Jan. 14, 2008
New Mexico (14-3, 1-1 MWC) hopes the road continues to be kind when it visits TCU (9-6, 1-1 MWC) Tuesday. Tipoff is 7:05 p.m. MST from Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth.
The game can be seen live on CSTV with Tom Hart and Sean Farnham, plus live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com.
The Lobos are 14-3 overall and 1-1 in the MWC after falling Saturday at home to San Diego State 72-67. UNM led the Aztecs 24-10 in the first half and 33-25 at the break. The loss put a halt to UNM's 7-game winning streak in all games and a 10-game string in The Pit.
TCU improved to 1-1 in conference and 9-6 overall after ripping Wyoming 83-56 Saturday in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs bolted to leads of 13-0, 22-4 and 40-22 at halftime. They also held a 46-32 rebounding edge over the Cowboys.
Tidbits about the Lobos heading into Tuesday's game:
NEW MEXICO-TCU SERIES
New Mexico has an 8-4 lead in the series, although the Horned Frogs took two of three last year, including a 62-54 win in the first round of the MWC Tournament in Las Vegas. UNM led that game 28-14 in the first half, but missed its first 8 shots after halftime as TCU roared back. The Frogs also held a 21-7 rebounding edge in the second half. TCU grabbed a 64-52 win in Fort Worth in the conference opener, while the Lobos won 74-58 in The Pit. The Horned Frogs have a 3-1 lead in games played in Fort Worth.
MORE ON THE HORNED FROGS
TCU finished 13-17 last season and tied New Mexico for eighth place in the MWC with a 4-12 record. Neil Dougherty is in his 7th season as head coach at TCU. He is 70- 98. Dougherty has a 2-3 record against UNM, 1-1 in Fort Worth.
LAST YEAR IN FORT WORTH
Brent Hackett scored 20 points and TCU overcame a first half deficit to beat New Mexico 64-52. TCU trailed 33-28 at halftime, but took control by starting the second half with a 14-0 run. The Horned Frogs improved from 38 percent field goal shooting in the first half to 57 percent in the second. For its part, New Mexico started strong but went cold, making only six of 24 field goal attempts in the second half, or 25 percent.
Hackett shot 60 percent from the field, including four 3-pointers on seven attempts. Kevin Langford added 14 points and Alvarado Parker had 12. J.R. Giddens led the Lobos with 16 points and Darren Prentice had 12. Aaron Johnson had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Alford is 322-186 (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 0-2 in his career against TCU with both games coming while he was at Southwest Missouri. 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.
UNM PREDICTED FOR 4TH-PLACE FINISH IN MOUNTAIN WEST
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.
UNM ALL-TIME IN THE MWC
New Mexico has a 53-65 record in the Mountain West Conference, 39-20 in The Pit and 14-45 on the road. UNM is 8-37 in league road games since 2001.
NEW MEXICO LAST YEAR IN THE MWC
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.
SAN DIEGO STATE RECAP AND POSTGAME NOTES
Lorrenzo Wade scored 19 of his 23 points in the second half and San Diego State rallied from a 14-point first-half deficit to beat New Mexico 72-67 on Saturday night.
With the win, the Aztecs ended New Mexico's seven-game winning streak. San Diego State has won five straight over the Lobos, including three in a row at The Pit.
San Diego State also logged the second biggest comeback under coach Steve Fisher, holding the Lobos without a field goal for a 4-minute span late in the second half, then making 13-of-14 from the free throw line in the final 1:10.
J.R. Giddens had 24 points and 11 rebounds for New Mexico, which was coming off two overtime road wins for the first time in school history but couldn't capitalize on the fire from a season-high crowd of 17,464 fans.
Matt Thomas made two free throws to put the Aztecs up 63-56 at the 1-minute mark, but New Mexico's Chad Toppert hit a 3-pointer from the left corner. Spain made another pair for San Diego State but Jamaal Smith answered with another 3-pointer, pulling New Mexico to 65-62 with 35 seconds remaining. Wade made two more free throws with 33.3 on the clock to give the Aztecs a 67-62 lead.
San Diego State coach Steve Fisher called his last timeout, and Toppert put up an airball on New Mexico's ensuing possession.
The Lobos had all the momentum in the first half, when they built a 24-10 lead with 8:29 before halftime. It was 33-25 at the break when Roman Martinez threw in a 3-pointer at the buzzer. But the Aztecs opened the second half with a 14-4 run to seize control.
Senior J.R. Giddens
When the Lobos beat Wyoming 99-92 ihn double overtime on Jan. 5, they staged the largest second-half comeback in a road game in school history. UNM trailed the Cowboys 48-32 at halftime. It ranks as the 5th largest deficit overcome regardless of location. New Mexico's largest comeback was Jan. 15, 1993, at Hawai'i when it rallied from 20 points (31-11) to win 61-58.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
The Lobos began the New Year in style by doing something it had never done before: prevailing in consecutive overtime games, and on the road no less.
UNM squeaked past a fired-up UTEP squad 86-85 in overtime on Jan. 2. That was followed by a grind-it-out 99-92 double-overtime victory at Wyoming on Jan. 5, the Lobos' first win over the Cowboys at the Arena-Auditorium since 1995. New Mexico trailed Wyoming 48-32 at halftime, so it marked the largest second-half comeback on the road in program history.
SUPERLATIVES IN O-T WIN AT UTEP
The Lobos established some new standards in the 86-85 OT win over UTEP on Jan. 2:
NON-CONFERENCE STREAK IN THE PIT
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.
BIG-TIME DEFENSE AGAINST WEBER STATE
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.
HOLDING DOWN SOME OF THE BIG GUNS
New Mexico really put the clamps on the opponents' top scorers in a couple of non-conference games:
IT'S A REAL T.E.A.M.
Some pretty interesting facts about the 10-man Lobos team through the first 16 games of the season:
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 39.9% (519 of 1,299) of the points and pulled down 37.2% (213 of 573) of the individual rebounds this season. That's averages of 30.5 points and 12.5 rebounds a game.
3-POINT RECORD FALLS
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.
TOPPERT NO. 2 FROM 3
Junior Chad Toppert continues to swing back and forth for the top spot as UNM's most accurate 3-point shooter. He has made 44.69% (143-320) 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 (2.69 a game) and accuracy (48.3%) this season.