Lobos Open 101st Season Against San Francisco State
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/18/2003
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

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November 18, 2003

After six exhibition games the past month, the University of New Mexico's 101st season gets underway for real this weekend. The Lobos host San Francisco State Saturday and New Mexico Highlands Monday. Both games tipoff at 7:05 p.m. from The Pit/Bob King Court in Albuquerque. UNM plays nine of its first 10 games at home and does not leave the state until a January 3 trip to Wake Forest. Highlands plays at New Mexico State Saturday.

The Lobos went 6-0 in exhibition games, including a 4-0 mark on a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, in mid-October. UNM defeated the University of Calgary, Trinity Western College, the Vancouver All-Stars and Simon Fraser. Because of the tour - which is allowed by the NCAA once every four years - UNM's first practice was September 27. The Lobos had 10 workouts before the trip, then resumed regularly-scheduled practices on October 21.

TICKETS - Single-game tickets are available online at golobos.com, or by calling 925-5858 or (800) 905-3315. Ticket outlets include the athletics ticket office at The Pit, the ticket office at the UNM Bookstore on main campus, and Raley's and Western Wearhouse locations in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Rio Rancho. Ticket office hours at The Pit are 8:30-5 Monday through Friday. Call (505) 925-5626 for more information.

SERIES INFO - This is the first meeting between the Lobos and Gators of San Francisco State. UNM and Highlands tangle for the 29th time. The Lobos lead the series 24-4, including 17-2 at Albuquerque and 7-0 in The Pit. It's the first game between the Lobos and Cowboys since December 1, 1992, when UNM took an 89-54 victory in The Pit. The first game in the series was played January 15, 1910, with UNM winning 40-20 in Albuquerque. New Mexico has won 14 straight since 1929. The Cowboys won in 1911, '12, and twice in '29.

SEASON/HOME OPENERS - New Mexico is 71-29 in season openers, but 35-6 since the 1962-63 season. UNM has lost its last two lid-lifters - both at home - 81-66 to No. 13 Stanford in 2001 and 76-68 to Cal last year. The Lobos are 71-25 in home openers and have won 38 of their last 42.

EXHIBITION RECAPS - New Mexico completed an unblemished exhibition season by edging the EA Sports Southwest All-Stars 75-71, Sunday at The Pit. UNM overcame a second-half scoring drought of nearly nine minutes to take the win.

The Lobos and the All-Stars played even through the opening minutes, before UNM used a 7-0 run to take a 30-19 lead. The Lobos led 40-33 at the break. As UNM went cold, the All-Stars went on a 9-0 run to take their only lead of the game at 47-46 with 11:50 to play. The Lobos did not hit a shot from the field until freshman Ryan Wall hit a floater down the lane to regain the lead at 48-47. After Wall's shot, UNM used a 17-5 run over the next 4:30 to take an 11-point lead. The Lobos sealed the victory by going 9-of-10 from the foul line over the final minute of the game. New Mexico was led by Mark Walters, who sparked the Lobos with seven second-half points.

Tindall led all Lobos in scoring with 17 points and seven assists. Also in double figures were Walters with 16, Chiotti with 10 and junior Alfred Neale with 10. Neale led UNM on the boards grabbing with Chiotti right behind at nine.

One constant in the Lobos' 6-0 exhibition record was good shooting. Despite a 39% showing against EA Sports, UNM shot a solid 50.1% from the floor, including a toasty 47% (66-140) from beyond the 3-point line. That's 11 treys a game. The Lobos outrebounded their opponents by nearly five a game (38.5-32.7) and held foes to 39.7% shooting, including 30% from beyond the arc.

No one has been hotter than senior G Javin Tindall, who averaged 19.5 points a game. He made 68% (44-65) of his shots overall, including a salty 64% (21-33) from 3-point. David Chiotti averaged 14.5 ppg and a team-high 6.8 rpg.

Playing four games in three days in British Columbia in mid-October, the Lobos captured four wins thanks to hot shooting. UNM hit 52% of its field goals, including a steamy 50.5% (46-91) from the 3-point line, which was positioned at the international distance of 20'6". That's an average of 11.5 treys a game. The free-throw line was not friendly as New Mexico converted only 62.3% (43-69).

Tindall paced three Lobos in double figures by averaging 18.5 ppg. He nailed 13 of 20 shots from beyond the arc, or 65%, and had 16 assists. Chiotti averaged 15.8 ppg and a team-high 6.3 rebounds. He notched 18 points and a tour-high 15 boards in the win over the University of Calgary.

Sophomore G Jeff Hart came off the bench in all four games to average 13.8 ppg, canning 13 of 26 attempts from 3-point. Freshman F Justin Benson averaged 6.0 rebounds while freshman G Ryan Wall tallied a team-best 18 assists.

SEASON NO. 101 - The 2003-04 season is the 101st in school history. The Lobos first laced up the hightops on February 2, 1900, when they lost 8-6 to the Albuquerque Guards. While this season is actually the 105th 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 1,192-946 (.557). New Mexico was 418-495 (.458) from 1900-62, but has gone 774-451 (.632) over the past 41 seasons, an average of nearly 19 wins per year. The Lobos have made 26 trips to the postseason during that span, including 10 appearances in the NCAA Tournament and 16 showings in the NIT.

HEAD COACH Ritchie McKay - Ritchie McKay begins his second season in charge of Lobo hoops and his eighth year as a collegiate head coach. He was named UNM's school's 18th head coach on March 28, 2002.

McKay had previous stops at Portland State (1996-98), Colorado State (1998-2000) and Oregon State (2000-02). He has a career record of 93-107, 10-18 at New Mexico. While at Mountain West Conference member Colorado State, McKay led the Rams to the NIT in 1999. McKay is the son of the late Joe McKay, who was a three-year letterman at guard for the Lobos from 1961-63.

McKay is facing San Francisco State and Highlands for the first time in his career.