Lobos-Aggies No. 199
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/03/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 3, 2007

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The 199th meeting between New Mexico (7-1) and New Mexico State (3-6) takes place Tuesday at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m. Live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com. The game will also be televised live in Albuquerque on Comcast Cable Channel 53.

The 200th game in the series will be played in The Pit on Dec. 19. UNM has a narrow 105-93 lead in competition that began Dec. 22, 1904.

Tuesday's game will also be the 500th in the head coaching career of Steve Alford. The first-year Lobo coach has a 315-184 in his 17th season on the sidelines.

New Mexico State also has a new man on the bench in Marvin Menzies, who spent the past two season as an assistant under Rick Pitino at Louisville.

New Mexico lost for the first time this season, 85-77, at undefeated Ole Miss on Saturday. New Mexico State played at home Saturday, falling to North Texas 75-72 in the championship game of the Lou Henson Classic. The Aggies had a 50-29 lead with 14:20 to play.

RIO GRANDE RIVALRY - New Mexico and New Mexico State announced July 13 the formation of the Rio Grande Rivalry presented by Route 66 Casino. UNM and NMSU are scheduled to 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.

The winner of Tueday's game will receive 1.5 points. The Lobos lead the 2007-08 Rio Grande Rivalry, 4.5 to 3 after NMSU women's basketball beat UNM 58-42 on Sunday afternoon.

The winner of the Rio Grande Rivalry will receive a trophy that is currently being designed with input from both institutions. The traveling trophy will remain in possession of the winning school for one academic year.

NEXT STUDENT TICKET PICK-UP IS WEDNESDAY - Tickets for Lobo men's basketball are free for all full-time UNM students (enrolled in 6+ hours) during the 2007-08 season. Students can pick up tickets Wednesday for the New Mexico State (Dec.19), Weber State (Dec. 23), San Diego State (Jan. 12), Air Force (Jan. 19) and Utah (Jan. 22) games.

Tickets are available at the Center for the Arts ticket window outside of Popejoy Hall Wednesday from 7:30-10 a.m. After that time, tickets can be picked up at the UNM Bookstore or the Lobo Ticket Office at The Pit. Students tickets will be available from the distribution date until the start of the game, subject to availability.

LOBO BASKETBALL COLLECTING FOR TOYS FOR TOTS - The University of New Mexico men's and women's basketball programs have teamed with Toys for Tots to benefit local youth during the upcoming holiday season. The Lobos will be accepting toys from fans, beginning Monday at the ticket office at The Pit. Fans donating to Toys for Tots will receive a discounted ticket to a selected upcoming men's or women's basketball game.

Fans can drop off toys at the ticket office Dec. 3-5 during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.). Those donating to Toys for Tots can purchase tickets to the men's game against San Diego on Dec. 8 for $5 or the women's game against Arizona on Dec. 15 for just $2. Each toy donated will allow fans to purchase up to four tickets at the discounted price. For more information call the UNM Ticket Office at (505) 925-LOBO.

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 315-184 (63%) in his 17th season as a collegiate head coach. His teams have qualified for postseason play 11 times, produced 13 winning seasons and reached 20 wins on eight occasions.

Alford is facing New Mexico State for the first time in his head coaching career.

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.

THE LOBO-AGGIE SERIES - It all started in Las Cruces on Dec. 22, 1904, with a 21-9 victory by the "University Boys," - the precursor to the school's current nickname, the Lobos.

New Mexico has a 105-93 lead, and has won 5 of the past 7. The Aggies took a 103-72 win a year ago in Las Cruces. NMSU has a 57-39 lead in Las Cruces, including 26-13 in The Pan American Center. Each teams has 6 wins in the past 12 contests played in Las Cruces.

LAST YEAR IN LAS CRUCES - David Fisher scored 24 points and had 9 rebounds and New Mexico went nearly 10 minutes in the first half without a rebound in New Mexico State's 103-72 win. It was the most lopsided win by the Aggies over the Lobos since a 96-59 win in Albuquerque on Jan. 3, 1959.

The 198th meeting of the state's only two Division I-AA schools was over early as the Aggies raced off to a 19-8 lead with an assortment of 3-pointers, lay-ups and high-percentage jump shots against New Mexico's defense. Fisher led the way, hitting 10 of 11 shots in the game. Justin Hawkins added 20 points in an NMSU offense that hit 17 of 23 shots in the second half and 67 percent for the game.

J.R. Giddens scored a season low 15 points and Tony Danridge 14 for New Mexico. Giddens hit just 3 of 13 shots and was 0-for-6 on 3-pointers.

While the Aggies were hitting 10 of their first 14 shots, New Mexico was simply trying to grab a rebound. They finally got one - a team rebound - with 9:35 left in the first half. NMSU won the rebounding by a 41-26 margin, including 15 offensive boards.

Defensively, New Mexico gave up numerous lay-ups and open looks as the Aggies hit 21 of 34 shots in the first 20 minutes. Fisher hit his first six shots and the Aggies' inside trio of Hawkins, Hatila Passos and Trei Steward hit 7 of 11 shots in the first half.

New Mexico's only serious threat consisted of back-to-back 3-pointers by Chad Toppert and Jamaal Smith that cut the NMSU lead to 32-25 with just under 8 minutes left in the first half. The Aggies' offense took off again when 7-footer Martin Iti took a pass as the trailer on a fastbreak and slammed it home.

The Lobos, who hit 9 of their first 14 shots, hit just 2 of 14 over the final 7:08 of the opening period. The Aggies built a 54-33 halftime lead while in the midst of a 21-3 run that eventually pushed the lead to 66-35 with 17:10 left in the game.

• The 31-point loss is New Mexico's worst since a 96-62 defeat at Minnesota on March 13, 2002...it's the most points allowed since a 103-91 loss at Wyoming on Feb. 15, 2003

• It's the biggest loss by UNM in Las Cruces since a 77-44 decision on Feb. 11, 1939

• New Mexico State shot 66.7% (38-57), the best against the Lobos since Wyoming made 67.3% (35-52) on Feb. 26, 1987

• UNM was out-rebounded 41-25, including 25-11 in the first half...NMSU had 11 offensive boards in the 1st half

• Points in the Paint was 44-10 in New Mexico State's favor, 26-4 in the 1st half

LAST YEAR IN ALBUQUERQUE - 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.

GIDDENS THE COMPLETE PACKAGE - Through games of Dec. 2, Lobo senior J.R. Giddens is the only player in the Mountain West Conference who ranks in the top-20 in the league in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocked shots.

OLE MISS RECAP - Dwayne Curtis scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as Mississippi defeated New Mexico 85-77 in a battle of unbeaten teams. Freshman point guard Chris Warren added 16 points and five assists for the Rebels, who are off to their best start since 2000-01, when they advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Trevor Gaskins and Eniel Polynice added 14 and 12 points for the Rebels, respectively.

Ole Miss never trailed and converted 9-of-11 free throws in the final three minutes to halt a late rally by the Lobos. New Mexico was led by Roman Martinez, who finished 7-of-7 from the field, with 17 points. Dairese Gary added 10 points and five assists, but the Lobos fell behind 11-2 in the opening two minutes and never recovered.

Ole Miss led 47-30 at halftime on the strength of a 17-1 run midway through the first half. New Mexico had only one basket in the final eight minutes of the half, while Curtis had eight points during the Rebels' run.

New Mexico pulled within 81-76 on a jumper by J.R. Giddens with 15 seconds left. The Lobos misfired on two final possessions while Polynice hit four straight free throws for the victory.


• The Lobos suffered their first loss of the season, 85-77...UNM actually trailed 65-42 midway through the second half, but made it interesting down the stretch, cutting the deficit to 81-76 with 17 seconds left

• UNM fell behind 11-2 as it missed 9 of its first 10 shots...the Lobos cut it to 22-20 after a 3-pointer by Roman Martinez, but Ole Miss went on a 17-1 run for a 39-21 lead...the Rebels led 47-30 at halftime

• UNM had allowed just one opponent - Hawai'i - to score 60 points in the first 7 games...Ole Miss, averaging 96.4 points a game, scored 47 in the first half

• The Lobos, averaging 12.4 turnovers a game, committed 20...9 of those were by the two point guards, Dairese Gary (6) and Jamaal Smith (3)

• Ole Miss shot 51% (28-55) from the floor, the best against the Lobos this season...the previous high was 44.9% by Hawai'i

• The Lobos were out-rebounded for the first time this season, 36-32

Sophomore Roman Martinez

• came off the bench to score a career-high 17 points on 7-7 FGs, 1-1 from 3-point and 2-2 from the line...his previous high was 11 against Loyola Marymount •added 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in 22 minutes

Junior Chad Toppert

• hit 3 3-pointers - all in the 2nd half - giving him 120 for his career • tied a career-high with 4 assists

Freshman Dairese Gary

• scored 10 points, making 6-6 FTs, plus 5 assists

Senior J.R. Giddens

• UNM's leading scorer (13.4 ppg) was held to 9 points, but did have a team-high 6 rebounds, plus 3 assists and 3 steals

Sophomore Darren Prentice

•had 0 assists and 2 turnovers • it was his first turnover in nearly 6 games •has 31 assists and just 5 turnovers on the season

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 9.63 and the 42.5% shooting is No. 3 in the Mountain West.

3s AND COUNTING - UNM has made a 3-point basket in 556 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.

EVERYONE PLAYS AND CONTRIBUTES - All 10 Lobos have played in every game this season, and all 10 are averaging between 14 and 26.4 minutes a game. With eight games in the books, you could say there have been a total of 80 opportunities to score: 8 games x 10 players. Amazingly, only 5 times has a Lobo not gotten into the scoring column this season. It's the same with rebounding. Just four times has a Lobo failed to get a carom.

NICE BENCH - 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 44.4% (277 of 624) of the points and pulled down 44.8% (125 of 279) of the individual rebounds this season. That's averages of 34.6 points and 15.6 rebounds a game.

DISHIN' IT - 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.

UNM PREDICTED FOR 4TH-PLACE FINISH IN MOUNTAIN WEST - New Mexico was picked to finish fourth in the 2007-08 Mountain West Conference race during the league's preseason media gathering in Denver on October 17. Voters were a combination of head coaches and media.

SEASON TICKETS SURPASS 10,000 - Season tickets climbed above 10,000 for the first time since the 2003-04 season when UNM sold 10,598. The final count for 2007-08 is 10,096. UNM sold at least 10,000 season tickets for 30 consecutive seasons between 1974-75 and 2003-04.