Feb. 4, 2008
The first lap around the Mountain West Conference track comes to end Tuesday when New Mexico (16-6, 3-4 MWC) hosts Colorado State (6-15, 0-7 MWC). Tipoff is 8:05 p.m. Mountain Time from The Pit/Bob King Court.
The game can be seen live on The Mtn. with Tim Neverett and Blaine Fowler, plus live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com. Game Sponsors are Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico & 94 Rock.
Last Saturday in Las Vegas, the Lobos were bounced 79-60 by league co-leader UNLV. The Runnin' Rebels jumped to a 21-5 lead and never looked back. UNM committed a season-high 22 turnovers, matching their entire total from the previous three games. The Lobos had 16 miscues in the first half.
Trying to avoid losing three straight games for the first time this season, New Mexico enters Tuesday's game tied with TCU and Utah for 5th place in the conference standings.
Colorado State is looking for its first conference victory. Like UNM on Saturday, the Rams fell behind early in their home game against Utah. The Utes led 33-13 at halftime. Junior Marcus Walker, the MWC's leading scorer, finished with 23 points.
Alford is 324-189 (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.
Alford is facing Colorado State for the first time in his 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.
In somewhat of a rarity, Alford has never been anything but a head coach at the collegiate level. His first position came at Manchester at the age of 27.
NEW MEXICO-COLORADO STATE SERIES
It's game No. 102 in a series that started Dec. 22, 1940. UNM has a 60-41 lead, although CSU took an 88-79 win in The Pit last year, just the Rams' 4th in 39 tries at University Arena.
The Lobos have won 5 of 6, 7 of 9 and 21 of 24 against the Rams since Feb. 12, 1994. UNM has a 13-3 lead in MWC games and 35-4 in The Pit.
UNM-CSU: LAST YEAR IN ALBUQUERQUE
Jason Smith had a double-double with 28 points and 11 rebounds and Colorado State put on a torrid first half shooting display in an 88-79 win over New Mexico.
CSU beat New Mexico in The Pit for only the fourth time in 39 tries. The Rams did it with the 7-footer Smith's dominating play and soft touch jumpers inside and 11 3-pointers - seven of them in the first half.
New Mexico played without leading scorer J.R. Giddens. Giddens, who practiced on Friday, was in street clothes and wearing a boot on his injured left foot.
Tony Danridge led New Mexico with 17 points. Reserve Kellen Walter scored a career-high 13 - 10 of them over a span of 65 seconds late in the game when the Lobos used a 17-3 run to trim an 81-60 CSU lead to 84-77 with 55 seconds left.
The Rams hit 19 of 26 shots in the first half, including 7 of 11 3s.
CSU scored 13 straight points early in the first half to take a 19-8 lead. Guard Cory Lewis, who scored 10 straight points in the midst of that run, got the Rams rolling with a 3-pointer. He added a jumper in the lane and another 3-pointer and Smith hit a 10-footer and Tyler Smith connected on a 3.
Jason Smith, who matched his career scoring high - he also had 28 against the Lobos in Albuquerque a year ago - hit 11 of 15 shots, many of them lay-ups over the shorter New Mexico front line.
Lewis, who scored 15 points in the first half, finished with 17 and Tim Denson scored 15. Stephen Gilling added 12 on four 3-pointers.
New Mexico, which trailed 46-30 at halftime, scored the first seven points of the second half on a 3-pointer by Darren Prentice and back-to-back field goals by Danridge. Smith halted the rally with a 3-point play and New Mexico would get no closer than the seven-point margin in the final minute.
LAST YEAR IN FORT COLLINS
Tony Danridge scored 24 points to lead New Mexico to a 70-66 win over Colorado State. Aaron Johnson had 13 rebounds and five points for New Mexico and J.R. Giddens added 14 points.
The teams traded the lead 14 times. Chad Toppert's two free throws with 20 seconds left gave New Mexico a 70-66 lead. Jason Smith and Tyler Smith both missed 3-pointers in the last 15 seconds for Colorado State.
The Rams trailed 65-64 with 1:13 to go after two free throws by Cory Lewis. Toppert hit a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left to put New Mexico up 68-64. Jason Smith hit two foul shots for CSU to pull to within 68-66 before Toppert hit his two foul shots to close out the scoring. Jason Smith led the Rams with 16 points.
UNLV RECAP AND POSTGAME NOTES
UNLV's Wink Adams had a game high 24 points and Joe Darger added 17 Saturday night as the Rebels never trailed in a 79-60 victory against New Mexico.
The Rebels opened the game on a 21-5 run, including a stretch of 13 unanswered points. Corey Bailey and Adams each had six points in the outburst.
UNLV opened the second half on an 8-2 run to extend a 20-point halftime advantage to 48-22. The Rebels led by at least 20 points until the final minute of the game when New Mexico scored the game's final seven points.
New Mexico committed 16 turnovers in the first half, including 10 in the opening eight minutes, as the Rebels led by as many as 22 points. The Lobos were also limited to six field goals in the half. J.R. Giddens led the Lobos with 13 points and Roman Martinez added 10.
Freshman Jonathan Wills
Freshman Dairese Gary
Junior Chad Toppert