Feb. 22, 2004
Game 24 * New Mexico at Utah
Monday, Feb. 23 * 7:05 p.m. MST
Huntsman Center * Salt Lake City, Utah
The University of New Mexico seeks to halt a two-game losing skid Monday as it visits Utah. The Lobos and Utes tip at 7:05 p.m. Mountain Time from the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. There is no local television coverage of the game. KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake will show game live in its viewing area.
UNM is closing the regular season by playing four of its final six games of the road. The final two home games are against San Diego State Saturday and UNLV next Monday.
New Mexico is 13-10 overall and 4-6 in the MWC after suffering an 88-71 loss at BYU. UNM looks to avoid a three-game losing streak for the first time since early December. The Lobos are tied with San Diego State for fifth place in the league.
Utah is 19-7 overall and 7-4 in the league after having its 15-game homecourt winning streak broken by Air Force on Saturday, 59-57. Subbing for Rick Majerus is interim head coach Kerry Rupp, who has a 4-2 record in charge of Utah basketball.
For the third straight game, the Lobos are visiting an arena where the opponent is very good at home. Utah is 14-1 at the Huntsman Center this year and 70-4 in home conference games the past 10 years.
Utah is also not a good place for the Lobos to try and steal a road win. UNM has lost 14 straight in Salt Lake City. The Utes lead the series there by a 47-5 margin, including 30-4 in the Huntsman Center. The Lobos' last win was 79-76 on February 16, 1989. UNM?s only other victories came in 1954, '72, '73 and '84.
New Mexico will try to end a road losing streak that has reached 24 straight games overall, 25 consecutive including neutral sites, and 17 MWC games in a row. The last win away from Albuquerque 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 has surpassed last year's win total by three games and equaled its conference win total (4-10). New Mexico is 13-3 in The Pit this season, and has won four straight and 11 of its last 12. The Lobos were 10-7 at home last year.
New Mexico has had a full roster the past 17 games - since Dec. 21 - when Granger (Bradley) and Troy DeVries (Portland State) became eligible as mid-season transfers. The twosome has been UNM's top-two scorers since taking the court. UNM is 10-7 since their arrival. At 20.1 points a game, Granger would be leading the MWC in scoring had he played in the required number of games. His is averaging 8.6 rebounds. Granger has posted five double-doubles. He became the first Lobo since Kenny Thomas in 1997-98 to record four straight double-doubles.
DeVries is averaging 11.9 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists, including 12 dishes against Coppin State, the best total by a Lobo in 12 years. He is shooting 44.5% (45-101) from 3-point, an average of 2.64 treys a game.
LOBOS VS. UTAH - It's game No. 112 in a series that started Jan. 3, 1952. The Utes have a commanding 72-39 lead, although the Lobos have won the past two. UNM looks to win three straight against Utah for the first time in 20 years.
Despite New Mexico's recent success, the Utes have captured 10 of the last 14. Utah has a 6-3 advantage in MWC games.
Jan. 24 in Albuquerque: Danny Granger scored 28 points in leading New Mexico to a 70-54 win over Utah. Granger hit 10 of 16 shots and added a team-high four assists, as the Lobos snapped Utah's nine-game winning streak.
Playing the point, Granger responded by hitting a pair of 15-foot jumpers and a 3-pointer in the game's first five minutes. Finishing with six rebounds and no turnovers in 35 minutes, Granger was equally tough inside, scoring over the taller Utes. And when the Utes tried to double-team Granger, he passed off to open teammates.
The Lobos played a nearly flawless first half. They hit seven 3s, shot 54 percent and had just one turnover en route to a 38-18 lead. Granger sparked a 9-0 run early in the second half with a left-handed bankshot and an off-balance layup that put the Lobos ahead 49-22 with 14:51 left in the game. At that point, Granger had outscored the Utes 23-22.
The Utes managed a 19-4 run that cut the Lobos' lead to 53-41 with 6:31 left, but a 3-pointer by Troy DeVries and three free throws by Granger sandwiched around a Utah 3-pointer pushed the lead to 59-45. The Utes came into the game giving up an average of 54 points a game. DeVries added 14 points and David Chiotti scored 13 for the Lobos.
New Mexico shot 53.5% (23-43) overall and 44.4% (8-18) from beyond the arc, the second best efforts versus the Utes this year. UConn shot 62.3% (33-53) from the floor and 50% (2-4) from 3-point range.
Last year at Salt Lake City: Ruben Douglas had a stellar night, but it couldn't equate into a Lobo victory as outmanned UNM dropped a 78-68 decision at Utah. Douglas scored 32 points, including 5-of-8 shots from 3-point and 13-of-15 attempts from the free throw line.
Marc Jackson, Britton Johnsen and Tim Frost combined for 51 points. The Utes were deadly from 3-point, nailing 12 out of 24 attempts.
HEAD COACH Ritchie McKay - Ritchie McKay is in 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 106-117, 23-28 at New Mexico. McKay is 8-16 in conference games while at UNM, 8-4 at The Pit, 0-12 on the road. He is 3-2 against Utah, 0-2 in Salt Lake City.
BYU RECAP / NOTES - The Cougars exploded early in the second half to coast to an 88-71 victory over the Lobos. Leading by just five at the break (41-36), BYU used an 18-4 run in the first eight minutes after halftime to win easily. New Mexico went 2 of 10 from the field and had three turnovers during that decisive stretch.
The Cougars opened the second half by hitting 12 of their first 16 shots, including four of their first five treys. They made 60% (30-50) of their attempts on the night, 68% (15-22) after intermission.
Troy DeVries led UNM with 16 points on five three-pointers, although most of those came when the game was out of hand. Javin Tindall added 12. New Mexico made 6 of its first 8 field goals, but went 17 of 48 (35%) the rest of the way. UNM was 14 of 32 (44%) from 3-point, but just 9 of 24 (38%) inside the arc. The Lobos were outrebounded 36-28.
* BYU shot 60.0% (30-50) from the floor...it is the second-highest FG% allowed by the Lobos this season (62.5% vs. Air Force on Jan. 17)...in 10 MWC games, opponents are shooting an unsettling 49.6% (239-482) from the field against UNM...the Lobos are allowing 50.3% shooting in seven road games this season
*Danny Granger set season-lows with 9 points (3-9 FGs) and 3 rebounds...fellow frontcourt mate David Chiotti had 8 points and 0 rebounds in 19 foul-plagued minutes...that?s 17 points and 3 boards from a duo that came into the game averaging a combined 34 points and nearly 15 rebounds a game
* Troy DeVries scored 16 points on 5-12 shooting, 5-9 from 3-point...he started the game 1-7 from the floor and made four of his last five 3s...it?s his highest scoring game since netting 22 points against San Diego on January 6
*Junior guard Collins Ferris - a walk-on transfer - equaled his career-high of 8 points in the first half...he was 2-4 from the field, 2-3 from 3-point and 2-2 from the foul line..Ferris set his previous high against Northwestern State and New Mexico Highlands earlier this year...he also had a career-high 3 rebounds in 18 minutes...coming into the game, Ferris had played just 14 minutes in his last 8 games dating to Dec. 28, scoring a total of three points
*Sophomore guard Jeff Hart - another walk-on - set a season-high with eight points, including two three-pointers...he was 3-4 from the field and 2-2 from 3-point in nine minutes
* UNM is now 11-3 in games decided by 10 points or more, 2-7 when the margin is under double figures
* The Lobos have won 15 straight games when shooting better than their opponent, including a perfect 10-0 this season...the last loss was at Tennessee on Jan. 4, 2003...UNM shot 45% (18-40), the Vols 43% (22-51)...the Lobos are 50-4 in such situations since 2000-01, 147-13 since the 1995-96 season