Lobos Host TCU on Cherry Crush Night
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  02/15/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Feb. 15, 2008

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  • Dick Vitale Names Giddens His co-Player of the Week
  • TCU Game Ticket & Cherry Crush T-Shirt $7.95 at the UNM Bookstore
  • Tickets Available at Area Albertson's

    The efficient New Mexico Lobos (19-6, 6-4 MWC) return home Saturday, playing host to TCU (12-11, 4-6 MWC). Tipoff is 7:05 p.m. Mountain Time from The Pit/Bob King Court in Albuquerque. This is UNM's last home game until Tuesday, Feb. 26 when BYU comes to town. The Lobos visit Air Force and Utah next week.

    Saturday's game can be seen live on The Mtn. with Rich Cellini and Joe Cravens, plus live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com.

    The TCU game sponsor is Farmers Insurance. Activities include the newly-elected American Indian Tribal officials being recognized during pregame, plus halftime recognition for United Way and introduction of the 2008 Lobo baseball team.

    Saturday is also Cherry Crush Night. Purchase a Cherry Crush t-shirt for only $7.95 at the UNM bookstore and receive a free ticket to the TCU game. The offer is also good for the UNM women's basketball game versus Air Force next Wednesday.

    After a solid 73-63 victory at San Diego State on Wednesday, the Lobos are tied with the Aztecs for third place. The top two teams in the league - BYU and UNLV - square off Saturday in Provo.

    Playing very much like a league MVP candidfate, senior J.R. Giddens led UNM again at both ends of the floor with 22 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks and 2 steals at San Diego State.

    The Lobos look to win four straight conference games for the first time since a 4-game run from Feb. 4-15, 2006.

    TCU is tied with Air Force for 6th place in the loop after dropping a 72-54 decision at Wyoming on Wednesday.

    On Jan. 15 in Fort Worth, New Mexico squandered an 18-point lead in a 74-72 loss to the Horned Frogs. UNM led 48-30 minutes into the second half, but lost it when former Lobo Ryan Wall drilled home a baseline 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left. For Wall, it was his only points of the game in seven minutes of action.


  • In the most recent Jeff Sagarin ratings through games of Thursday, Feb. 14, New Mexico is ranked No. 45, second-highest in the Mountain West...BYU is 1st among MWC schools at No. 34...UNLV is one spot behind the Lobos at No. 46

  • Through games of Thursday, Feb. 14, New Mexico was 1st in the nation in 3-point accuracy at 43.04% after making 32 of 60 (53.3%) the past 3 games...IUPUI is 2nd at 42.59%

  • The Lobos are seeking to win 20 games in a season for the 21st time...the previous 20 have all occurred since the 1963-64 season...Steve Alford is gunning for his 9th 20-win campaign in 16 full seasons as a head coach

  • New Mexico has led from start to finish in each of its last 3 games

  • The most wins by a Lobo head coach in his rookie season is 22 by Dave Bliss in 1988-89...UNM went 22-11 that year and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT

  • It took New Mexico only 20 games to surpass last year's victory total (15-17)...UNM has also eclipsed last year's win total for conference games (4-10)

  • TCU is 0-5 all-time against the Lobos in The Pit

  • UNM is 17-0 when holding opponents to less than 70 points, 2-6 when allowing 70 or more

  • New Mexico is 14-1 at home this year, winning by an average margin of 22.3 points...the lone blemish was a 72-67 loss to San Diego State, a game the Lobos led 24-10 in the first half and 33-25 at halftime

  • The Lobos lead the MWC in scoring offense (75.9 ppg), scoring margin (+12.6), 3-point FGs (8.64 pg) and 3-point percentage (43.0%)...UNM's 3-point shooting would be the 2nd-best in school history were it to hold up for the entire season

  • New Mexico is 10-0 when J.R. Giddens and junior Chad Toppert - the team's leading scorers - each reach double figures in scoring, but 9-6 when they don't...the tandem combined for 95 points in wins last week against Colorado State and Wyoming...in the two road losses at BYU and UNLV, they were held to a combined 29 points

  • Dairese Gary is establishing himself as one of the top freshman point guards in school history...he has started 20 games, the most by a UNM freshman point guard since John Robinson II started 30 in 1998-99...with 87 assists, Gary is on track to become just the 5th Lobo freshman to record 100 in a season, joining Phil Smith (176 in 1980-81), David Gibson (113 in 1994-95), Robinson II (162 in 1998-99) and Marlon Parmer (115 in 1999-2000)...Gary also leads UNM in steals with 37, second-most by a UNM freshman...Phil Smith had 47 in 1980-81

    THE SKINNY ON J.R. Giddens
    J.R. Giddens was named co-MWC Player of the Week for his performances last week against Colorado State and Wyoming. Giddens converted 24 of 35 field goals, 3 of 7 attempts from 3-point and 4 of 5 free throws. He added 18 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks and 8 steals in just 60 minutes of action. His averages for the week were 27.5 points, 9 rebounds, 4. 0 steals and 3.5 assists.

    Against Wyoming, Giddens scored a career-high 36 points and added 11 rebounds. He also had 3 assists, 1 block and a career-high 6 steals against the Cowboys. Giddens' outburst is the most points by a Lobo since Ruben Douglas scored 39 in a 76-69 win over No. 22 Utah on March 1, 2003. It's also the most by an individual in a conference game this season.

  • At San Diego State on his 23rd birthday, Giddens went for 22 points and 11 rebounds for his 2nd straight double-double, 8th of the season and the 11th of his collegiate career.

    He was 7 of 8 from the floor, including a season-high 3 treys in 3 attempts, while adding 4 assists, 2 steals and a career-high 4 blocks

    Giddens was just averaging 11 points and shooting 17% (4-23) from 3-point in the first 9 road games.

  • Giddens' stats for the past 2 games: 58 points on 22-32 FGs, 5-9 3s, 9-13 FTs, plus 22 rebounds, 7 assists, 8 steals and 5 blocks

  • Giddens has scored 77 points the past 3 games, or 25.7 ppg

  • Giddens has made 37 of 53 FGs (70%) the past 4 games, increasing his accuracy in MWC games to 55%

  • Giddens is the only player in the MWC who ranks in the top-10 in the MWC in scoring (8th), rebounding (2nd), assists (10th), steals (8th) and blocks (4th)...he is also 4th in the league in FG% (52.2)...he is even better in conference games, ranking 3rd in scoring, 1st in rebounding, 7th in assists, 7th in steals and 4th in blocks

  • How much better is Giddens' overall game? It only took him 23 games to set personal season-highs for rebounds, assists, blocks and steals

  • At UTEP on Jan. 2, Giddens fell 1 rebound short from becoming the first Lobo in 31 seasons to notch 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game...Jimmy Allen had 21 points and 20 boards in a 112-103 loss at New Mexico State on Dec. 1, 1976...Giddens scored 20 points and set career-highs with 19 rebounds and 7 assists in the overtime victory over the Miners...the 19 rebounds are the most in the MWC this season

    HEAD COACH Steve Alford
    Steve Alford was named UNM's 19th head coach on March 23, 2007, after spending eight seasons at the University of Iowa.

    Alford is 327-189 (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 0-3 in his career against TCU, 0-2 while he was at Southwest Missouri State. The Horned Frogs of Billy Tubbs won 78-67 at Fort Worth on Nov. 16, 1997, and 71-69 at Springfield, Mo., on Dec. 19, 1998.

    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 has an 8-5 lead in the series, although the Horned Frogs have taken 3 of the last 4. TCU is 0-5 in Albuquerque.

    Former Lobo Ryan Wall hit a 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds remaining to give TCU a 74-72 victory. Wall's shot from the corner gave the Horned Frogs their first lead since New Mexico went up 9-8 on a 3-pointer by Dairese Gary with 11:25 left in the first half. New Mexico led by as many as 18 early in the second half.

    Jason Ebie tied the game for TCU at 59-59 on a 3-pointer with 5:20 left. But Chad Toppert responded with a 3-pointer of his own.

    Brent Hackett hit a jumper with 18 seconds left to cut New Mexico's lead to 72-71 and Ebie got a steal, setting up Wall's only points of the night.

    Kevin Langford and Henry Salter each scored 16 points for TCU. Langford got 11 of his 16 in the second half. John Ortiz and Hackett each had 13 for the Horned Frogs.

    Darren Prentice came off the bench to score 19 for New Mexico, with all but one of those coming on 3-pointers. J.R. Giddens added 12. Daniel Faris scored 11 and Roman Martinez had 10.

  • UNM led 48-30 at the 17:14 mark of the 2nd half...former Lobo Ryan Wall hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 1.5 seconds left for the game-winner... it was Wall's only FG and points in just 7 minutes of action...Wall played for New Mexico from 2003-05

  • With 57.6 seconds left against TCU, the Lobos had possession and a 71-69 lead...UNM's final three possessions resulted in 2 turnovers and 1 of 2 FTs

  • New Mexico had a 30-19 rebounding edge over TCU...UNM had been 12-0 this season when grabbing more boards than its opponent

  • TCU shot 56.3% (27-48) from the field, the best against UNM this season...the Horned Frogs shot a torrid 76% (19-25) in the 2nd half

  • The Lobos shot 55.6% (25-45) from the floor, making 10 of their last 12 attempts to end the 1st half...5 of those were 3-pointers - all by Darren Prentice - in the final 4:34

  • New Mexico was also very good from the 3-point line, drilling 11 of 22 (50%)

  • New Mexico's first 16 possessions of the game resulted in just 6 points (2-7 FGs) and 7 turnovers...however, the Lobos' last 21 possessions of the 1st half resulted in 35 points on 13-17 FGs, including seven 3-pointers, 5 by Prentice

    Senior Darren Prentice

  • tied a season-high with 19 points, making a career-high 6 baskets from 3-point
  • scored 12 straight points for UNM in the 1st half on 4 3s, and was solely responsible for a 12-4 run that gave the Lobos a 36-20 lead
  • scored 15 points in the final 4:34 of the 1st half on 5 treys

    Chad Toppert tied his career-highs with 20 points and six 3-pointers in New Mexico's 74-58 win. New Mexico used a 14-2 run late in the second half to hand TCU its 11th straight loss.

    Toppert hit 6 of 9 3-point shots, several of them of coming off passes from point guard Darren Prentice, who had a career-high 8 assists and scored 16 points.

    Kevin Langford, who gave the Frogs their only lead with a basket in the opening minute, led TCU with 23 points.

    J.R. Giddens, the Lobos' leading scorer, did not play after being suspended indefinitely by coach Ritchie McKay. His absence didn't matter against a TCU team that had 20 turnovers and struggled to find a rhythm offensively.

    The Horned Frogs' troubles included a pair of airballed free throws by center Alvardo Parker in the first half. Still, TCU was within 45-41 with 13:33 left after a layup by Femi Ibikunle. It was mostly New Mexico after that.

  • UNM had a 45-41 lead with 13:32 left in the game before going on an 11-0 run

  • Chad Toppert tied a career-high with 20 points...he also scored 20 against North Carolina A&T and Pepperdine...he also tied a career-high with 6 3s...he had 6 treys against North Carolina A&T...Toppert also tied a career-high with 5 rebounds

  • Darren Prentice had a career-high 8 assists

  • Jamaal Smith scored 13 points off the bench and tied a career-high with 4 rebounds

    New Mexico and San Diego State were picked to finish in a tie 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. BYU was the favorite to win the league.

    J.R. Giddens scored 22 points and freshman Dairese Gary led a key second-half run to lift New Mexico to a 73-63 win over San Diego State on Wednesday night. New Mexico led the entire game as it made 52.3 percent of its shots, including 10-for-18 from 3-point range.

    San Diego State trailed 39-35 less than two minutes into the second half when Gary led a 10-0 run that increased the Lobos' lead to 49-35 at the 13:52 mark. Gary, who scored 12 points, hit a jumper to start the run and scored on consecutive lay-ups following New Mexico steals. Giddens' basket capped the scoring spurt and the Lobos never led by less than eight points the rest of the game.

    Lorrenzo Wade scored 21 points for the Aztecs. Ryan Amoroso finished with 19 points.

  • New Mexico halted a 5-game losing streak against San Diego State

  • The Lobos have won 3 straight conference games for the first time since a 4-game run from Feb. 4-15, 2006

  • UNM's first 16 points came from 6 different players

  • The Lobos are 5-5 on the road this season...they were just 3-19 the previous 2 seasons and 8-43 in five years from 2003-07

  • New Mexico is 17-0 this season when holding opponents to less than 70 points and 17-2 when leading at halftime

  • The Lobos came into the game 2nd in the nation in 3-point shooting at 42.6%, and that percentage is now 43% after UNM canned 10 of 18...the Lobos made their first 5 attempts from 3-point and 24 of their 37 points in the 1st-half came via the 3-pointer, making 8 of 11 from long range

    Senior J.R. Giddens

  • on his 23rd birthday, 22 points and 11 rebounds for his 2nd straight double-double, 8th of the season and the 11th of his collegiate career
  • 7 of 8 from the floor, including a season-high 3 treys in 3 attempts
  • added 4 assists, 2 steals and a career-high 4 blocks
  • was averaging 11 points and shooting 17% (4-23) from 3-point in 9 road games this season entering tonight's game
  • stats for the past 2 games: 58 points on 22-32 FGs, 5-9 3s, 9-13 FTs, plus 22 rebounds, 7 assists, 8 steals and 5 blocks
  • scored 77 points the past 3 games, or 25.7 ppg
  • has made 37 of 53 FGs (70%) the past 4 games, increasing his accuracy in MWC games to 55%

    Senior Jamaal Smith

  • came off the bench to score 13 points on 2-5 FGs, including 2-2 from 3-point, and 7-8 FTs
  • 7 of 7 from 3-pt. the past 3 games and 55.2% (32-58) on the season

    Freshman Dairese Gary

  • 12 points, 9 coming in the 2nd half
  • 22 assists and just 4 turnovers in the past 6 games, covering 164 minutes

    Junior Chad Toppert

  • 8 points off the bench, but just 2 of 8 from 3-point
  • 48 points the past 3 games
  • has made a 3-pointer in 18 straight games
  • season accuracy is now 48.9% (69-141) in all games and 51.6% (32-62) in MWC action
  • career accuracy from 3-point is 45.8% (168-367), 1st all-time at UNM...Troy DeVries is 2nd at 44.95%
  • has 169 3-pointers in his career, 8th place all-time at UNM
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