Lobos Travel to UNLV
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/31/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 31, 2008

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  • Watch The Mtn. Feature on Coach Alford and Coach Neal
  • Redeem Unused Tickets for Colorado State Game
  • Cherry Crush T-Shirts Available at The UNM Bookstore Saturday

    From the frying pan to the fryer. After facing preseason conference favorite BYU in its last game, New Mexico (16-5, 3-3 MWC) now meets MWC co-leader UNLV (16-4, 5-1 MWC) Saturday in Las Vegas. Tipoff is 8:05 p.m. Mountain Time from the Thomas and Mack Center.

    The game can be seen live on The Mtn. with Rich Cellini and Barry Hecker, plus live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com.

    The Lobos' last outing was a tough one as they ran into a hot-shooting BYU team. The Cougars drained 13 of 16 shots from 3-point en route to an 83-66 victory in Provo. BYU had a staggering 25 assists on 27 made baskets while holding UNM to a season-low 34.4% (22-64) shooting from the floor.

    New Mexico enters Saturday's game at UNLV tied with Air Force and TCU for 4th place in the conference standings.

    UNLV is 16-4 overall and tied with BYU atop the MWC standings. The Runnin' Rebels dispatched TCU 70-58 Wednesday in Fort Worth. Wink Adams scored 25 points, including 15 off 3-pointers, to lead UNLV. Adams shot 8-of-17 from the field, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range. He also had five assists. Joe Darger added 12 points for the Runnin' Rebels, who won their fourth straight


  • It only took New Mexico 20 games to surpass last year's victory total (15-17)...UNM needs one MWC win to equal last year's total (4-10)
  • UNLV has won 9 of the past 10 meetings against New Mexico in Las Vegas...the Lobos' lone win there since 1998 was 77-66 in 2005...last year in Las Vegas, the Runnin' Rebels won 76-72 in overtime
  • Steve Alford and Lon Kruger have gone head-to-head on two occasions...it was the 1999-2000 season when both were coaching in the Big 10: Alford's first year at Iowa and Kruger's final season at Illinois...Kruger and the Illini got the upper hand both times, winning 69-58 in Iowa City and 78-50 in Champaign
  • Three of New Mexico's last 7 games have been decided in OT and UNM has won all three...the Lobos have won 3 straight overtime games for the first time since 1991-92...UNM played 4 OT games last year
  • After going 3-19 in true road games the past two seasons and just 8-43 in five years from 2003-07, UNM is 4-4 this year...the Lobos won three in a row (at Hawai'i, UTEP, Wyoming) for the first time since 2000-01 (at New Mexico State, Gonzaga and San Diego State)
  • Through games of Sunday, Jan. 27, New Mexico was 4th in the nation in 3-point accuracy at 42.1%...meanwhile, UNLV is 1st in the MWC in 3-point FG defense, allowing opponents to make just 28.1% of its attempts
  • The Lobos lead the MWC in 3-point FGs (8.38 pg) and 3-point percentage (42.1%)...UNM's 3-point shooting of 42.1% would be the 2nd-best in school history were it to hold up for the entire season
  • UNLV leads the MWC in 3-point defense (28.1%), FT shooting (75.8%), turnover margin (+4.95) and assist-turnover ratio (1.39)...the Runnin' Rebels are also 2nd in the league in scoring defense (61.3 ppg) and FG defense (39.9%)
  • UNLV averages just 11.2 turnovers a games and has committed 99 fewer turnovers than its opponents...the Runnin' Rebels also have 94 more steals (167-93) than their opposition
  • The Runnin' Rebels have not been good shooters, however, ranking last in the MWC in FG accuracy (41.6%) and 8th in 3-point shooting (33.1%)
  • The quintet of Daniel Faris, Dairese Gary, J.R. Giddens, Roman Martinez and Chad Toppert has started the past 12 games...the Lobos are 9-3 in those games
  • UNM has shot 73.9% (34-46) from the FT line the past 2 games after making just 51.7% (29-56) the previous 3 games
  • The Lobos are shooting just 42.6% from the field in the MWC, including 38.9% (69-177) the past 3 games
  • New Mexico has committed only 22 turnovers the past 3 games, including a season-low 6 last Saturday at BYU...the last time UNM went 4 straight games with less than 10 turnovers was during the 2002-03 season against Utah, Air Force, Wyoming and Colorado State
  • At UTEP on Jan. 2, Giddens fell 1 rebound short from becoming the first Lobo in 31 seasons to notch 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game...Jimmy Allen had 21 points and 20 boards in a 112-103 loss at New Mexico State on Dec. 1, 1976...Giddens scored 20 points and set career-highs with 19 rebounds and 7 assists in the overtime victory over the Miners...the 19 rebounds are the most in the MWC this season
  • New Mexico is 12-1 at home this year, winning by an average margin of 19.1 points...the lone blemish was a 72-67 loss to San Diego State, a game the Lobos led 24-10 in the first half and 33-25 at halftime

    HEAD COACH Steve Alford
    Steve Alford was named UNM's 19th head coach on March 23, 2007, after spending eight seasons at the University of Iowa.

    Alford is 324-188 (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 UNLV for the first time in his 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.

    In somewhat of a rarity, Alford has never been anything but a head coach at the collegiate level. His first position came at Manchester at the age of 27.

    It's game No. 122 in a series that started Jan. 29, 1950. BYU has a 71-50 lead and has won 4 straight, 14 of the past 18 overall and 7 in a row in Provo. The Cougars lead 11-5 in MWC games.

    Wink Adams scored a game-high 27 points, including four free throws in the final seconds of overtime, to lift UNLV over New Mexico 76-72.

    With it 72-72 in the closing seconds of overtime, Adams was fouled while driving the lane with 3.1 seconds left. After he made both free throws, New Mexico turned it over on the inbound pass.

    Adams grabbed it and was fouled with 1.2 seconds left. He sealed the win with two more free throws.

    Adams was 10-of-12 from the free-throw line and 5-of-13 from 3-point range.

    Chad Toppert led New Mexico with 17 points. Darren Prentice added 16 points, while Jamaal Smith had 15 points.

    In overtime, UNLV scored the first four points, but the Lobos later cut it to 72-71 on a Tony Danridge field goal with 48 seconds left. After a Rebel turnover, New Mexico's Ryan Kersten was fouled with 12 seconds left. He made one of two free throws, setting up Adams dramatics.

    Except for two brief one-point Rebels leads, the Lobos led for most of the second half.

  • New Mexico lost for the first time in 9 games this season when out-rebounding an opponent...UNM had a 35-32 edge over the Rebels
  • UNM entered the game with a 12-2 record when scoring 70 or more points this season
  • The Lobos used their 12th different starting lineup of the season
  • Chad Toppert led New Mexico with 17 points, making 5 of 11 FGs from 3-point
  • Darren Prentice scored 16 points and tied a career-high with 4 rebounds
  • Jamaal Smith had 15 points, his best production in an MWC game in 2006-07

    Kevin Kruger scored a career-high 29 points and his late block of a shot by New Mexico's best 3-point shooter sealed UNLV's 85-83 win. New Mexico used a furious second half rally to nearly pull out a win.

    Kruger hit seven 3-pointers and had 9 assists, but his biggest play was his block of Chad Toppert's 3-point shot with four seconds left. Toppert got a chance for a game-winner after teammate Darren Prentice missed the second of two free throws with 6.4 seconds remaining for the game's final point.

    Kruger's block sent the ball out of bounds and New Mexico got one more shot with 0.5 seconds remaining. J.R. Giddens, who led the Lobos with a career-high 28 points and scored 11 of the Lobos' last 12 points, put up an off-balance 3-pointer that was short.

    UNLV used a 17-0 run to open up a 58-42 lead with 13:11 left. Kruger hit a pair of 3-pointers and added two free throws off a technical call on Ritchie McKay in the midst of the run. McKay was hit with the technical after slamming his clipboard to the court while arguing with an official during a timeout.

    But New Mexico wasn't finished. The Lobos answered with an 11-2 run. A short jumper in the lane by Tony Danridge cut the UNLV lead to 60-53 with 10:15 left. Moments later the Lobos put together another 11-2 run to get within 68-66. Prentice finished the run with five straight points on a 3-pointer and then a layup after he stole a pass.

    The teams traded leads, Giddens carrying the Lobos' offense with a variety of drives to the basket and outside jumpers and Kruger hit a pair of clutch shots. Joel Anthony gave the Rebels the lead for good (80-78) with a dunk with 1:27 left and 20 seconds later Kruger followed with his final 3-pointer.

    Giddens countered with a 3-pointer to make it 83-81 and had a chance to tie it with 23.7 seconds left but missed the first of two free throws. UNLV guard Wink Adams then hit two free throws with 20.4 seconds left.

    New Mexico led 29-16 in the first half after scoring nine straight points but the Rebels closed out the first half with a 12-2 run to tie it at 37-37 at halftime.

  • UNM had a season-low 6 turnovers
  • J.R. Giddens came off the bench to score a career-high 28 points, including 20 in the second half and 11 of the Lobos' final 12 points of the game...Giddens' 28 points ties for the 2nd-most by a Lobo reserve...Larry Belin came off the bench for 29 at Utah on Jan. 11, 1979 while Willie Banks had 28 against George Washington on Dec. 27, 1988
  • Aaron Johnson had 15 points and 11 rebounds for his 4th double-double of the season and 23rd of his career
  • Darren Prentice scored 14 points, 12 coming in the second half

    New Mexico and San Diego State were picked to finish in a tie fourth in the 2007-08 Mountain West Conference race during the league's preseason media gathering in Denver on October 17. Voters were a combination of head coaches and media. BYU was the favorite to win the league.

    New Mexico has a 55-67 record in the Mountain West Conference, 41-20 in The Pit and 14-47 on the road. UNM is 8-39 in league road games since 2001.

    Picked to finish fifth in last year's MWC preseason poll, New Mexico finished 4-12, tying TCU for eighth - or last - place. UNM lost 12 conference games for the first time since 1959 when it finished 1-13 in the Skyline Conference. UNM endured its fifth MWC losing record in the past seven seasons. The Lobos' only winning mark in league play since 2000 was 10-4 in 2005. UNM was 8-8 in 2005-06. New Mexico never had a losing league record from 1984-2000, a span of 17 seasons.

    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 1,280-1,002 (.560). New Mexico was 420-498 (.457) from 1900-62, but has gone 860-504 (.631) 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.

    Lee Cummard scored 20 points and Jonathan Tavernari added 19 to lead Brigham Young past New Mexico 83-66. BYU wasted no time securing its 42nd consecutive home win in front of a season high 19,932 fans. The Cougars trailed at 2-0, but after Sam Burgess connected on a 3-pointer to give BYU a 5-2 lead they never trailed again.

    Burgess gave BYU a hot start by scoring all nine of his first half points in the first five minutes of the game. Then it was Tavernari's turn. He followed with 16 first-half points as the Cougars took a commanding 44-24 lead at the break.

    BYU shot 51 percent overall for the game and was 13-of-16 from behind the 3-point line, including 5-of-6 from long range by Tavernari and 3-of-3 from Burgess. New Mexico shot 27 percent in the first half including 1-of-5 from beyond the 3-point line and 34 percent for the game.

    Dairese Gary led the Lobos with 17 points along with Daniel Faris and Darren Prentice with 12 and 10 points respectively.

  • UNM suffered its worst loss of the season and has lost 5 straight games to BYU for the first time since Jan. 3, 1980 - Jan. 4, 1982, also a 5-game skid
  • New Mexico has lost 8 in a row to the Cougars in Provo...UNM's last win at the Marriott Center was 78-74 on Feb. 17, 2000
  • BYU connected on its first 5 shots from 3-point in each half and finished the game making 13 of 16 (81.3%)...Wyoming also made 13 against UNM this year, but that was in double overtime
  • New Mexico committed a season-low 6 turnovers, but shot a season-worst 34.4% (22-63) from the field...UNM started the game just 4 of 18...BYU came into the game leading the MWC in FG pct. defense at 38.8%

    Freshman Dairese Gary

  • led UNM in scoring for the 2nd time this year with 17 points, plus 5 rebounds and 3 steals
  • has 7 steals in the past 2 games and 17 in the past 8 games

    Junior Daniel Faris

  • 12 points and 8 rebounds
  • 27 points and 15 rebounds in his last 2 games against Utah and BYU

    Junior Chad Toppert

  • 6 points on 2 of 4 shots from 3-point
  • has made a 3-pointer in 14 straight games
  • career accuracy from 3-point is 45.29% (154-340), 1st all-time at UNM...Troy DeVries is 2nd at 44.95%
  • has 154 3-pointers in his career, 8th place all-time at UNM

    Senior J.R. Giddens

  • tied a season-low for the 3rd time this season with just 4 points on 2 of 8 shooting; he also had 4 in the win at Colorado and in a loss at New Mexico State
  • came into the BYU game with averages of 17 points and 10.5 rebounds in the previous 8 games
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