover in 64 combined minutes in back-to-back games vs. Texas Tech and Sacramento State
* Three of Alfred Neale's five field goals were dunks...Neale pulled down 9 rebounds as well, his second-highest output of the season
* Six Lobo bench players combined to score 10 points in 37 minutes, including 6 points in the first half...UNM had received one point from its bench in the previous three games combined...reserve guards Collins Ferris and Ryan Ashcraft had 4 points apiece
* New Mexico won for the first time (1-3) when losing the battle of the boards (39-38)...Sacramento State outrebounded New Mexico 22-17 in the second half, including 9-2 on the offensive glass
* UNM limited Sac State to just 33.3% shooting, the second-lowest FG percentage by an opponent this season...the Lobos are now 3-0 when outshooting their opponents this season
* The Lobos have made a 3-pointer in 402 straight games...the last time UNM failed to make a trey was Jan. 3, 1991, when it went 0 of 8 against Colorado State
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 96-110, 13-21 at New Mexico. McKay is 9-10 in non-conference games while at UNM, 9-6 at The Pit, 0-4 on the road.
LOOKING AHEAD TO NEW MEXICO STATE - It's the 192nd meeting in a series that dates to Dec. 22, 1904, meaning Monday's game will be the 99th anniversary of the inaugural battle. The Aggies go after their third sweep in the past five years after handling UNM 67-48 in Las Cruces on Dec. 3.
The Lobos have a 100-91 overall lead, but NMSU has captured three straight - and seven of 10 - for the first time since taking three in a row during the 1999 calendar year: Jan. 19, Dec. 8 and Dec. 23. The last time UNM dropped four straight was a pair of losses in December of 1993 and December of '94.
New Mexico leads 61-36 in Albuquerque, including 25-13 in The Pit, although New Mexico State has won three of the last four on UNM's home floor.
Current NMSU assistant J.J. DeTemple is a 1994 UNM graduate. He served as student manager and director of basketball operations on Dave Bliss' staff from 1992-98.
Dec. 3 in Las Cruces: UNM's early-season proficiency from the 3-point line disappeared in the 67-48 loss at New Mexico State. Coming into the game, the Lobos were 2nd in the nation in 3-pointers made at 11.7 a game and 3rd in 3-point accuracy at 48% (35-73). Against the Aggies, UNM connected on just 5 of 26 shots (19%) from 3-land, missing 12 straight during one stretch. The Lobos never led and set a season-low for overall FG% at 32.8% (19-58). That's the poorest shooting since last year's home loss to Southern Utah when UNM made 31.6% (18-57).
* The loss was UNM's 18th straight on the road, the longest skid since a 29-game drought between the 1956-57 and 1959-60 seasons. The last road win was Jan. 28, 2001, a 70-64 decision at Colorado State.
* The 19-point loss is UNM's widest margin against New Mexico State since a 76-55 decision in Las Cruces on Jan. 19, 1999.
* The 48 points scored is the Lobos' lowest total since a 47-44 loss at Air Force on Feb. 9, 2002. It's the fewest points against the Aggies since Dec. 30, 1985, when NMSU won 53-44 in Las Cruces.
* Javin Tindall, the Lobos' 2nd-leading scorer at 19.3 ppg entering the game, was held to just 5 points. Tindall was 2 of 13 from the floor, including 1 of 8 from 3-point.
Last Year in Albuquerque: New Mexico State earned a 72-60 victory to get the season sweep. New Mexico forced 23 Aggie turnovers, but UNM could not get a much-needed basket down the stretch, after pulling to within 64-58 with 1:40 to play.
Ruben Douglas hit the opening basket and Jamaal Williams added a FT for a 3-0 lead, but it would be the Lobos' only lead of the game as the Aggies went on an 11-0 tear to take control.
New Mexico State upped its margin to 44-31 in the second half, but 3s by Javin Tindall, Jeff Hart and Ryan Ashcraft spearheaded a 16-7 Lobo run that brought them to within four at 51-47. Eight straight points by the Aggies quickly nullified the effort. NMSU held a 45-30 advantage on the boards.
SEASON NOTES - In its first two games, UNM averaged 90.5 points and shot 57.3% (59-103) from the floor, including 55% (25-45) from 3-point...the numbers the past four games are 63.5 points a game and overall shooting of 40% (85-212), 29.5% (28-95) from 3-point
* New Mexico is 18-67 (26.9%) from 3-point the past 3 games
* In the second half of the past four games, UNM is averaging just 32 ppg and shooting 33.9% (38-112) from the floor, 23.7% (14-59) from beyond the arc
* Opponents are shooting just 31.3% from 3-point against UNM this season...last year, the Lobos allowed foes to shoot 35.5% from beyond the arc
* David Chiotti has two double-doubles in UNM's first six games...Ruben Douglas had a team-high four last year, while UNM had seven as a team (Mark Walters 2, Jamaal Williams 1)...Chiotti is the only Lobo to score in double figures in all six games...he has scored 112 points compared to 110 in 28 games last year
* The Lobos have 91 assists and 91 turnovers
* Led by Alfred Neale's 13 blocks, UNM has 29 as a team, or 4.83 a game...the Lobos rejected 75 last year, or 2.67 a game...Chad Bell led New Mexico a year ago with 24 blocks
* New Mexico has been outrebounded in its last four games and is 1-3 in those contests
* Through games of Dec. 16, the Lobos are 19th in the nation in 3-point FGs made per game at 8.8
* Javin Tindall scored 18 of his career-high 27 points in the first half in UNM's 86-59 win over New Mexico Highlands
* 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 53-point margin of victory (95-42) against San Francisco State ties for the seventh largest in school history and ties for the fifth-widest in The Pit...it's the most points in a season opener since a 98-76 triumph over Southern Cal in 1997...it's also the fewest points allowed by UNM since a 74-32 victory over BYU on Feb. 3, 1997
* UNM has made a 3-pointer in 402 straight games, the 11th-longest streak in NCAA Div. I history...the last time the Lobos failed to connect was Jan. 3, 1991 at Colorado State when they missed on eight attempts...UNLV, which has never failed to make a 3 since the shot became rule in 1986-87, is the all-time leader at more than 540 in a row
* Alfred Neale recorded the first double-double of his Lobo career, finishing with a season-best 22 points and 13 rebounds against Portland...he also tied a season-high with four 3-pointers