Dec. 21, 2007
A four-game homestand comes to an end Sunday when New Mexico (10-2) entertains Weber State (4-6). Tipoff at 1:05 p.m. from The Pit/Bob King Court in Albuquerque. Live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com.
Game sponsors are KISS 97.3 FM and Coyote 102.5. The first 500 kids in attendance will receive Lobo Louie Growth Charts courtesy of Southwest Dairy Farmers.
After Wednesday's 83-69 win over New Mexico State, the Lobos stayed perfect at home (9-0) and are now 10-2 overall for only the second time in the past seven seasons. The 2004-05 squad led by Danny Granger started 14-2.
The Lobos have won 30 consecutive non-conference home games. New Mexico has not lost a non-conference game in The Pit in more than three years, since an 81-64 setback to 5th-ranked Wake Forest on Dec. 22, 2004. UNM head coach Steve Alford is 111-10 in his coaching career in non-conference home games.
Weber State has won two in a row, the latest a 74-43 decision over Cal State Bakersfield Tuesday in Ogden, Utah.
Under first-year head coach Randy Rahe, Weber State finished 20-12 last year and tied for 1st in the Big Sky Conference at 11-5. The Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Tournament, losing to UCLA in the first round.
New Mexico will leave for Honolulu on Christmas Eve morning to prepare for a rematch with the University of Hawai'i on Dec. 27. The Lobos took down the Rainbow Warriors 89-60 in The Pit on Nov. 21.
The Hawai'i game will be the first of three straight road games for UNM. The Lobos open the New Year and close out the non-conference portion of the schedule Jan. 2 at UTEP followed by the Mountain West Conference opener Jan. 5 at Wyoming.
The Weber State game will be the Lobos' last at The Pit for 20 days. The next home game is Jan. 12 against San Diego State. That is Pack The Pit night with all tickets available for just $10.
SPECIAL TICKET OFFER FOR NEW MEXICO BOWL & WEBER STATE
Fans that have purchased or plan to purchase a ticket to Saturday's New Mexico Bowl II can buy a ticket to the Weber State basketball game for just $5. The offer is good in advance or the day of the basketball game. Fans just need to show their bowl ticket at the time of purchase. This offer is good while supplies last and is limited to bench seating in rows 1 through 10.
The Weber State game is also Youth Day with tickets just $5 for ages 2 to 16.
Alford is 318-185 (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.
Alford is facing Weber State for the first time in his coaching 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.
UNM VS. WEBER STATE
The two schools are meeting for the first time in 20 years. UNM won 88-72 in Albuquerque in 1987 in the first round of the Preseason NIT.
However, Weber State has a 2-1 lead in the series, winning 80-70 in The Pit in December of 1979 and 52-48 in Ogden, Utah, in December of 1982.
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 1,274-999 (.560). New Mexico was 420-498 (.457) from 1900-62, but has gone 854-501 (.627) 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.
DANRIDGE OUT UNTIL JANUARY
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 is 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.
NEW MEXICO STATE RECAP AND POSTGAME NOTES
Roman Martinez scored a career-high 24 points and Chad Toppert added 16, leading fired-up New Mexico to an 83-69 win in the 200th meeting with rival New Mexico State on Wednesday night.
Jamaal Smith had 12 points and Daniel Faris 10 for the Lobos, who avenged a 71-62 loss in Las Cruces earlier this month. Jonathan Gibson scored 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field for New Mexico State, while Justin Hawkins returned from a one-game absence because of a strained left hamstring and scored 18.
But this one was all New Mexico, which extended its lead in the series to 106-94. The attendance of 17,243 was the largest crowd at The Pit this season, and the Lobos drew on the energy in a high-intensity showdown.
New Mexico was outrebounded 44-28 in New Mexico State's earlier victory, and that statistic prompted New Mexico coach Steve Alford to tape a newspaper headline -- "Lobos Bullied" -- on each player's locker.
The tactic worked, as the Lobos finished with a 36-24 edge this time against the taller Aggies. It was a game of streaks, though, and that made things bumpy for New Mexico until the Lobos seized control midway through the second half.
New Mexico went without a field goal for a 9 1/2 -minute span on each side of halftime, then offset that shortage with seven straight baskets during a key second-half stretch, extending a 35-34 halftime lead to 69-54 with 7:04 remaining.
Toppert hit two 3-pointers and Darren Prentice got a layup to put the Lobos in control. Earlier, New Mexico used a 16-0 burst to open the second half after Hatila Passos made a layup to give the Aggies their final lead.
The Lobos led 51-36 with 13:32 to play after New Mexico State center Martin Iti was called for an intentional foul in the backcourt. Martinez made two free throws, and on the ensuing possession Smith hit a 3-pointer.
But it was a slugout for both teams, and things turned a little nasty late in the first half when Smith was fouled by Jahmar Young, then locked elbows with Hawkins, who pushed Smith and was whistled for a technical foul.
Smith made the ensuing one-and-one free throws, then Toppert hit the two technical foul shots to put the Lobos ahead 34-25.
The Aggies charged back, with Hawkins making two free throws and hitting a 3-pointer during a 9-0 run that tied it at 34.
Sophomore Roman Martinez
Junior Chad Toppert
Senior J.R. Giddens
Senior Jamaal Smith
Senior Darren Prentice
HOLDING DOWN THE BIG GUNS
In consecutive games against San Diego and Texas Tech, New Mexico really put the clamps on the opponents' top scorers:
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 leads the league and is 10th nationally in 3-point shooting this season at 52.2% (35-67). He's made 17 of 27 (63%) the past 5 games after an 0 for 6 performance against Southern Utah.
IT'S A FIRST FOR LOBO HOOPS
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.
MORE ON THE 3s
Before the 3-for-24 performance from long range against Southern Utah, the Lobos were among the nation's early leaders in 3-point shooting. However, they still lead the league in 3s per game at 9.1 and in accuracy at 43.7%.
3s AND COUNTING
UNM has made a 3-pointer in 560 straight games, the 12th-longest active streak in NCAA Div. I. UNLV is 1st at more than 650 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.
EVERYONE PLAYS AND CONTRIBUTES
All 10 Lobos have played in every game this season, and all 10 are averaging between 12 and 28.4 minutes a game. With 12 games in the books, you could say there have been a total of 120 opportunities to score: 12 games x 10 players. Amazingly, only 11 times has a Lobo not gotten into the scoring column this season. It's the same with rebounding. Just 11 times has a Lobo failed to get a carom.
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 43.7% (396 of 906) of the points and pulled down 43.7% (171 of 391) of the individual rebounds this season. That's averages of 33 points and 14.25 rebounds a game.