Lobos Back Home To Face Toreros
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/05/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 5, 2004

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The New Mexico Lobos look to get back on the winning track as they return home to host the University of San Diego on Tuesday. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m. Mountain Time from The Pit/Bob King Court in Albuquerque.

UNM is 7-4 after a 70-61 loss at No. 6 Wake Forest, snapping the Lobos' five-game winning streak. UNM's eighth win last year came in the 20th game of the season, Feb. 8 against Air Force. New Mexico plays five of its next six games in The Pit where it has won five straight.

USD is 3-11 overall and 0-10 on the road this season after losing 73-62 at Southwest Missouri on Saturday. The Toreros were 18-12 last year and won the West Coast Conference Tournament. They fell to Stanford (77-69) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

San Diego lost four starters from last year. However, their only returning starter - junior F Corey Belser - is out for the season after suffering a knee injury in an exhibition game on Nov. 7. Sophomore G Travis Smith is also sidelined for the year with an injured shoulder. G Brett Melton scored 23 points off the bench in the loss at Southwest Missouri. Melton made 7 of 11 3s as the Toreros hit 14 of 27 shots from the arc.

The Lobos are looking for the school's 1,200th win since the first game was played on Feb. 2, 1900. In 2,149 games, UNM is 1,199-950 in its 101st season, a winning percentage of 56 percent. New Mexico is 781-455 since the 1962-63 season, an average of almost 19 wins a year. The Lobos have been to postseason play 26 times during that span.

UNM has been full strength since Dec. 21 when midseason transfers Troy DeVries (Portland State) and Danny Granger (Bradley) became eligible. The 6'8" Granger is averaging 20.2 points and 9.6 rebounds in five games, including MVP honors in the Lobo Invitational when he had a season-high 26 points and a Mountain West Conference record eight steals against Penn State. Granger also had 16 rebounds against New Mexico State, the most caroms by a Lobo since the late Patrick Dennehy pulled down 17 against Alcorn State on Dec. 1, 2001.

DeVries is averaging 13.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists, including 12 assists against Coppin State, the best total by a Lobo in 12 years.

LOBO 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.

UNM VS. SAN DIEGO / WEST COAST CONFERENCE - It's the third meeting between the two schools. The last encounter was Nov. 27, 1988, when the Toreros won 64-53 at The Pit in the championship game of the Lobo Classic. The first game was in 1985 with New Mexico winning 61-46 in Albuquerque.

Lobo head coach Ritchie McKay is 1-2 in his career against USD. He was 0-1 while at Portland State and 1-1 during his two seasons at Oregon State.

New Mexico has a 16-10 record against current members of the West Coast Conference, but it has lost three straight, all in The Pit: Portland (77-71) earlier this season, Pepperdine (88-68) in last year's Lobo Invitational final and Gonzaga (95-90, OT) two years ago. The last win against a WCC affiliate was St. Mary's (72-62) on Dec. 28, 2001, in the first round of the Lobo Invitational.

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 100-111, 17-22 at New Mexico. McKay is 13-11 in non-conference games while at UNM, 13-6 at The Pit, 0-5 on the road.

While at Mountain West Conference member Colorado State, McKay led the Colorado State Rams to the NIT in 1999.

WAKE FOREST RECAP / NOTES - The Lobos gave sixth-ranked Wake Forest all it could handle before falling 70-61 in Winston-Salem, N.C. Danny Granger had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead New Mexico. Troy DeVries, who had 12 points in the opening 8? minutes of the second half to keep UNM close, finished with 17.

The Demon Deacons started the second half 8-for-10 from the floor, but still couldn't shake the Lobos, who took a 47-46 lead when DeVries made a nifty reverse layup. It was only the second time in nine games Wake Forest has trailed in the second half. WFU scored on its next trip and never trailed again, although it was a five-point game (62-37) with 3:37 to go.

* New Mexico held the nation's highest scoring team to its fewest points of the season and 22 points below its scoring average...Wake Forest came into the game averaging 92.1 ppg

* Somehow, the Lobos stayed close despite a scoreless span of 6:27 in the first half...UNM tied the game at 14 at the 10:41 mark...Wake Forest then scored nine straight points for a 23-14 lead...during the drought, UNM missed seven shots and turned the ball over six times before Troy DeVries made a 3-pointer with 4:14 remaining before the break...New Mexico still managed to cut the halftime deficit to 28-25

* UNM took a 47-46 lead in the second half on a reverse layup by DeVries, who scored 12 of UNM's first 22 points after halftime...the Lobos trailed just 62-57 after Javin Tindall made two free throws with 3:37 left, but Wake Forest scored the next eight points to put it away...New Mexico did not make a FG in the final 4:25 and scored just 11 points over the last 8:16 of the game

* New Mexico committed 19 turnovers, the highest total since 21 in the season-opener against San Francisco State...the miscues proved costly in the 9-point loss as Wake Forest had a 20-8 edge in points off turnovers...UNM, averaging just 13.4 turnovers during its five-game winning streak, lost the ball 13 times in the first half alone...senior guard Javin Tindall had made only 18 turnovers in 321 minutes for the season, but was guilty of a career-high 8 against the Deacons

* The Lobos had their second-worst shooting performance of the season, making only 35.8% (19-53) of their shots...their lowest percentage of 32.8% (19-58) came in their only other road game of the season at New Mexico State

* UNM did outrebound the Demon Deacons 40-31, including 15-9 on the offensive end...the Lobos had been 5-0 this year when gathering more boards than their opponent

* The starting lineup of David Chiotti, Alfred Neale, Danny Granger, Troy DeVries and Javin Tindall lost for the first time...the quintet had been 4-0

* Granger recorded his 2nd double-double as a Lobo with 19 points and 12 rebounds...he was 5-17 from the floor, though, his worst shooting this season...Granger has led UNM in scoring in all five games he's played

* DeVries scored a season-high 17 points and hauled down a career-high 9 boards...his previous rebound best was 7 when he played at Portland State...that total came against UNLV on Nov. 24, 2002...DeVries has scored 32 points the past two games with 27 of those coming in the second half