Dec. 26, 2007
Christmas in Hawai'i has a nice ring to it and that's where the New Mexico Lobos find themselves Dec. 27 for a single game against the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors.
UNM and UH hook up at 10 p.m. MST (7 p.m. in Honolulu) from the Stan Sheriff Center on the University of Hawai'i campus. The Mtn.will carry the game live. Live audio is also available via All Access at golobos.com.
New Mexico defeated the Rainbow Warriors 89-60 in The Pit on Nov. 21. UNM is playing in Honolulu for the first time since Feb. 6, 1999 when Hawai'i took a 72-68 overtime decision.
The Lobos (11-2) are riding a 4-game win streak - all at home - following a stifling 62-32 win over Weber State on Sunday. UNM stayed perfect at home (10-0) and is now 11-2 for only the second time in the past seven seasons. The 2004-05 squad led by Danny Granger started 14-2.
The Lobos have won 31 consecutive non-conference home games. New Mexico has not lost a non-conference game in The Pit in more than three years, since an 81-64 setback to 5th-ranked Wake Forest on Dec. 22, 2004.
New Mexico is 1-2 away from The Pit this season, winning 54-47 in the season opener at Colorado, then losing at Ole Miss (85-77) and New Mexico State (71-62).
Hawai'i (3-7) has lost three in a row - all at home - to Louisiana Lafayette, St. John's and Georgia. The Rainbow Warriors are 3-5 at home this season.
The Hawai'i game is the first of three straight road games for UNM. The Lobos open the New Year and close out the non-conference portion of the schedule Jan. 2 at UTEP followed by the Mountain West Conference opener Jan. 5 at Wyoming.
The Lobos are away from The Pit for nearly three weeks. The next home game is Saturday, Jan. 12 against San Diego State. That is Pack The Pit night with all tickets available for just $10.
BUS TRIP TO UTEP
Bring in the New Year in with a blast and travel with the Lobo Club to cheer on the men's basketball team at UTEP.
Bus transportation leaves from the UNM athletics department at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 2 and returns immediately after the game. The cost is $55 per person, which includes a game ticket. There will be a stop for dinner on your own in El Paso.
Space is limited so call 925-5014 or go on-line to www.unmloboclub.org and click on events to reserve your spot today.
Alford is 319-185 (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.
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.
UNM VS. HAWAI'I
Long-time rivals in the Western Athletic Conference, New Mexico and Hawai'i hook up for the 57th time since the first meeting on Feb. 5, 1965.
UNM has a 39-17 lead overall, including 23-2 in Albuquerque and 21-2 in The Pit. The Lobos also lead 15-13 in games played in Honolulu, although Hawai'i has a 4-1 advantage in the Stan Sheriff Center. New Mexico's only win on that floor was 88-79 on Feb. 24, 1996.
UNM and UH were both members of the WAC from 1980-99 and the Lobos held a 25-13 lead in the series over that span.
NOV. 21 IN ALBUQUERQUE
Chad Toppert scored 20 points and Daniel Faris had 12 of his 16 in New Mexico's blistering second half as the Lobos beat Hawaii 89-60. Five players scored in double figures, including J.R. Giddens with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Freshman Dairese Gary scored 15 points in his first college start and Jamaal Smith had 12.
The Lobos made their last 9 field goals and outscored Hawaii 51-29 in the second half. Bobby Nash scored 16 for the Warriors while Jared Dillinger had 15, Riley Luettgerodt scored 14 and Bill Amis had 10.
New Mexico led 38-31 at halftime, and everything seemed to go right for the Lobos whenever they ran the floor after that. Gary scored the first five points of the second half, hitting a 3-pointer and completing a conventional three-point play, as the Lobos opened with a 10-2 run that pushed their lead to 48-31.
It was 52-35 after Giddens made a jumper and scored a layin after a steal less than 5 minutes into the second half. Later, Faris had a fastbreak jumper for a 67-51 lead, forcing a Hawaii timeout with 7:42 remaining.
Dillinger dropped a floater for Hawaii, trimming the deficit to 69-53, but the Lobos answered with a 9-0 burst. Then Toppert made a jumper and scored on a break to give New Mexico an 82-55 lead with 3:30 to play. During that stretch, New Mexico hit nine straight baskets without a miss.
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 1,275-999 (.560). New Mexico was 420-498 (.457) from 1900-62, but has gone 855-501 (.630) 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.
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.
WEBER STATE RECAP AND POSTGAME NOTES
The University of New Mexico got eight points from J.R. Giddens in a game-opening 15-0 run in a 62-32 rout over Weber State on Sunday. The Wildcats point total tied a University Arena record for the fewest points scored, as New Mexico won its fourth straight game.
Giddens finished with a game-high 18 points, and Daniel Faris added 10, while Weber State did not have a player reach double figures. Weber's Arturas Valeika and Juan Pablo Silveira each scored eight points. Giddens also added a game-high nine rebounds.
New Mexico hit six of its first seven shots, while the Wildcats missed their first six attempts before finally scoring on a 3-pointer from Silveira 6:14 into the game.
The Lobos led 34-12 at halftime and consistently extended the advantage throughout the second half, with the final margin being the largest lead of the game.
The Wildcats were never able to get a running game going, not scoring a point off a turnover until the final moments. New Mexico didn't offer many chances in that area, finishing with just nine.
Senior J.R. Giddens
Senior Darren Prentice
Senior Jamaal Smith
Junior Chad Toppert
HOLDING DOWN THE BIG GUNS
In consecutive games against San Diego and Texas Tech, New Mexico really put the clamps on the opponents' top scorers:
IT'S A REAL T.E.A.M.
Some pretty interesting facts about the 10-man Lobos team through the first 13 games of the season:
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 43.3% (419 of 968) of the points and pulled down 43.5% (184 of 423) of the individual rebounds this season. That's averages of 32.2 points and 14.15 rebounds a game.
FREE THROWS IMPROVING
The Lobos opened the season by shooting a chilly 60.4% from the free-throw line in the first 6 games. The past 7 contests, the accuracy is 73.2% (104-142), raising the season percentage to 67.6%.
3-POINT RECORD FALLS
The Lobos' 81.8% (9-11) accuracy from 3-point against Texas Tech is a school record and it tied the Mountain West Conference record (San Diego State - Dec. 15, 2006). The previous UNM record was 72.2% (13-18) vs. San Francisco State in 2003.
Toppert leads the league and is 10th nationally in 3-point shooting this season at 50% (36-72). He's made 18 of 32 (56%) the past 6 games after an 0 for 6 performance against Southern Utah.
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 8.85 and in accuracy at 44.1%.
3s AND COUNTING
UNM has made a 3-pointer in 561 straight games, the 12th-longest active streak in NCAA Div. I. 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.
The 28 assists in the 92-57 win over Eastern Washington is UNM's highest total in 10 years, since it had 32 in a 112-61 victory over Holy Cross on Dec. 29, 1997. The Lobos are averaging 17.2 assists a game compared to 15.1 in 2006-07.