Lobos Travel to BYU Saturday
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/24/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 24, 2008

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  • Final Student Ticket Distribution on Jan. 30

    In a battle of the top-scoring teams in the Mountain West Conference, New Mexico (16-4, 3-2 MWC) visits BYU (14-5, 3-1 MWC) Saturday. Tipoff is 4:05 p.m. from the Marriott Center in Provo.

    The game can be seen live on The Mtn. with Rich Cellini and Blaine Fowler, plus live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com.

    At 16-4, UNM has its best record since 1998-99 when it started 17-4. Additionally, Steve Alford has equaled his best start in 17 seasons as an NCAA Div. I head coach. His 2000-01 Iowa team also started 16-4, and, eventually got to 17-4.

    New Mexico improved its MWC record to 3-2 Tuesday with a hard-fought 77-67 overtime win over Utah. It's the third straight overtime game contested by the Lobos and Utes. UNM led 31-19 in the first half, but fell behind 56-47 with 8:35 left in regulation.

    BYU is 14-5 overall and 3-1 in the MWC after slipping past league-leading San Diego State 59-56 Wednesday in Provo. The Cougars, picked to win the MWC in the preseason poll, have won 41 consecutive games at the Marriott Center, currently the nation's 2nd-longest homecourt streak. Top-ranked Memphis enters Saturday's game against Gonzaga having captured 42 straight at home.


  • 20 games into the season, UNM has surpassed last year's victory total (15-17)...it needs one MWC win to equal last year's total (4-10)

  • BYU has won 4 straight against New Mexico...the last time the Cougars won 5 in a row over the Lobos was between Jan. 3, 1980 - Jan. 4, 1982

  • New Mexico has lost 7 in a row to the Cougars in Provo...UNM's last win at the Marriott Center was 78-74 on Feb. 17, 2000

  • Three of New Mexico's last 6 games have been decided in OT and UNM has won all three...the Lobos have won 3 straight overtime games for the first time since 1991-92...UNM played 4 OT games last year

  • After going 3-19 in true road games the past two seasons and just 8-43 in five years from 2003-07, UNM is 4-3 this year...the Lobos actually won three in a row (at Hawai'i, UTEP, Wyoming) for the first time since 2000-01 (at New Mexico State, Gonzaga and San Diego State)

  • Saturday's game features the top-2 scoring and top-2 rebounding teams in the MWC

  • The Lobos lead the MWC in scoring (75.3 ppg), scoring margin (+12.9), 3-point FGs (8.58 pg), 3-point percentage (42.4%) and assists (17.15 apg)

  • BYU leads the MWC in FG pct. defense (38.8) and rebound margin (+6.4)

  • Through games of Sunday, Jan. 20, New Mexico was 3rd in the nation in 3-point accuracy at 42.4%...that figure is now 42.5%...it's even better in 5 MWC games at 43.6%...in 7 road games, UNM is shooting 49.7% and making 7.9 treys a game

  • UNM hopes another 7-game winning streak is in the works...that's been the pattern as the Lobos began the season 7-0 followed by two losses...then came another 7-game run, and, again, two more losses

  • How much better is Lobo senior J.R. Giddens' overall game? After 20 games, the 6-5 swingman has surpassed or is nearing season-highs for rebounds, assists, blocks and steals:

    Rebounds - 169 in 26 games in 2006-07 - 173 in 2007-08
    Assists - 60 in 26 games in 2006-07 - 61in 2007-08
    Blocks - 22 in 30 games in 2004-05 - 21 in 2007-08
    Steals - 25 in 30 games in 2004-05 - 24 in 2007-08
    FG Pct. - 47.5 in 2003-04 - 48.8 in 2007-08

  • Giddens is the only player in the MWC who ranks in the top-12 in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks

  • 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

  • The Lobos are averaging 11.1 turnovers in 13 home games, and just 8.25 in the past 4 in The Pit...it's a lot different on the road where the average is 18.1 in 7 away games

  • New Mexico is 12-1 at home this year, winning by an average margin of 19.1 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

    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 324-187 (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 facing BYU for the first time in his career.

    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.

    It's game No. 122 in a series that started Jan. 29, 1950. BYU has a 71-50 lead and has won 4 straight, 14 of the past 18 overall and 7 in a row in Provo. The Cougars lead 11-5 in MWC games.

    UNM-BYU: LAST YEAR IN PROVO Keena Young scored 23 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead BYU to a 96-83 win.

    New Mexico used a 9-1 run that featured five points by Ryan Kersten to cut a 20-point Cougar lead to 12 with 2:00 remaining in the game, but that was as close as the Lobos could get.

    In the first half, BYU used a 10-2 run to turn a 10-10 game into an eight-point lead at 20-12 with 12:36 remaining. The Lobos could get no closer than five the rest of the way.

    The Cougars controlled the boards with a 41-27 rebounding advantage and out-shot the Lobos 60 to 48 percent from the field. Fifty-eight of BYU's points came in the paint.

    J.R. Giddens who went scoreless from the field against BYU in Albuquerque, scored a team-high 19 points followed by Kersten with 13 off the bench.

  • The Lobos allowed their most points in a conference game since 2003 when Wyoming won 103-91 in The Pit

  • New Mexico was 14 of 26 from 3-point, the 2nd-most made this season...it's the most 3s in an MWC game since knocking down 14 at BYU in 2004

  • The Lobos were outrebounded 41-27 and BYU had a 58-22 scoring edge in the paint

  • J.R. Giddens finished with a team-high 19 points on 8 of 13 FGs for his best scoring output in 7 games, since scoring 26 against Utah on Jan. 13...he was scoreless in 13 minutes against BYU in The Pit

    Freshman Jonathan Tavernari scored 18 points and BYU used a late first half run to take control in a 70-49 win.

    Tavernari tied his career high on a night when Keena Young, the Cougars leading scorer, scored just eight points, six of them in the game's final five minutes. Trent Plaisted added 11 points for the Cougars. Tony Danridge led the Lobos with 21 points as New Mexico scored a season-low point total.

    J.R. Giddens, the Lobos' leading scorer, did not start and went scoreless. He left the game with 12:24 in the second half with an injured left ankle.

    BYU took control by scoring the last 11 points of the first half for a 37-28 lead. The Cougars hit their last six shots of the first half after the teams had traded the lead 17 times, plus four ties. Tavernari hit back-to-back 3-pointers, reserve guard Sam Burgess hit two free throws and a 3-pointer in the run.

    New Mexico got within 43-37 with 13:27 left on a 3-point play by Danridge, but Tavernari hit a layup while all alone under the basket and after Giddens went out, Tavernari hit a bankshot and the Cougars regained the momentum for good.

  • The 21-point margin is the Lobos' largest home loss since a 68-42 setback to Air Force on Jan. 17, 2004

  • BYU equaled its biggest win over New Mexico in Albuquerque since an 83-62 decision on Feb. 26, 1998...it was that game 9 years ago that snapped the Lobos' 41-game homecourt winning streak

  • The first half featured 4 ties and 17 lead changes, however, BYU closed with an 11-0 run to take a 37-28 halftime lead and never trailed again...the Cougars hit their last 6 shots of the first half while New Mexico's last 7 trips of the 1st half resulted in 3 turnovers and 4 missed shots...UNM did not score the final 3:41 of the 1st stanza

    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.

    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.

    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 likely out for the season. Danridge does have a redshirt year available. A 6-5 senior from San Bernardino, Calif., Danridge averaged 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.

    Daniel Faris scored 15 points and J.R. Giddens and Chad Toppert both had 14 to lead New Mexico to a 77-67 overtime victory against Utah on Tuesday night.

    Jamaal Smith had five points and Giddens and Dairese Gary both added four in the overtime for the Lobos, who beat the Utes for the sixth straight time at The Pit.

    Giddens and Smith both missed potential game-winning shots in the final 15 seconds of regulation and Tyler Kepkay missed one for Utah.

    The Lobos had nine free throws as they outscored Utah 17-7 in the overtime.

    New Mexico held Utah center Luke Nevill, who came into the game averaging a team-high 13.6 points, without a shot in taking a 31-21 halftime lead.

    The New Mexico bench was called for a technical foul with 12:04 left. It erased a 3-pointer by Roman Martinez and helped spark an 18-1 run that put Utah up 53-45.

    The Lobos responded with a 13-3 run, regaining the lead on two free throws by Martinez with 3:15 left.

  • The Lobos and Utes played their 3rd straight overtime game...they each won at home last year

  • New Mexico has won 6 straight against Utah in The Pit, the longest streak since 9 in a row from 1967-75

  • The Lobos outscored Utah 13-3 in the final 3:20 of overtime

  • UNM made its last 9 free throws and 13 of its final 15

  • The Lobos held Utah to its lowest scoring half of the season (21 in the 1st half)

  • The Lobos came into the game averaging 5.8 steals a game, but had 9 in the game and 7 in the 1st half

  • Utah center Luke Nevill finished with 13 points and 9 rebounds before fouling out with 4:40 left in OT...his first points came at the 8:45 mark of the 1st half on 2 free throws, but his first basket did not come until the 17:27 mark of the 2nd half...Nevill averages 10.5 shots a game, but was 4 of 6 tonight...he did not attempt a FG in 17 first-half minutes...he was 5 of 10 from the FT line

  • There was a 21-point swing in the game...the Lobos led 31-19 in the 1st half, but then trailed 53-45 after an 18-1 Utah run...it was 56-47 in the Utes' favor before New Mexico went on an 11-0 burst to take a 58-56 advantage...Utah was held scoreless for a span of 6:24

  • New Mexico is 14-0 this year when holding opponents under 70 points

  • UNM out-rebounded Utah 36-33, including 12-6 on the offensive glass...New Mexico is 14-1 this year when grabbing more boards than the opponent

  • The Lobos had a 30-20 scoring edge in the paint, 23-13 off turnovers and 16-8 on second chances

  • Despite playing an extra 5 minutes, New Mexico committed a season-low 7 turnovers, the 6th time this year it has had fewer than 10

  • New Mexico is 12-1 at home this season, winning by an average of 19.1 points

    Junior Daniel Faris

  • scored 15 points, his best career output in an MWC game...also had 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal and 0 turnovers in 34 minutes
  • attempted a career-high 16 shots, more than twice his per-game average of 7 coming into the game
  • had 4 points and 3 rebounds in the first 4 minutes
  • had 0 points and 3 rebounds in 20 minutes last Saturday against Air Force

    Junior Chad Toppert

  • 14 points on 4-8 shots from 3-point...also 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 0 turnovers
  • has made a 3-pointer in 13 straight games
  • has made 13-23 3-pointers in his last 3 games against Utah
  • career accuracy from 3-point is 45.23% (152-336), 1st all-time at UNM...Troy DeVries is 2nd at 44.95%
  • has 152 3-pointers in his career, 8th place all-time at UNM

    Senior J.R. Giddens

  • 14 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block and 1 steal
  • 173 rebounds and 61 assists are season-highs in his 4-year collegiate career

    Senior Jamaal Smith

  • 12 points (5-5 FTs), 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal in 19 minutes off the bench
  • 5 points and 3 rebounds in the last 48 seconds of overtime

    Sophomore Roman Martinez

  • 8 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 0 turnovers in a career-high 39 minutes

    Freshman Dairese Gary

  • 10 points on 2-4 FGs and 6-6 FTs, plus 2 assists and 0 turnovers
  • tied a career-high with 4 steals

    In New Mexico's 59-44 win over Air Force on Jan. 19, the score was 0-0 until the 14:42 mark of the first half. That's when J.R. Giddens got a steal and a breakaway layin. The basket came on the Lobos' 9th possession of the game.

    Air Force's first points came shortly thereafter at the 14:10 mark on a 3-pointer by Andrew Henke. The Falcons missed their first 5 shots, got the 3-pointer from Henke, then missed their next 9 to start 1 of 15 from the floor.

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