Lobos Open MWC Play at Wyoming on Saturday
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/03/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 3, 2008

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  • Pack The Pit vs. San Diego State on Jan. 12 - All Tickets $10

    Surging New Mexico (13-2) opens its ninth season of Mountain West Conference competition Saturday with a road game at Wyoming (6-6). Tipoff is 4:05 p.m. from the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie. The game can be seen live nationally on CSTV with Tom Hart and Sean Farnham, plus live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com.

    After a home absence of what will be 20 days, New Mexico returns to The Pit on Saturday, Jan. 12 to face San Diego State. It's Pack The Pit night with all tickets available for just $10.

    Winners of six straight games, New Mexico is coming off a thrilling 86-85 overtime victory at UTEP on Wednesday. Wyoming lost at UTEP 79-73 on Dec. 22. More facts about the Lobos:

  • Just two wins shy of matching last season's total, UNM is 13-2 for only the second time in the past nine seasons...the 2004-05 squad - led by Danny Granger - started 14-2...the Lobos started 16-2 in 1998-99

  • New Mexico's last 6-game winning streak was a 9-game run from Feb. 14-March 12, 2005...the last three games of that run were against BYU, San Diego State and Utah in the MWC Tournament in Denver

  • The Lobos' current 6-game winning streak began Dec. 8 when Chad Toppert and Roman Martinez were inserted into the starting lineup...UNM is 6-0 with Martinez, Toppert, Daniel Faris, Dairese Gary and J.R. Giddens as starters

  • At UTEP, senior J.R. Giddens was 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

  • The Lobos have not won at Wyoming since a 62-61 decision in 1995, a streak that has reached 10 games

  • New Mexico has not won its first conference road game of the season since 2001, a 75-67 victory at San Diego State...that's 6 straight losses

  • After going 3-19 in true road games in Ritchie McKay's final two seasons, New Mexico is 3-2 this season and has won consecutive non-conference road games for the first time since the 2004-05 season (at New Mexico State and at Texas-Arlington)...the losses this year have come at Ole Miss and New Mexico State...Ole Miss is 13-0 and ranked No. 18 in both polls heading into next week's showdown at Tennessee

  • The last time New Mexico won three straight true road games - on the opponent's home floor - was 2000-01: at New Mexico State, Gonzaga and San Diego State

    Wyoming is 6-6 on the season after getting past Chadron (Neb.) State 76-67 Monday in Laramie. The Cowboys are 4-1 at the Arena-Auditorium this season. First-year Wyoming head coach Heath Schroyer has faced New Mexico before. His Portland State team lost to the Lobos in The Pit 69-52 on Dec. 28, 2002.

    The Cowboys are paced by the high-scoring guard tandem of Brandon Ewing (17.5 ppg) and Brad Jones (13.6 ppg). Ewing leads the MWC in scoring, assists (5.08) and minutes played (37.25). Although just 6-1, Jones is 1st in the league in offensive rebounds (3.18) and 3rd in total rebounds (7.5). He is also 2nd in minutes played (36.0), 4th in assists (3.91) and 12th in scoring.

    As a team, Wyoming is 1st in the loop in blocked shots (5.33 a game), but last in scoring defense (72.8 ppg), scoring margin (-0.8) and turnover margin (-4.0).

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

    Alford is 321-185 (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.

    This is Alford's first game against Wyoming.

    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 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.

    Wyoming was picked to finish 6th. BYU was the favorite to win the league.

    New Mexico has a 52-64 overall record in the Mountain West Conference, 39-19 in The Pit and 13-45 on the road. UNM is 7-37 in league road games the past six seasons.

    Picked to finish fifth in last year's MWC preseason poll, New Mexico finished 4-12, tying TCU for eighth - or last - place. UNM lost 12 conference games for the first time since 1959 when it finished 1-13 in the Skyline Conference.

    UNM endured its fifth MWC losing record in the past seven seasons. The Lobos' only winning mark in league play since 2000 was 10-4 in 2005. UNM was 8-8 in 2005-06. New Mexico never had a losing league record from 1984-2000, a span of 17 seasons.

    Wyoming had a 7-9 record in the MWC, finishing in 6th place. BYU won the conference title with a 13-3 mark.

    New Mexico has a 4-4 record in MWC openers, but it has lost four of the past five. The Lobos have a 2-6 ledger in MWC lid-lifters on the road, including six straight losses since 2002: at TCU, Utah, Air Force, Wyoming twice and Colorado State. The last win in a MWC road opener was 75-67 at San Diego State in 2001.

    It's the 115th meeting and the Pokes have a 62-52 lead. Each team won on its home floor last year, UNM 91-83 in The Pit and Wyoming 76-67 in Laramie. There were 57 fouls called and 82 free throws attempted in the game in Albuquerque.

    Wyoming has taken 11 of the 16 MWC games in the series, and it has won 10 straight in Laramie. UNM's last win at the Double-A was Feb. 18, 1995, by a 62-61 count.

    Brandon Ewing scored 20 points in leading Wyoming over New Mexico 76-67 in a rematch of two teams that were involved in a brawl during their first meeting in January.

    A brawl broke out the last time the teams played, on Jan. 31 at New Mexico, and players from both teams were suspended for the game in Laramie: Wyoming's Brad Jones, as well as New Mexico's Jamaal Smith and Darren Prentice.

    Wyoming got well ahead in the first half and New Mexico came no closer than nine points after that.

    Ewing hit all nine of his free throws, including four in the final minute to help keep the Lobos out of reach despite baskets by Tony Danridge and David Kanyinda.

    The Cowboys used an 18-4 run to go up 26-14 in the first half. The run began on a 3-pointer by Eric Platt that put the Cowboys ahead 11-10. In the final minutes of the first half, Ewing made two baskets and three free throws to give Wyoming a 37-24 lead at intermission. Early in the second half, Ewing scored another basket and two free throws for the Cowboys' widest lead of the game, 43-26.

    After Ewing, Platt scored 14 points and James Spencer had 13. Ike Okoye had eight rebounds.

    New Mexico was led by J.R. Giddens' 15 points. Giddens also had nine rebounds. Danridge had 13 points and Kanyinda 10 points.

  • New Mexico used its 17th different starting lineup of the season

  • The Lobos missed their first 11 3-pointers before Kellen Walter connected late in the first half...New Mexico finished 5 of 21 from 3-point for 23.8%...UNM came into the game averaging 9.57 treys a game and shooting 38.2% from long range

  • Wyoming shot 57.4% (27-47) from the floor, the best against UNM since Colorado State converted 63% (31-49) in The Pit on Jan. 6

    SEASON NO. 105
    The 2007-08 season is the 105th in school history. The Lobos first laced up the hightops on Feb. 2, 1900, when they lost 8-6 to the Albuquerque Guards. While this season is actually the 106th 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 1,277-999 (.560). New Mexico was 420-498 (.457) from 1900-62, but has gone 857-501 (.630) over the past 44-plus seasons, an average of nearly 19 wins per year.

    The Lobos have made 27 trips to the postseason during that span, including 11 appearances in the NCAA Tournament and 16 showings in the NIT.

    Lobo senior Tony Danridge suffered a broken left fibula during a game with teammates on Oct. 4. He had surgery on Oct. 8 and is expected to miss three months. Danridge, a 6-5 senior from San Bernardino, Calif., posted 12.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per game last season and was named 3rd team All-MWC. He was the only Lobo to play in all 95 games over the past three seasons, not missing a game to this point in his Lobo career. He does have a redshirt year available.

    J.R. Giddens had 20 points and 19 rebounds and Chad Toppert added 14 points, leading New Mexico to an 86-85 overtime win over Texas-El Paso on Wednesday night.

    Daniel Faris and Darren Prentice each scored 13 for the Lobos in a rough-and-tumble thriller that will be remembered as one of the best contests in the history of the 79-year-old rivalry.

    Freshman Dairese Gary and Jamaal Smith each scored 10 as New Mexico won its sixth straight. The Miners lost their first home game in seven tries this season.

    Stephon Jackson and Randy Culpepper each scored 17 for UTEP, though Jackson -- the nation's sixth-leading scorer with a 25.5-point average -- picked up two fouls in the first four minutes and sat most of the first half, scoring just two points.

    It was a nailbiter most of the night until UTEP coach Tony Barbee, who got a technical foul late in the first half, was ejected after being whistled for his second technical with 3:11 remaining in overtime.

    That was just enough of an opening for the Lobos, who finally delivered a knockout punch. Toppert made 1-of-2 foul shots for the technical, Jamaal Smith added two more free throws and Prentice scored on a fastbreak. Just like that, the Lobos led 76-67 with 2:30 to go, flattening the crowd of 10,973 fans.

    UTEP trimmed the deficit to 82-76 with 41 seconds remaining on a bucket by Marvin Kilgore and it was 84-79 seconds later when Culpepper hit a 3-pointer, but the Miners just couldn't make up the difference. Prentice made 1 of 2 free throws with 4 seconds on the clock, just enough for the victory when Kilgore made a meaningless 3-pointer at the horn.

    Both teams missed a chance to finish it in regulation. Jackson made two free throws with 1:23 remaining to put UTEP up 64-62 but Giddens tied it when he collected his own missed shot and drew a foul, making both free throws to tie it at 64-64 with 53.3 seconds to play. On UTEP's ensuing possession, Jackson missed a 20-footer and Gary came away with the ball for the Lobos.

    After a New Mexico timeout, Giddens drove the right baseline and missed a floater, and Daniel Faris got the rebound but missed a putback at the regulation buzzer.

  • UNM is 3-2 away from home and has won consecutive non-conference road games for the first time since the 2004-05 season (at New Mexico State and at Texas-Arlington)

  • The Lobos have won 3 road games in 2007-08, equaling their entire total from the past two seasons when they went 3-19...it's the most road wins since going 5-5 in 2004-05

  • The Lobos and Miners played their 10th overtime game in the 139-game history of the series...the OT record between the two schools is tied at 5-5, although UNM has won the last 4

  • New Mexico had lost its past 4 overtime games away from Albuquerque...the last win had been 68-65 at New Mexico State during the 2000-01 season

  • UNM is 12-0 this season when leading at halftime and 12-0 when out-rebounding its opponent...the Lobos led the Miners 36-28 at the break and gathered 56 rebounds to UTEP's 45

  • UNM trailed 8-0, but then scored the next 14 points for a 14-8 advantage...J.R. Giddens scored 11 of the Lobos' first 14 points

  • New Mexico kept the lead until the second half when the Miners went up 46-45...the Lobos trailed 62-57 late in regulation, but outscored UTEP 7-2 over the last 3:53 to force overtime...UNM led 82-72 in overtime before hanging on at the end

  • UNM shot a season-low 36.1% (22-61), including 23.8% (5-21) from 3-point...the Lobos made 8 of their first 16 shots from the floor, but finished the half making just 3 of their last 15 tries

  • UNM has shot just 24% (7-29) from 3-point the past 2 games

  • UTEP shot a season-low 33.3% (23-69) from the field, 21.2% (7-33) in the 1st half...the Miners' previous season-low was 41.3% (26-63) against New Mexico State on Nov. 27 in El Paso

  • UNM held UTEP to a season-low-tying 28 points in the 1st half...the Miners trailed UNLV 39-28

  • New Mexico limited UTEP junior guard Stefon Jackson to 17 points on 5-15 shooting, 7-8 FTs, and 1 rebound...Jackson, who scored 25 against the Lobos last year, came into the game averaging 25.5 points and a team-high 5 rebounds

  • The Lobos made their first 10 free throws and finished the game by hitting 37-of-52 (71%)...that's the most FTs made and attempted since a 40-of-53 performance against Utah on March 1, 2003

    Senior J.R. Giddens

  • scored 20 points in 43 minutes, and set career-highs with 19 rebounds and 7 assists
  • the 19 rebounds are the most by a Lobo since Lewis LaMar had 22 against Fresno State on Feb. 26, 1994
  • recorded his 2nd straight double-double, 4th of the season and 7th of his career
  • averaging 18.3 points and 13 rebounds in the past 3 games

    Freshman Dairese Gary

  • had a career-high 9 rebounds to go along with 10 points and 4 assists
  • has 22 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists the past 2 games

    Junior Daniel Faris

  • finished with 13 points for his 4th straight game scoring in double figures
  • scored 6 points in overtime, including 4-of-4 from the FT line
  • has averaged 13.5 points over the past 4 games

    Junior Chad Toppert

  • had 14 points and 7 rebounds
  • set career-highs with 9 FTs made and 10 FTs attempted
  • converted 1-6 from 3-pt, the 3rd straight game he has failed to make at least 2 3s in a game
  • season accuracy is 47.5% (38-80) while his career percentage of 44.77% (137-306) is now 2nd-best in UNM history...Troy DeVries is 1st at 44.95%
  • has 137 3-pointers in his career, 3 from moving into the top-10 all-time at UNM

    Reserves Darren Prentice and Jamaal Smith

  • combined to score 21 of their 23 points in the 2nd half
  • Smith scored all 10 of his after the break, Prentice 11 of 13, including a free throw with 4.7 seconds left that was the eventual difference in the 1-point victory...Prentice scored 8 points in overtime

    The Lobos have won 31 consecutive non-conference home games, and 47 of the past 48. the last loss was 81-64 to 5th-ranked Wake Forest on Dec. 22, 2004.

    New Mexico side-swiped Weber State 62-32 at home on Dec. 23. The 32 points ties for the fewest by a Lobo opponent in The Pit, which opened in December of 1966. UNM beat BYU 74-32 on Feb. 3, 1997.

    It also ties for the fewest points allowed by a Steve Alford-coached team during his 17-year coaching career. On March 12, 1999, Alford's Southwest Missouri State squad beat Wisconsin 43-32 in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament in Charlotte N.C.

    It was 34-12 UNM at halftime. The 12 points are the fewest by a UNM opponent in the first half since Dec. 29, 1972, when the Lobos had a 40-9 halftime lead over Dartmouth.

    New Mexico really put the clamps on the opponents' top scorers in a couple of non-conference games:

  • University of San Diego: USD's top-2 scorers - Brandon Johnson and Gyno Pomare - were held to a combined 14 points and 4 rebounds...they came into the game averaging 31.6 points and 10.7 rebounds...Pomare had a season-low 4 points

  • Texas Tech: Martin Zeno and Alan Voskuil had just 5 points and 0 rebounds...the duo was averaging 30.3 points and 10.1 rebounds...Zeno was held scoreless and had just 1 FG attempt in 5 minutes, while Voskuil (1-6 FGs, 2-2 FTs) didn't score until 3:31 into the second half on a pair of FTs

  • UTEP: Stefon Jackson had 17 points on 5-15 shooting, 7-8 FTs, and 1 rebound...Jackson came into the game 6th in the nation in scoring, averaging 25.5 points, and a team-high 5 rebounds...he scored just 2 points and had no rebounds in the 1st half

    IT'S A REAL T.E.A.M.
    Some pretty interesting facts about the 10-man Lobos team through the first 15 games of the season:

  • All 10 Lobos have played in every game this season, and all 10 are averaging between 11.3 and 30 minutes a game

  • With 15 games in the books, you could say there have been a total of 150 opportunities to score: 15 games x 10 players...amazingly, only 13 times has a Lobo not gotten into the scoring column this season...it's the same with rebounding: just 14 times has a Lobo failed to get a carom

  • Eight different players - out of 10 on the roster - have led the team in scoring, and that happened in the first 14 games

  • Only one Lobo - J.R. Giddens - ranks in the top-20 in the Mountain West Conference in scoring...Giddens is 15th at 12.7 points a game

    And, since everyone plays the Lobo bench has made huge contributions. The reserves contributed 49 points in the 86-58 win over Loyola Marymount, including 19 of the first 23 and 26 of 43 in the first half.

    UNM's reserves have scored 40.8% (462 of 1,133) of the points and pulled down 39.4% (199 of 505) of the individual rebounds this season. That's averages of 30.8 points and 13.3 rebounds a game.

    The Lobos opened the season by shooting a chilly 60.4% from the free-throw line in the first 6 games. The past 9 contests, the accuracy is 72.2% (164-227), raising the season percentage to 68.3%.

    The Lobos' 81.8% (9-11) accuracy from 3-point against Texas Tech is a school record and it tied the Mountain West Conference record (San Diego State - Dec. 15, 2006). The previous UNM record was 72.2% (13-18) vs. San Francisco State in 2003.

    Junior Chad Toppert continues to swing back and forth for the top spot as UNM's most accurate 3-point shooter. He has made 44.77% (137-306) of his tries, No. 2 on list. Troy DeVries is 1st at 44.95% (147-327).

    Toppert is 2nd in the league in 3-point shooting (2.75 a game) and accuracy (47.5%) this season.

    For the first time since the 3-point shot was introduced into college basketball before the 1986-87 season, UNM canned at least 13 3-pointers in three straight games. The historic feat came during the Basketball Travelers Invitational when the Lobos were 13 of 28 against Presbyterian, 13 of 28 against St. Bonaventure and 13 of 26 against Loyola Marymount. That's a 47.6% clip for the 3-game tournament.

    UNM has made a 3-pointer in 563 straight games, the 12th-longest active streak in NCAA Div. I. UNLV is 1st at more than 660 games. The last time UNM failed to connect from long range was Jan. 3, 1991, missing on 8 attempts against Colorado State in The Pit.

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