2003-04 New Mexico Basketball Review
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/20/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 20, 2004

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The University of New Mexico finished its 101st season of men's basketball with a 14-14 overall record, the 20th time in the past 21 years that UNM has ended a .500 record or better.

Sitting at 13-8 following an 87-75 win over Wyoming on Feb. 9, New Mexico lost six of its last seven contests to miss postseason play for the second straight year, something that hasn't happened since a four-year drought between 1980-83.

The Lobos fell to UNLV 55-53 in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament, a troubling loss since UNM led for all but 41 seconds. New Mexico was eliminated in the first round of the tournament for the third straight year and is just 2-5 in MWC Tournament play since 2000. Both wins came in 2001.

After going 10-18 in 2002-03, the Lobos avoided consecutive losing seasons for what would have been only the second time in more than four decades. New Mexico was 6-20 in 1979-80 and 11-15 in 1980-81. Prior to that was eight straight sub-.500 records between 1955-62. The Lobos have only had four losing campaigns since former head coach Bob King arrived in Albuquerque prior to the 1962-63 season.

The Lobos surpassed last year's win total by four games and their conference total by one (4-10). UNM finished 14-4 in The Pit, winning five of its last six and 12 of 14. New Mexico was 10-7 at home in 2002-03.

UNM tied San Diego State for fifth place in the MWC with a 5-9 mark. The Lobos were picked to finish seventh in the preseason poll. New Mexico suffered its fourth straight losing record in conference play for the first time since 1980-83.

UNM will go into the 2004-05 season seeking to halt a 26-game losing streak in true road games, 28 straight losses including neutral sites, and 19 consecutive MWC defeats away from The Pit. The last road win 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 had a full roster the final 22 games - since Dec. 21, 2003 - when Danny Granger (Bradley) and Troy DeVries (Portland State) became eligible as mid-season transfers. UNM was 11-11 following their arrival, 11-2 in The Pit.

At 19.5 points a game, Granger led the MWC in scoring. He averaged 9.0 rebounds, good for 5th in the league. Granger became the first Lobo since Kenny Thomas in 1997-98 to record four straight double-doubles in one season. DeVries averaged 10.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists, including 12 dishes against Coppin State, the best total by a Lobo in 12 years. He shot 44.6% (54-121) from 3-point, the sixth-best single-season accuracy in Lobo history. DeVries was third in the MWC with an average of 2.45 treys a game.

Head Coach Ritchie McKay

HEAD COACH Ritchie McKay - Ritchie McKay has completed 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 107-121, 24-32 at New Mexico. McKay is 9-19 in conference games while at UNM, 9-5 at The Pit, 0-14 on the road.

GRANGER LEADS HONOR ROLL - Junior Danny Granger was named first team all-Mountain West Conference the league announced on March 8. The transfer from Bradley joined Lamont Long (2000) and Ruben Douglas (2002 and '03) as Lobos who earned a spot on the first team since the league started in 1999-2000.

Granger became just the second Lobo in the past 33 years to average more than 19 points and 9 rebounds for an entire season. Luc Longley (19.1 and 9.2) did so in 1991. Willie Long (23.9/12.9 in 1970 and 23.9/10.6 in '71) and Mel Daniels (21.2/10.3 in 1966 and 21.5/11.6 in '67) each did it twice, while Ira Harge was the first to do it in 1963 (21.1 and 13.2).

Granger led the league in scoring at 19.5 ppg and was fifth in rebounding (9.0). A Lobo has now led the MWC in scoring four times in the past five years. Long averaged 18.7 ppg in 2000. Douglas averaged 18.1 ppg in 2002 and a nation-leading 28.0 ppg a year ago.

Granger also ranked among the top-15 in six other categories for conference-only games: FG percentage, 3-point FGs made, assists, FT percentage, steals and blocks.

David Chiotti, Troy DeVries and Javin Tindall all earned honorable mention all-league recognition.

MORE HONORS - Granger was named first team all-district 13 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches while DeVries was named to the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) District VI All-Academic team. DeVries has a 3.67 GPA and is majoring in University Studies.

In team awards, Granger captured the Bob King MVP trophy. Sophomore Jeff Hart received the Inspirational Award, senior Ryan Ashcraft the Leadership Award and sophomore David Chiotti was chosen Most Improved.


The Lobos led the MWC and ranked 16th in the nation in three pointers, averaging 8.46 made per game.

UNM IN THE NCAA STATS - New Mexico averaged 8.46 3-pointers a game to lead the Mountain West Conference and rank 16th nationally.

Javin Tindall was No. 28 3-point accuracy, making 41.9% (72-172) of his attempts. Troy DeVries would have finished 13th in the nation at 44.6% (54-121), however, he need to make one more 3 to qualify for the national stats. DeVries need a minimum of 55 made. Danny Granger tied for 31st in scoring average at 19.5 a game.

UNLV RECAP / NOTES - It was a tough one to swallow. Employing a slow-down game that was quite effective against the more athletic Runnin' Rebels, the Lobos dropped a 55-53 heartbreaker in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Denver. It was heartbreaking because the Lobos trailed for only 41 seconds the entire evening. Unfortunately, a back-door lob to Romel Beck with 21 ticks left proved to be the two-point cushion that pushed UNLV into the semifinals.

UNM never got a shot off in the closing seconds as Troy DeVries turned the ball over with six seconds left. Odartey Blankson missed a free throw and New Mexico had possession with 1.7 ticks remaining, but James Peters tipped away the long inbounds pass.

Using all of the shot clock on nearly every possession, the Lobos had a 19-4 lead midway through the first half. UNLV, just 2-of-12 from the floor and guilty of five turnovers at that point, trimmed the margin to six (30-24) at the break.

UNM went back up 43-34 with 11:45 to go before the Rebels went on a 14-4 run to take a short-lived 48-47 lead. The Lobos led 51-48 following an Alfred Neale basket and two free throws by Danny Granger with 3:53 left, but UNM scored just two points the rest of the game. New Mexico's last basket came at the 5:09 mark on a dunk by Neale. The Lobos shot 39% for the game (18-46).

Danny Granger had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Lobos.

* UNM hit 3 of its first 6 3s, then went 1 of 10 the rest of the game

* The Lobos lost their seventh straight game to UNLV and fell for the sixth time in their final seven games

* UNM was eliminated in the first round of the MWC Tournament for the third straight year and the fourth time in the past five seasons

* The Lobos finished the season 1-5 in games decided by five points or less...the record was 2-10 when the margin was 10 points or fewer

TALK ABOUT A DISADVANTAGE - The addition of Troy DeVries and Danny Granger against Coppin State on Dec. 21, provided New Mexico with 10 scholarship players, the most for a Ritchie McKay-coached Lobo team and the highest number since 11 were available for Fran Fraschilla during the 2001-02 season. Freshman Sean Phelar is on scholarship, but he was a redshirt in 2003-04. The NCAA allows a maximum of 13 scholarships.

UNM took the floor against Coppin State with nine scholarship players, the first time it had more than eight available since Nov. 25, 2002 - a span of 34 games.

New Mexico started 2002-03 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. After Michael McCowan quit in February, the Lobos finished the season with just seven on scholarship.

Also, for the first time since McKay took over at UNM, the team started a power forward who is taller than 6'5". The 6'8" Granger and 6'9" David Chiotti were the Lobos' starters in the post. Jamaal Williams (6'4") was the starter at that position last year, while Alfred Neale (6'5") started there five times early in the season.

HOT AT HOME - The Lobos finished 14-4 at home - the best record in three years - and won 12 of their last 14. UNM won by an average of 11.9 points in The Pit. In 12 of the 18 home games, New Mexico never trailed.

UNM won seven straight home games between Dec. 8-Jan. 9, the longest winning streak in The Pit since taking seven in a row from Dec. 1, 2001-Jan. 5, 2002. During the skein, the Lobos won by an average of 17.8 points and did not trail.

IT'S RAINING 3s - The 3-point shot was definitely part of the Lobo arsenal. New Mexico averaged 8.46 treys a game to rank 1st in the MWC and 16th nationally out of 326 schools.

Javin Tindall finished 2nd in the MWC, averaging 2.57 made a game, while Troy DeVries was 3rd (2.45) and Alfred Neale 10th at 1.39 a game. More tidbits about the 3-ball proficiency:

Junior Troy DeVries had the sixth best 3-pt FG% in a season by a Lobo at 44.6%.

* Troy DeVries shot 44.6% (54-121) from the 3-point line, the 6th-highest single-season percentage in school history

* Javin Tindall finished his career 5th all-time at UNM in career 3-point accuracy at 41.9% (125-298)...he ranks 10th for a single season with 72 treys made

* Tindall tied a school record and set an MWC mark by making nine 3s at UNLV on Jan. 31, 2004

* 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 Lobos' average of 8.46 3s is 3rd all-time for a Lobo team...237 made ranks No. 6 on the all-time list for one season

* The 14 3-pointers at UNLV tied for the second-highest total by a Lobo team in a road game...UNM made 16 in a 79-72 victory at UTEP on Jan. 29, 1994, and it drilled 14 at Air Force on Jan. 8, 1994, an 80-54 triumph

* UNM has made at least one 3-pointer in 424 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 82 times...UNM's record in those games is 65-17

* The Lobos' streak of 424 games ranks as the 13th-longest streak in NCAA history...UNLV is first at more than 560 games...the Runnin' Rebels have made a 3 in every game since the shot became rule in 1986-87

* The Lobos made 10 or more treys 10 times...UNM 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 canned a 3-pointer in 2003-04

* 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

David Chiotti is one of four returning starters for the Lobos in 2004-05.

DEFENSIVE IMPROVEMENT - The Lobo defense made some strides compared to last year's team:

* UNM allowed 73.2 points in 2002-03, the highest average in 16 seasons, and opponents scored 70 or more points 17 times...in 2003-04, the Lobos yielded 65.7 ppg, the lowest since 63.5 in 1996-97

* New Mexico was 7-2 when holding opponents to less than 60 points

* UNM held Northwestern State to just 24.2% (15-62) shooting from the floor, the lowest by a Lobo opponent in six years when Yale shot 23.1% (12-52) in the championship game of the 1997 Lobo Invitational

SEASON TRENDS / NOTES - A Lobo has led the MWC in scoring four of the five years the league has been in existence...Lamont Long won the crown in 1999-2000 at 18.7 ppg...after a one-year absence, Ruben Douglas captured consecutive titles in 2001-02 (18.1 ppg) and 2002-03 (28.0)...Danny Granger took the 2003-04 crown at 19.5 ppg

* The Lobos have won 16 straight games when shooting better than their opponent, including a perfect 12-0 in 2003-04...the last loss was at Tennessee on Jan. 4, 2003...UNM shot 45% (18-40), the Vols 43% (22-51)...the Lobos are 51-4 in such situations since 2000-01, 148-13 since the 1995-96 season

* The Lobos' victory over the University of San Diego was the 1,200th in school history

* New Mexico had a season-low four turnovers against Utah in The Pit, the fewest since committing 4 vs. Cornell on Nov. 27, 1998

* The Lobos made their last 14 FTs in the 77-63 win over Sacramento State

* Danny Granger notched a career-high and MWC record-tying 8 steals (7 in the second half) against Penn State, a total that ties for third on the UNM single-game charts...Marlow White was the most recent Lobo to get 8 or more thefts, notching 8 vs. BYU on Feb. 4, 1995...the school record is 10 by Phil Abney in 1979...New Mexico recorded a season-high 12 steals as a team

* UNM received a season-high 40 points from nine players off the bench against Northwestern State...the previous best was 32 points (five players) versus New Mexico Highlands on Nov. 24...11 players logged double digit minutes against Northwestern State

The Lobos look forward to a healthy Mark Walters in 2004-05.

* New Mexico's +21 (44-23) board domination against New Mexico State is the largest margin since a 46-22 edge against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 24, 1999

* Danny Granger (7) and David Chiotti (3) combined for 10 double-doubles and the team had 11 (points-rebounds)...Ruben Douglas had a team-high four last year, while UNM only had seven as a team (Mark Walters 2, Jamaal Williams 1)

* 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

THE PIT - The 2003-04 season marked the 38th year of basketball in The Pit/Bob King Court, which was completed in December of 1966. UNM has an all-time mark of 536-132 (80%) in the building that resides 37 feet below street level. The Lobos have had a winning record in The Pit in 37 of their 38 years as tenants and tore off a school-record 41-game home winning streak from 1996-98. Since the beginning of the 1995-96 season, the Lobos are 137-30 (82%) at home.

SEASON NO. 101 - The 2003-04 season was the 101st 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 105th 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 1,206-960 (.557). New Mexico was 418-495 (.458) from 1900-62, but has gone 788-465 (.629) over the past 42 seasons, an average of more than 18 wins per year. The Lobos have made 26 trips to the postseason during that span, including 10 appearances in the NCAA Tournament and 16 showings in the NIT.

NEW PRACTICE DIGS - A new practice facility and coaches' office for UNM men's and women's basketball could get underway in the very near future. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will provide $2.5 million of the project expected to cost $4.2 million. The balance will be raised through private donations.

The facility will be located at the south end of The Pit and include a practice floor with six baskets, offices for men's and women's basketball, a video viewing room and an area to accommodate media needs for Lobo games and upcoming NCAA basketball tournaments. UNM hosts the 2005 NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional next March.

The current facility adjacent to arena was constructed in 1983 prior to the Final Four coming to Albuquerque. It was used as the media workroom and later, a practice facility for the UNM gymnastics teams. New Mexico no longer has gymnastics as part of its intercollegiate program.

SIGNED AND SEALED - The Lobos landed two players for the 2004-05 season. Bambale Osby (pronounced bom-BAH-lay AHZ-bee) is a 6'7", 240-pound forward from Benedictine Catholic High School in Richmond, Va., who signed last November. Tony Danridge, a 6-5 wing from Cajon HS in San Bernardino, Calif., inked with UNM in April.

Osby averaged 16.5 points, 16.8 rebounds and 3 blocks last year. Labeled the "area's most dominant post player" by the Richmond Times Dispatch, Osby was an all-metro selection and recorded 26 doubles-doubles during his senior season. Benedictine finished with a 25-6 record last season and won its second consecutive Virginia State Catholic League championship. As a junior, Osby led Benedictine to its first-ever VISBA title with a 24-5 record.

Danridge received the John Wooden Award following his senior year at Cajon (ka-hoan) High School, an honor bestowed upon the best Southern California prep player for his classification (Div. II). Danridge was a three-year starter who averaged 29.6 points, 9 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 3 steals a game his senior season.

POSTSEASON REGULARS - UNM has advanced to postseason play seven of the past nine years and 18 times in the last 21 seasons, dating to 1983-84. The Lobos participated in the NIT from 2000-02, advancing to the second round in 2000 and the quarterfinals in 2001. The Lobos have also made seven NCAA Tournament appearances since 1991, including a school-record four straight from 1996-99, moving to the second round each time.

Before a first-round exit in the NIT in 2002, UNM had been one of just eight schools in the nation to win at least one postseason game (NCAA or NIT) from 1996-2001: Connecticut, Cincinnati, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan State, Purdue, Stanford and New Mexico.

NCAA TOURNAMENT RETURNS - The University of New Mexico is in a stretch where it will host NCAA basketball competition for at least five consecutive years. The NCAA Men's First and Second Rounds were played in The Pit in 2002 followed by women's tournament action in 2003 and '04. UNM hosts the 2005 Albuquerque Regional next March 24 and 26. That's followed by the NCAA Women's West Regional in 2006. New Mexico recently submitted a bid to host men's action again in 2007 or 2008.

A LOOK AT 2004-05 - The Lobos lose just two scholarship players in starting point guard Javin Tindall and reserve guard Ryan Ashcraft. Tindall started 27 of 28 games, averaging 12.6 ppg and shooting 42% (72-172) from 3-point. He led the team in 3-point FGs made (72), FT% (83%), assists (98) and minutes played (921). Ashcraft missed the last 10 games of 2003-04 due to injury.

The versatile Alfred Neale returns for his senior season in a Lobo uniform in 2004-05.

Ten lettermen, including four starters, will return for head coach Ritchie McKay's third season. The Lobos will return seven of their top eight scorers and their top five rebounders. Forward Sean Phaler will be eligible after sitting out as a redshirt. A couple of walk-ons could also join the team before school starts in the fall.

The 2004-05 Lobos by class:

Seniors (3): Troy DeVries, Danny Granger, Alfred Neale.

Juniors (3): David Chiotti, Jeff Hart, Mark Walters.

Sophomores (4): Justin Benson, Lenny Miles, Ryan Wall, Kellen Walter.

Redshirt Freshman (1): Sean Phaler.

True Freshmen (2): Tony Danridge, Bambale Osby.

2004-05 SCHEDULE NOTES - The Lobos begin the season by hosting the National Association of Basketball Coaches Classic on Nov. 12-14. UNM will be joined by Alabama State, Duquesne and Santa Clara in the exempt tournament as each team will play three games in as many days.

The home schedule is also highlighted by visits from Wake Forest and Tennessee. The Deamon Deacons have already been touted as the preseason No. 1 by Sports Illustrated. The home-and-home series against New Mexico State will be played in early December while the Comcast Lobo Invitational is set for Dec. 28-29.

A stiff non-conference road challenge awaits the Lobos as they meet Oregon in Eugene. The 2005 Mountain West Conference Tournament is March 10-12 at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The rest of the schedule will be announced in the summer.