Stevens: Lobos Beat Texas Tech & Move On To Play 11-3 Dayton
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/29/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 29, 2010

Lobo Men's Basketball - At Dayton
Noon, Lobos at Dayton, Dayton Arena

The Lobos look to raise their 11-2 record in a positive direction Saturday at noon, but Dayton Arena and the Dayton Flyers are not easy marks. The 11-3 Flyers have won four straight and are averaging 10.8 more boards than their opponents during that run.

UNM also will face one of the top power forwards in the nation in Dayton's 6-8 Chris Wright, who averages 13.5 points and 8.6 boards.

The visit to Dayton marks the end of UNM's non-conference schedule on the road. The Lobos finish that non-MWC slate Wednesday in The Pit vs. Cal State Bakersfield.

The Mountain West Conference wars begin next week and the Lobos will be looking to defend their MWC crown in a league that features three Top 25 teams: San Diego State, Brigham Young and UNLV.

Game Notes: New Mexico at Dayton Get Acrobat

Box Score |  Notes

Lobo Men's Basketball - At Texas Tech
Lobos 61, Texas Tech 60

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

It was a win that featured some guts, a nice comeback, and a whole bunch of basketball things that never will be described as "pretty." But the 61-60 Lobo win over Texas Tech definitely slides into the "beautiful" category where all road wins belong.

The Lobos scratched out of a 15-point, first-half deficit, powered into an eight-point lead in the second half and then survived a last-second, running jumper by Tech's Mike Singletary to escape Lubbock's United Spirit Center Wednesday night in non-conference action.

"Our first ten minutes, we weren't very good," said Lobo coach Steve Alford. "The game maybe got a little ugly with all the free throws, but that turned out to be good for us."

A key factor in Lubbock was UNM shooting 19-of-27 (70.4 percent) at the free-throw line to 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) for Tech. The Lobos shot 11 more freebies than the home team. UNM's depth also came into play as Tech had two bench points to 17 for UNM.

"I thought our guys did a good job of just hanging in," said Alford, whose Lobos move on to a road game Saturday at Dayton.

The win over Texas Tech was a game UNM (11-2) had to gut out as the Lobos were outshot 51.1 percent to 42.2 percent and only had two starters in double figures, Phillip McDonald with 12 and Alex Kirk with 10. Freshman Kendall Williams came off the bench to score eight points as he lost his start for being late for a team function.

"We have some young guys learning stuff," said Alford. "There's nothing wrong with them. It's just being young and learning consequences."

Dairese Gary also scored eight points, but had only a single assist. UNM won the board battle 32-22, led by Drew Gordon with 11 rebounds. "Drew gets twice as many rebounds as anybody on the floor," said Alford. "He's trying to get into the flow. He'll settle down and be a go-to guy for us."

The Lobos' grabbed their biggest lead of the night, 55-47, before Tech made a charge and tied the game at 57-all with 1:58 to play. The Lobos got a layup and two free throws from Gary to reach their 61 points. UNM was up 61-58.

The Lobos had a chance to ice the game, but Gary drove into pressure on a drive and was called for walking with 7.7 seconds to play. Singleton had a nice look at the basket, but his running jumper with one tick to play was off target and ended in A.J. Hardeman's strong hands.

"It wasn't a huge game of transition, but in the second half we got into a roll and took the lead up to (eight) because of transition," said Alford. "We are 11-2 and we are happy with that because there is an enormous amount of growth we can have at both ends of the floor.

"Anytime you are coming off a loss, it's difficult. Today we had to get back into the ring and prove we could win again."

Second Half: Lobos 34, Texas Tech 27

The Lobos scored first, and second, in the second half getting buckets from Hardeman and Kirk. The Lobos then cut their gap to 33-32 on a free throw by Williams. Tech's Paul Cooper got post position on Kirk, dunked it and got fouled by a reaching Kirk. Cooper missed the extra shot to keep the board at 35-32.

McDonald scored inside to make it 35-34 at the 15:45 media break. The Lobos still had not led in this non-conference road game. That ended quickly at the 15:24 mark as UNM went into transition off a long Tech rebound. Williams finished at the other end to make it 36-35 in UNM's favor.

Tony Snell got fouled on a short jumper and made both free shots: 38-35. UNM had its biggest lead. It got bigger, 40-35, on a Hardeman bucket inside. Tech called time at 13:22, down five points.

UNM went inside to Cooper who powered past Gordon for a short jumper: 40-37. Cooper made his second free throw of the year to make it 40-38. UNM's Jamal Fenton scored on a drive and a soft bank shot: 42-38. UNM held that lead and the ball at the 11:57 media stop.

At the next break, UNM had its biggest lead up to that point: 52-45. McDonald hit back-to-back treys to finalize that seven-point Lobo lead at the 7:24 mark. UNM went up 55-47 before Alford called time at 5:30 with his Lobos up 55-50. At the 3:46 media break, Tech had cut UNM's lead to 57-54.

The Lobos came out of the huddle and turned the ball over. Tech turned that UNM miscue into a Singletary jumper: 57-56. Gordon got fouled at 2:27, but missed the front end of a one-and-one. Tech tied the game 57-all when Singletary went to the line and made one. UNM called time at 1:52.

UNM came out of their huddle and sent Gary at the basket hard. He scored a layup and UNM was back up 59-57. Kirk fouled out at 1:17 sending Singletary to the line. The Raider made one: 59-58. Gary smashed into Cooper on a drive and the Red Raider was called for the block. Gary made it 61-58, making both shots from the line.

Tech's Brad Reese drove the baseline and made a layup over Gordon's back: 61-60. Tech called time with 41.3 left to play. UNM had the ball. Gary dribbled the ball over the half-court line and UNM's Alford called time at 34.4. UNM worked the ball down to the 7.7 count, turning it over as Gary drove into pressure and was called for walking with two seconds on the shot clock.

Tech had a chance to finish and win. Singleton drove the lane and missed a running jumper looking for his 19th and 20th points. Hardeman got the board and UNM got the 61-60 win.

First Half: Texas Tech 33, Lobos 27
Lobo Stat Leaders: Gordon 5 pts, 5 rebs.; Williams 5 pts., Snell 5 pts.

It was one of those halves that could have been better, could have been worse. UNM's six-point deficit at the half wasn't all that bad for a team that opened the game with six turnovers to no assists. The Lobos were shooting 2-of-11 when they slipped into a 15-point hole.

The Lobos cut that 25-10 hole to 27-26 off a 16-to-2 run finished by a Gary trey. Tech scored late in the half to pull into the 33-27 halftime score. Tech shot 58.3 percent in the first half to 28 percent for UNM. UNM turned the ball over early in the half (7) and Tech got sloppy at the end of the half (9 turnovers) to help turn the scoreboard more to UNM's favor.

The Red Raiders got off to a hot and quick start at their United Spirit Center. Going into the first media break, Tech was up 14-6 off 6-of-7 shooting accented by some easy transition buckets. UNM came out of the huddle and lost the ball on an offensive foul by Gordon and Tech scored inside to extend its lead to 16-6.

At the 11:44 break, the Lobos had cut that 10-point lead by a single digit, 19-10. The Lobos got four points inside on two free shots by Kirk and a dunk by Gordon on a follow. At the 7:46 break, Tech was up 25-12 and that was after Hardeman scored on a follow to cut the Raiders' lead to 13 points. UNM was shooting 3-of-12 from the field with six turnovers and no assists.

The game then shifted in UNM's favor. The Lobos got some help from Tech with some sloppy ball handling that led to a few Tech turnovers. Williams came off the bench to score four straight points and fed McDonald for a dunk to cut Tech's bulge to 25-18. Tech called time after watching its 15-point lead slip to seven.

Tech came out of that huddle and turned the ball over on an offensive foul. Gordon got fouled inside and converted one free shot to make it 25-19. Tech scored inside to go up 27-19. Fenton went the length of the court to get fouled on a drive. He makes both free shots to make the score 27-21.

Gordon cut Tech's led to 27-23 following his own miss. A Gary trey pulled UNM to 27-26 before Tech answered with a trey to make it 30-26. Singletary drove on Gordon and scored and also went to the line. He converted to push Tech up 33-27.