Stevens: Lobos Run To 98-61 Romp, But Don't Forget To Play Defense
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/03/2012
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 3, 2012\

Thursday-Only $10 Sale: Lobo fans have a 24-hour window to purchase ticket for $10 for UNM's 1:30 p.m., tip Saturday vs. North Dakota. Beginning Thursday at 12:01 a.m., on-line at www.unmtickets.com, Lobo men's basketball tickets in bench rows 1-10 are available for $10 per ticket -- while supplies last. This special ticket price for bench rows 1-10 is a "Thursday-Only" sale. The $10 special ends at midnight on Thursday.

The $10 Tickets also are available in person on Thursday at: 1. Lobo Ticket Office in The Pit from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 2. UNM Bookstore Ticket Office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 3. All Albertsons Ticket outlets from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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New Mexico Lobos Men's Basketball - In The Pit

Tuesday: New Mexico Lobos 98, Houston Baptist 61
Saturday: 1:30 p.m., North Dakota at New Mexico Lobos (13-2)
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By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Maybe the only thing sharper than the Lobos' focus Tuesday night in The Pit was New Mexico's shooting. It was laser sharp as UNM, now 13-2, burned the nets at a 63.8 percent rate to burn Houston Baptist 98-61.

The game obviously wasn't a contest on the court, but the Lobos really had to go to another level mentally in not allowing a blowout game to turn into a run-and-gun, street-ball affair featuring all offense and no defense.

Oh, there was offense; lots of offense. But there also was defense, too. Well, at least by the Lobos.

The Lobos managed to run to 97 points while holding Houston Baptist to 61 points. The victory for the Lobos was as much in their ability to focus as it was on the lopsided scoreboard that lite up The Pit for the 12,789 in attendance.

"I thought this was a game where if they were going to come out flat, there were a lot of excuses to do so," said Lobo Coach Steve Alford. "But we did a lot of things well. We didn't take bad shots and we're up 30 most of the second half.


McDonald Passes Legend
Lobo Phillip McDonald passed a New Mexico legend Tuesday night passing Ira Harge (1962-64) for the 26th spot on the UNM career scoring charts. McDonald has 1,022 points.

"I liked our energy. I liked our activity. We are playing with a sense of pride and we have a lot of confidence."

The Lobos got at least one point from every player with Tony Snell leading the way with 18 points. Demetrius Walker came off the bench to score 14 points and dish out eight assists. UNM ended with 24 assists to 14 for the Huskies.

Drew Gordon got another double-double scoring 13 points and hauling down 10 boards. Phillip McDonald had 11 points and Hugh Greenwood had ten points, all coming in the first half.

About the only thing that went wrong in this game for UNM was Greenwood coming down on a defensive play and jamming his right foot into the padded base of the backboard. He left the game and finished the contest sitting on the bench wearing an ice pack.

"We'll get X-rays," said Alford.

The Lobos shot 73.3 percent from the floor in the first half and ended the game with a 63.8 percent effort going 37-of-58 from the floor.

"It's about getting good shots," said Alford. "We're sharing the basketball and getting better shots. But we still have a long ways to go. The team believes there is a lot of room for improvement and that's with winning 11 games in a row."

Houston Baptist shot 34.3 percent from the floor. UNM outscored the Huskies 44-28 in the paint and 42-29 off the bench.

"Our bench is developing," said Alford. "We are getting a lot of bench production. Demetrius (Walker) gets eight assists off the bench. That's almost unheard of. The guys are playing their roles right.

"We wanted to go inside. This is a team that has been struggling defensively and we wanted to go at them. We wanted to go at the basket hard."

About the only questions in the second half were whether the Lobos would reach 100 and if UNM could maintain enough defensive focus to hold Houston Baptist under 60. It was close at both ends. The Huskies scratched their way to 61 points and Coach Alford didn't allow his Lobos to attack the basket in the closing seconds, up by 37 points.

The Lobos actually held Houston Baptist to a lower shooting percentage in the second half, but the Huskies scored three more points in the second 20 minutes.

The second half was merely a formality for the scoreboard and the stat sheets. UNM was up 64-37 at the 14:36 mark and continued to pull away from the shorter Huskies. A Snell trey followed by a Walker trey made it 70-42. McDonald banged in back-to-back treys in front of the UNM bench to push the Lobos up 78-48.

The Lobos go for an even dozen in consecutive wins when North Dakota steps into The Pit for a 1:30 p.m. tip on Saturday. "They have played a good schedule and they do a lot of good things. We have to be ready," said Alford.

First Half: New Mexico Lobos 53, Houston Baptist 29

Jamal Fenton on a drive

The basket must have looked the size of a hula hoop for the Lobos in the first half. They shot 73.3 percent (22-of-30) to run to their 24-point lead. UNM had nine players on the scoring charts topped by Greenwood with 10, Gordon with nine and Snell with eight. Gordon added six boards and Snell had four assists.

For a few moments it was game. Then the Lobos broke out of a 4-4 tie and steamrolled the Huskies making just about every shot that came off a Lobo hand. Inside, outside -- didn't make much difference. UNM was shooting 70 percent (14-of-20) when it formed a fat 32-16 lead with the first half about half over at the 9:56 mark.

The Lobos didn't even have a turnover until the 6:14 mark of the first half. Houston Baptist must have placed its defense in a suitcase and that piece of luggage didn't make it to Albuquerque. The Lobo offense had a play toy with the Huskies' defense. Houston Baptist showed a little more interest in playing ball at the offensive end, but let the Lobos weave through them on defense.

A Williams three at the 2:22 mark off a Jamal Fenton drive and feed put UNM up 47-29. The score jumped to 49-29 a few seconds later when Cameron Bairstow tipped a shot on the defense end and then hustled down to score a layup at the other end.

Bairstow finished the first-half scoring for UNM getting bumped on an attempted dunk. He made two free throws with 1.3 seconds to play to form the 53-29 halftime count.

Lobo Notes vs. Houston Baptist

  • The Lobos have their longest winning streak (11) since 15 in a row from Jan. 13-March 11, 2010.

  • UNM set season-highs for points (98) and field goal percentage (63.8), The FG accuracy is the best for a Steve Alford-coached Lobo team, and is UNM' highest since making 69.2 percent at Air Force on Jan. 15, 2005.

  • UNM enjoyed its best field goal shooting game in The Pit since Dec. 1, 2004, when it made 64.3 percent in a 99-80 victory over New Mexico State.

  • UNM has made a 3-point field goal in 673 consecutive games. The last game without a 3-pointer was Jan. 3, 1991 at Colorado State (0-for-8).

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