Lobos Host Aggies in 200th Meeting of the Rivalry
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/17/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 17, 2007

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  • Listen to Coach Alford's Press Conference from Monday, Dec. 17
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  • Rio Grande Rivalry presented by Route 66 Casino Scoreboard
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    It all started in Las Cruces, N.M., on Dec. 22, 1904, with a 21-9 victory by the "University Boys," - the precursor to the school's current nickname, the Lobos.

    Now, almost 103 years to the day, New Mexico (9-2) and New Mexico State Aggies (5-7) will lace `em up for the 200th time Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. from The Pit/Bob King Court in Albuquerque.

    The mtn. will have the live regional telecast with Rich Cellini and Dave Bollwinkel calling the action. Live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com.

    Game No. 199 in the series resulted in a 71-62 NMSU victory in Las Cruces on Dec. 4. The Aggies have won two straight overall - both at the Pan American Center - but have dropped the past four meetings to UNM in The Pit. New Mexico State's last win here was in 2002.

    The Lobos won their 29th consecutive non-conference home game Saturday with an impressive 80-63 decision over Texas Tech. UNM set a school record by connecting on 81.8% (9-11) of its 3-pointers.

    New Mexico has not lost a non-conference game in The Pit in nearly three years, since an 81-64 setback to 5th-ranked Wake Forest on Dec. 22, 2004. UNM head coach Steve Alford is 110-10 in his coaching career in non-conference home games.

    New Mexico State's last game was an easy 80-43 truiumph over Prairie View A&M on Dec. 11. Guard Jonathan Gibson led four Aggies in double figures with 18 points.

    The winner of Wednesday's game will receive 1.5 points in the Rio Grande Rivalry presented by Route 66 Casino. The 2007-08 rivalry is currently tied at 4.5 points apiece.

    UNM and NMSU announced July 13 the formation of the Rio Grande Rivalry presented by Route 66 Casino. UNM and NMSU will conduct competitions in 11 sports in 2007-08. Points are awarded to the winner of each competition with a total of 24 points possible. The school with the most points will be the winner.

    Game sponsors include Wells Fargo and News Radio 770 KKOB. The first 5,000 fans will receive commemorative cups to general fans. The first 1,000 students will receive Lobo foam hats. It's Mascot Mania at halftime with various mascots participating in a basketball game.

    Fans that have purchased or plan to purchase a ticket to Saturday's New Mexico Bowl II can buy a ticket to Sunday's men's basketball game against Weber State for just $5. The offer is good in advance or the day of the Weber State game. Fans just need to show their bowl ticket at the time of purchase. This offer is good while supplies last and is limited to bench seating in rows 1 through 10.

    The Weber State game is also Youth Day with tickets just $5 for ages 2 to 16.

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

    Alford is 317-185 (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.

    New Mexico has a 105-94 lead, and although it has lost the last two, it has won 5 of the past 8 overall, including four in a row in The Pit. The Aggies snagged a 71-62 win Dec. 4 in Las Cruces. UNM has a 65-36 lead in Albuquerque, 29-13 in The Pit..

    In the past two games, New Mexico has been out-rebounded by New Mexico State 85-53. Both of those games were Aggie victories in Las Cruces. The "Points in the Paint" scoring has been a decisive 66-20 in the Aggies' favor over that span.

    Justin Hawkins recovered from an 0-for-5 first-half shooting effort, scoring 12 points, and freshman Wendell McKines had 15 rebounds as New Mexico State beat New Mexico 71-62.

    With Hawkins struggling to a 3-of-14 shooting performance from the floor, his teammates picked things up. Hatila Passos was a force inside, scoring 12 points, Chris Cole added 11 and Jonathan Gibson 10, including a 3-pointer and a dunk during an 11-5 burst that stretched New Mexico State's lead to 57-44 with 5:11 remaining.

    The Lobos cut it to 67-60 on a three-point play by Jamaal Smith with 39.1 seconds to go, but New Mexico made all 12 of its free throws in the final 2:14 to seal it up. Hawkins was 6-for-6 from the line in that stretch.

    Chad Toppert led the Lobos with 20 points, hitting 6-of-7 from 3-point range, and Smith scored 17. New Mexico standout J.R. Giddens was held to four points on 2-of-10 shooting.

    New Mexico State used a 44-28 rebounding advantage to control the interior and relied on a backcourt press to disrupt New Mexico's guards, nullifying the Lobos' dangerous transition game. The Lobos shot 38 percent from the field, hitting 21-of-55.

    In an 85-77 loss at Mississippi, Giddens missed all six of his attempts, then went 0-for-2 in the first half against NMSU. He finally broke through on a 14-foot jumper to open the second half. But that was New Mexico's only bucket as the Aggies started with an 8-2 burst, capped by Hawkins' first basket on a dunk when the Lobos left him open under the hoop. It put New Mexico State up 36-28 and even when the Lobos cut it to 39-36 after Toppert hit two 3-pointers, the Aggies fired it up again, scoring the next seven points for a 46-36 lead with 9:43 to go.

  • New Mexico State had a huge edge in rebounds, 44-28, including 18-11 on the offensive end...the Aggies had a 22-10 advantage in Points in the Paint

  • Led by Toppert (20) and Smith (17), UNM's bench scored 40 points compared to the starters' 22...the Lobo starters combined to shoot just 28% (7-25), including 0 of 9 from 3-point

  • Junior Chad Toppert scored 20 points on 7-10 FGs and he tied a career-high with 6 3-pointers in 7 attempts

  • Senior Jamaal Smith came off the bench to score a season-high 17 points on 6 of 8 shooting

  • Freshman Dairese Gary scored 9 points, making 7-8 FTs...he had a career-high 8 assists, the most by a Lobo this season and the highest total by a Lobo freshman since Marlon Parmer had 10 against Wyoming on Jan. 13, 2000

    J.R. Giddens scored 19 points, Aaron Johnson grabbed 14 rebounds and Darren Prentice hit plenty of clutch shots in New Mexico's 79-76 win over New Mexico State. UNM led by 16 points late in the first half, then had to hold off a tenacious rally by the Aggies.

    New Mexico State missed three 3-point shots in the final 19 seconds. The Aggies also hurt themselves at the free throw line, where they missed 12 free throws in the second half and hit just 12 of 28 in the game. Center Martin Iti led the Aggies' futility at the foul line, missing all eight free throws he took, six of them in the second half.

    Still the Aggies, who got 23 points from Justin Hawkins and 15 points from reserve guard Ted Knauber on five 3-pointers, had a chance to at least force overtime. Jamaal Smith hit two free throws to give New Mexico a 79-76 lead with 22.1 seconds remaining.

    The Aggies took a time-out, then freed up Fred Peete for a 3 from the right side that missed. The Aggies rebounded the miss and Hawkins misfired on a 3-pointer from the left baseline. Giddens was fouled with 5.7 seconds remaining, but he missed both free throws. With the clock winding down, Aggie freshman Jonathan Gibson put up a 3-pointer that was long as the buzzer sounded.

    New Mexico led through most of the game and built a 44-28 lead with 29 seconds left in the first half on the shooting of Tony Danridge and Prentice. Danridge scored 11 straight points in one stretch and by halftime had matched his career high of 15 points. He was 7-for-7 in the first half but took just two shots in the second half. Prentice matched his career-high with 16 points and hit 5 of 6 shots and had 3 3-pointers. His two free throws with 2:19 remaining gave New Mexico a 75-71 lead and after Giddens hit a 12-footer, the Lobos led 77-71 with a minute left.

    But the Aggies weren't done. Hawkins hit a 3 with 41.7 seconds left and Iti a layup with 22.6 seconds remaining to get the Aggies within 77-76.

    DEC. 16, 1995
    A little more than 12 years ago, one of the most dramatic endings in the UNM-NMSU series took place in Las Cruces. That's when sophomore Clayton Shields banked in a 55-foot prayer at the buzzer to give New Mexico a stunning 69-68 victory.

    Shields went from potential goat to improbable hero in a very short time. Four seconds prior to his game-winning heave, Shields missed two free throws that would have given UNM a one-point lead.

    The Aggies were sent to the line with 2.4 seconds remaining. Charles Gosa made the first to hand NMSU a 68-66 lead, but he missed the second. A quick outlet to Shields off the miss ended up being one of the longest 3-pointers in school history. Shields finished with 26 points and 8 rebounds.

    The 1995-96 team with Shields, Charles Smith and Kenny Thomas leading the way went on to finish 28-5 before losing to Georgetown in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

    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 1,273-999 (.560). New Mexico was 420-498 (.457) from 1900-62, but has gone 853-501 (.627) 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.

    Freshman Dairese Gary scored 18 points, shooting 7-of-11 from the floor and hitting all four of his 3-point tries, while J.R. Giddens and Chad Toppert each scored 13 points in New Mexico's 80-63 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday. The Lobos hit 9-of-11 on 3-pointers, setting a school record (81.8 percent) for best percentage in a game.

    The Lobos quickly jumped to a 14-2 lead through the first 6 1/2 minutes. Everything went right for New Mexico, even Gary's one-handed 47-footer at the halftime buzzer for a 44-26 lead.

    New Mexico made all six of its 3-point tries in the first 20 minutes, and every Lobo who suited up had scored by halftime.

    The Red Raiders, meanwhile, just couldn't get anything get going. Martin Zeno, the team's leading scorer at a 16.7 average, came out early in the first half and didn't return.

    Alan Voskuil, Texas Tech's No. 2 scorer with a 13.6 average, didn't log any points until hitting two free throws 3 1/2 minutes into the second half.

    New Mexico led 52-30 early in the second half after Gary made another 3-pointer. The Red Raiders trimmed the deficit to 54-41 with an 11-2 run and even cut it to 68-59 on Cook's 3-pointer with 4:26 remaining. But Gary scored twice as the Lobos got the next three baskets, including a dunk by Giddens after a scramble for a loose ball to give New Mexico a 74-59 lead with 2:36 remaining.

  • The Lobos' 81.8% (9-11) accuracy from 3-point is a school record and 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

  • UNM made its first 8 attempts from 3-point, including Gary's one-handed, off-balance half-court prayer at the halftime buzzer

  • The Lobos shot 56% (28-50) from the floor and made their last 9 field goal attempts over the final 8:30 of the game...UNM shot 50% for the first time in six games

  • All 10 Lobos scored in the first half when Roman Martinez made two FTs with 4:11 left

  • UNM outrebounded Texas Tech 21-11 in the 1st half and 30-23 for the game

  • Steve Alford is now 2-4 in head-to-head coaching match-ups against Bob Knight...after winning his first 3 games at The Pit, Knight has now lost two in a row in Albuquerque, also falling to West Virginia in a 2005 NCAA Sweet 16 game

  • UNM held Texas Tech's leading scorers - Martin Zeno and Alan Voskuil - to a combined 5 points and 0 rebounds...the duo came into the game averaging a combined 30.3 points and 10.1 rebounds...Zeno was held scoreless and had just 1 FG attempt in 5 minutes, while Voskuil (1-6 FGs, 2-2 FTs) didn't score until 3:31 into the second half

  • New Mexico set a season-high with 11 steals and matched its season high with 6 blocks

  • Texas Tech's 20 turnovers were a season-high

  • Attendance was a season-high 16,720, pushing the season average to 12,788

    Freshman Dairese Gary

  • scored a career-high 18 points by making a career-best 4-4 3-pointers

    Sophomore Roman Martinez

  • tied a career-high with 7 rebounds and set a career-best with 6 assists...he also had 5 points on 5-6 FTs, 1 block, 1 steal and just 1 turnover in 24 minutes

    Juniors Daniel Faris, Johnnie Harris and Monquel Pegues

  • combined for 18 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks in 49 minutes....Harris tied his season-high with 5 rebounds

    Senior J.R. Giddens

  • scored 13 points, his first time in double figures in 4 games
  • tied a career-high with 4 steals

    Junior Chad Toppert

  • scored 13 points on 4-5 FGs, including 3-3 from 3-point
  • has made at least 2 3-pointers in 10 of 11 games this season
  • has 131 3-pointers in his career, 9 from moving into the top-10 all-time at UNM

    For the second game in a row, New Mexico really put the clamps on the opponents' top scorers:

  • University of San Diego: USD's top-2 scorers - Brandon Johnson and Gyno Pomare - were held to a combined 14 points and 4 rebounds...they came into the game averaging 31.6 points and 10.7 rebounds...Pomare had a season-low 4 points

  • Texas Tech: Martin Zeno and Alan Voskuil had just 5 points and 0 rebounds...the duo was averaging 30.3 points and 10.1 rebounds...Zeno was held scoreless and had just 1 FG attempt in 5 minutes, while Voskuil (1-6 FGs, 2-2 FTs) didn't score until 3:31 into the second half on a pair of FTs

    Junior Chad Toppert moved back into the No. 1 position in school history for 3-point accuracy. He has made 45.49% (131-288) of his tries. Troy DeVries is 2nd at 44.95% (147-327).

    Toppert also leads the league in 3-point shooting this season at 51.6% (32-62). He's made 14 of 22 (64%) the past 4 games after an 0 for 6 performance against Southern Utah.

    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 9.1 and in accuracy at 44.2%.

    The 3s have dropped somewhat, though. Through the first 6 games, UNM was averaging 10.8 a game and shooting 47.8%, however, the past 4 contests, the Lobos are making an average of 7 treys and shooting 38.9% (35-90).

    UNM has made a 3-point basket in 559 straight games, the 12th-longest active streak in NCAA Div. I hoops. 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.

    All 10 Lobos have played in every game this season, and all 10 are averaging between 13 and 27.9 minutes a game. With 11 games in the books, you could say there have been a total of 110 opportunities to score: 11 games x 10 players. Amazingly, only 9 times has a Lobo not gotten into the scoring column this season. It's the same with rebounding. Just 11 times has a Lobo failed to get a carom.

    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 45.3% (373 of 823) of the points and pulled down 44.1% (158 of 358) of the individual rebounds this season. That's averages of 33.9 points and 14.4 rebounds a game.

    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.


  • Since 2003-04, New Mexico is 70-6 when it shoots better than its opponent...the only losses came in 2004-05 against Air Force (UNM 69.2% to AFA's 50%) and to Villanova (29.8% to 28.3%) in the NCAA Tournament, in 2005-06 against Washington (54% to 50%) and twice to BYU (UNM 53% to BYU's 49% in The Pit, UNM's 51% to BYU's 46% in Provo) and last year at San Diego State (51% to 46%)...the record is 109-10 since 2000-01

  • The Lobos are 35-2 when allowing less than 60 points since 2004-05

  • Since 2004-05, the Lobos are 58-11 when they lead at halftime, however, 10 of the losses came during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons
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