Stevens: Young & Old Lobos, Bits & Pieces, Burn ASU 76-62
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/16/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 16, 2010

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Lobo Men's Basketball - In The Pit
Tuesday: Lobos 76, Arizona State 62
Saturday: Lobos at Cal-Berkeley
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By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

It was the young and the old of the Lobos - freshman Kendall Williams and senior Dairese Gary. It also was bits and pieces, this and that, and a whole lot of New Mexico in-your -face defense.

The end result was a dismantled Arizona State team that staggered out of The Pit Tuesday night carrying a 76-62 loss.

For sure, the Sun Devils will look back and notice the 18 points and five assists by Gary. They also will remember the 15 points and four treys tossed in by Williams. But as Lobo coach Steve Alford put it, "I thought it was a tremendous team effort."

That's where the "this and that" and "bits and pieces" come in. It seemed like every time Alford dipped into the talent on his bench, that talent did something to spark UNM to its second win of the season.

"That's our depth," said Alford. "There are a lot of guys who can play."

That depth and that bench was a key for UNM after ASU came out and calmly handled the Lobo pressure and The Pit's presence to pound out a 10-3 lead. Alford didn't like everything he saw from his starters and starting throwing out different pieces of the Lobo puzzle.

UNM roared to a 20-to-zip lead and never looked back. "The young guys are growing up quickly and that's what we need them to do," said Alford. "We are showing our ability to defend."

Alford played ten Lobos against ASU and nine Lobos either scored at least four points or pulled down at least five rebounds. Sophomore Jamal Fenton had eight points and three steals. Junior A.J. Hardeman had a solid game with 12 points and five rebounds.

The fresh legs that Alford plucked off his bench also jumped into the game with fresh intensity. The Lobos wore the Sun Devils down as much as they beat them. ASU clawed out of a 27-13 hole to stumble into the locker room down 35-29 at the half. ASU hung around for a while in the second half, but several smaller UNM runs led to the comfortable 14-point win.

The Lobos beat ASU by 12 points from the 3-point line and by two points from the foul line. ASU's Trent Lockett played a solid game and led all scorers with 22 points and tied for rebounding honors with eight. His teammate Jamelle McMillan added eight points and eight boards.

UNM shot 46.4 percent from the floor and ASU shot 40.7 percent. The Lobos had 17 assists to 10 for the visitors from Tempe, Ariz. Williams also had three steals and four assists, but his long bombs are what brought the cheers to The Pit's lips.

"They showed a lot of attention to Dairese, so that helped," said Williams. "Dairese kicked it to me and I just had to hit the open jumper."

Gary also was part of the defensive assignment throw on ASU's All-Pac-10 guard, Ty Abbott. Abbott went 2-of-9 from the floor and had five turnovers.

The Lobos move on to more Pac-10 action at 2 p.m. Saturday when they visit Cal-Berkeley.

Second Half - Lobos 41, Arizona State 33

The action and the athleticism were at a peak to open the second half. UNM opened with a trey by Alex Kirk and another 3-pointer by Kendall Williams put UNM up 43-34. Hardeman threw out a nifty spin move underneath to make it 45-34.

ASU came back. The Sun Devils swatted Hardeman and turned it into a trey that made it 45-39. Hardeman then tipped in a Gary miss and Gary added another layup to make it 49-39. ASU called time at 14:22. At the 13:25 media break, it was still 49-39. Gary had 10 points at that mark and ASU's Trent Lockett had 16.

At the 11:49 break, UNM was up 50-43. The Lobos got a trey from Dennis and two from Williams to jump up 62-49. Williams' second trey was set up by a Dennis pass in midair. ASU called time. At the 6:13 break, it was UNM 62, ASU 51. The Sun Devils simply could not dissolve UNM's lead.

It got worse for ASU. Gary spotted Hardeman on a backdoor cut. Hardeman slammed it down to put UNM up 64-51. UNM called time at 4:39 - up 14. At the 3:50 break, it was UNM 66-52. The fans started trickling out of The Pit. When Gary banked in a long trey off the glass to make it 71-52, the trickle became a stream.

The Lobos rode out the clock to ease into their second win of the season.

First Half - Lobos 35, Arizona State 29

Stat Leaders: Gary 8 pts, Williams 6 pts, Lockett (ASU) 14 pts.

The Lobos used a 20-0 run to pull out of a 13-7 hole into a 27-13 lead. The Sun Devils did a nice job recovering from the blow and threw out an 11-4 closing run to trail 35-29 at the half.

ASU's Trent Lockett led first-half scorers with 14. Gary had eight for UNM followed by Williams with six points. Gary had four turnovers. UNM was down two on the board battle, 18-16. UNM shot 42.9 percent from the floor to 41.4 percent for ASU. The Lobos went 9-of-10 from the line and ASU shot 4-of-8.

The Lobos got a big edge from their bench in the first 20 minutes with 15 bench points to five for ASU.

Neither The Pit nor the Lobos' defense had too much effect on the Sun Devils early. They rolled to a 10-3 lead before UNM's Gary brought a few roars from the crowd with a 10-foot pull-up jumper in the paint that made it 10-5 in ASU's favor.

UNM got a bucket from Curtis Dennis on the baseline and a layup from Cameron Bairstow to cut ASU's lead to 13-9. Momentum was beginning to shift.

Bairstow went to the line at 13:06 and hit two free throws to make it 13-11. The Lobos were on an 8-1 run with more Pit intensity behind them and more defense on the floor. Tony Snell got a put back underneath on a Emmanuel Need miss to tie the game. Fenton then came up with a steal and a layup. The scoreboard that now favored UNM 15-13 convinced ASU to burn a timeout.

UNM came out of the 11:38 media break and worked the ASU zone to give Snell an open look at a trey on the baseline. He drilled it and UNM was up 20-13. Snell drove and fed Chad Adams underneath to push UNM up 20-13. The Pit and the Lobos were now a major thorn in ASU's side.

Fenton missed a long trey badly, but made up for it with a steal on the other end. That led to two Adams' free throws: 22-13. Another steal and another Lobo was at the line. This time Kendall Williams made a solo shot to give UNM a 23-13 cushion. ASU had gone from seven up to 10 down.

At the 7:54 break, UNM had the ball after A.J. Hardeman took a charge. UNM was up 25-13. ASU had not scored since the Sun Devils' 13-7 lead. UNM was on a Pit run. The Sun Devils were falling into a Pit hole.

At 6:58, ASU finally broke its drought with two free throws. UNM was up 27-15. UNM's run ended at 20-to-zip. At the final media break of the half, UNM was up 31-18, coming off a short jumper inside by Hardeman.

ASU got a baseline dunk by Trent Lockett on a power drive at UNM's Gary. ASU followed that with a trey. UNM's lead was down to 33-25. A Snell charge turned into a Russian Pateev tip underneath and Alford burned a timeout at the 1:36 mark with his Lobos up 33-27. ASU was on a 9-2 run.

A strong Gary drive put UNM up 35-27 and ASU's Kyle Cain posted up UNM's Fenton and scored inside to form the 35-29 halftime count.