Nov. 26, 2003
The New Mexico Lobos look to continue their best start in five years when they play host to the University of Portland Pilots Monday. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m. from The Pit/Bob King Court in Albuquerque.
UNM has opened its 101st season with a pair of lopsided wins, 95-42 over San Francisco State and 86-59 against New Mexico Highlands. New Mexico is 2-0 for the first time since an 8-0 beginning in 1998-99.
Monday's game kicks off a string of four games in eight days for the Lobos before they take a 13-day break for semester exams. After Portland, UNM travels to New Mexico State on Wednesday, then returns home for games against 25th-ranked Texas Tech (Saturday, Dec. 6) and Sacramento State (Monday, Dec. 8). UNM plays nine of its first 10 games at home and does not leave the state until a Jan. 3 trip to Wake Forest.
Portland is 1-1 with a home loss to Boise State (76-66), but a 97-89 double overtime win at Oregon State on Tuesday. The Pilots host Cal State Long Beach Saturday before traveling to Albuquerque.
TICKETS - Single-game tickets are available online at golobos.com, or by calling 925-5858 or (800) 905-3315. Ticket outlets include the athletics ticket office at The Pit, the ticket office at the UNM Bookstore on main campus, and Raley's and Western Wearhouse locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Rio Rancho. Ticket office hours at The Pit are 8:30-5 Monday through Friday. Call (505) 925-5626 for more information.
UNM VS. PORTLAND - This is the first meeting between the two schools. However, UNM's Ritchie McKay is 1-1 against Portland. His 1996-97 Portland State team fell to the Pilots 67-52. In 2001-02, McKay's Oregon State team defeated Portland 74-60 in Corvallis.
MORE ON THE PILOTS - Portland returns all five starters from last year's team. Four starters scored in double figures in the double-OT win at Oregon State. Sophomore G Eugene Jeter had 25 points, making 5 of 7 3-pointers. Jeter is averaging 23 ppg after two games. Senior G Donald Wilson, the teams' leading returning scorer, added 23 against the Beavers. He also had eight assists. Portland was 12 of 24 from 3-point against Oregon State. Portland had not beaten OSU in Corvallis since the 1960-61 season, and it was the first win over the Beavers since 1995.
Former UCLA standout Michael Holton is in his third year as head coach of the Pilots. Holton spent five years at UCLA as an assistant coach, as the Bruins earned five consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, including a 1997 NCAA Elite Eight appearance, along with 2001, 2000 and 1998 NCAA Sweet 16 berths. UCLA recorded five consecutive 20-win seasons and a 114-56 record, averaging nearly 23 victories a year.
HIGHLANDS RECAP - Senior Javin Tindall (Wichita, Kan.) scored 18 of his career-high 27 points in the first half and New Mexico pulled away in the second half for an 86-59 win over New Mexico Highlands.
Tindall hit four 3-pointers and sophomore David Chiotti (San Jose, Calif.) had his first career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds in the victory. The Cowboys stayed close in the first half and trailed 34-29 with 2:21 left in the opening period before New Mexico stretched the lead to 41-31 at halftime.
Highlands got within 43-37 less than two minutes into the second half, but New Mexico then went on an 11-2 run to get a cushion. Junior Alfred Neale (Summit, Okla.) hit a pair of 3-pointers, Chiotti made two free throws and Tindall canned another 3 as the Lobos' lead increased to 54-39. Neale finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, 3 steals and no turnovers.
UNM hit 64% (14-22) of its shots in the second half to finish the game at 52%. The Lobos were 12 of 27 from 3-point, 7 of 11 after halftime. The Cowboys were held to just 21% (7-34) accuracy in the second half and 29% (19-66) for the game.
McKay had previous stops at Portland State (1996-98), Colorado State (1998-2000) and Oregon State (2000-02). He has a career record of 95-107, 12-18 at New Mexico. McKay is 8-7 in non-conference games while at UNM, 8-4 at The Pit. While at Mountain West Conference member Colorado State, McKay led the Colorado State Rams to the NIT in 1999.
IT'S EARLY, BUT... - The first two wins have come against Div. II opponents, but the Lobos have put up some pretty impressive numbers:
* UNM has averaged 90.5 points and has won the first two games by an average margin of 40 ppg...New Mexico surpassed 80 points seven times in 28 games a year ago
* The Lobos are shooting 57% from the floor, including a salty 56% (25-45) from 3-point...that's an average of 12.5 treys a game...Javin Tindall is 14 of 21 from the floor, including 8 of 13 from beyond the arc...David Chiotti has missed just two shots in 16 attempts from the field
* Opponents are shooting just 32% from the field and just 20% (5-25) from 3-point
* David Chiotti scored a career-high 22 points in the win against San Francisco State
* 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 SF State
* 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 398 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 541 straight