Dec. 11, 2007
It's a high-profile matinee Saturday when the University of New Mexico (8-2) plays host to Texas Tech (6-3). Tipoff is 2:05 p.m. from The Pit/Bob King Court in Albuquerque. VERSUS will have the live national telecast with Tim Neverett and former Stanford head coach Mike Montgomery courtside. Live audio is available via All Access at golobos.com.
The Lobos (8-2) got back on the winning track last Saturday with a 57-47 victory over the University of San Diego, halting a two-game losing streak.
New Mexico has won 28 straight non-conference home games, and 44 of its past 45. The last loss was 81-64 to 5th-ranked Wake Forest on Dec. 22, 2004. The last setback before that was dealt by Texas Tech (67-58) on Dec. 6, 2003.
UNM head coach Steve Alford is 109-10 in his coaching career in non-conference home games.
The Lobos are playing the second game of a four-game homestand. After Texas Tech, it's a real holiday treat as the 200th game between UNM and New Mexico State takes place on Wednesday, Dec. 19. The Lobos close out the homestand against Weber State on Dec. 23.
Texas Tech is 6-3 after ripping Louisiana Tech 86-31 on Dec. 5. The Red Raiders outscored the Bulldogs 46-3 from midway through the first half to midway through the second, going up by as many as 45 during the run. Louisiana Tech did not hit a single field goal for more than 19 minutes while turning the ball over 19 times. Louisiana Tech's 31 points were the fewest by a Texas Tech opponent since the Red Raiders beat Hardin-Simmons 53-32 in 1948.
LOBO FOOTBALL TEAM TO BE RECOGNIZED SATURDAY
The 2007 Lobo football team will be recognized at halftime of Saturday's game. UNM plays Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 22 at University Stadium.
Game Sponsors include Pepsi, Big I 107.9 and 100.3 The Peak. The first 2,500 fans will receive Howl Towels.
BOB KNIGHT AND Steve Alford
While Saturday's storyline is about opposing teams that are off to solid starts, it's also a matchup between two men whose relationship goes back more than 25 years: Bob Knight and Steve Alford.
Alford, in his first season as UNM's head coach, was a senior at Newcastle (Ind.) Chrysler High School in 1983 when he accepted a scholarship offer to attend Indiana University and play for Bob Knight. The rest of the story is well known throughout college basketball lore. Alford became a two-time All-America for the Hoosiers, leading IU to the 1987 national championship.
Knight, the Hall of Fame coach and also the winningest mentor in Div. I men's basketball, is in his 7th season as head coach at Texas Tech.
This is the fifth meeting between Knight and Alford as head coaches with Knight holding a 3-1 advantage.
After 500 career games as a head coach, Alford is 316-185 (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.
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.
BOB KNIGHT IN THE PIT
Bob Knight is 3-0 in The Pit in his career as a head coach. Texas Tech won here four years ago, 67-58, while his 1992 Indiana team beat Florida State and UCLA in the NCAA West Regional on its way to the Final Four.
NEW MEXICO-TEXAS TECH SERIES
Saturday's game will be the 82nd in a series that started Feb. 24, 1931. It's close with Tech winning 41 and UNM 40. UNM has a 26-18 lead in games in Albuquerque, 6-2 in The Pit.
The Red Raiders have won the last three meetings with Bob Knight at the helm, including last year's 70-68 victory in Lubbock when Knight won his 880th career game to pass former North Carolina head coach Dean Smith as the winningest coach in the history of NCAA Div. I men's basketball.
Those are the only three games for Knight against UNM during his head coaching career.
LAST YEAR IN LUBBOCK
The New Mexico Lobos were part of history Monday in Lubbock, Texas. It's just not the part they wanted. Trailing by 20 points in the first half, UNM rallied to take the lead after halftime, but it could not make a big play down the stretch as the Red Raiders nipped New Mexico 70-68. In the process, Bob Knight won his 880th career game to pass former North Carolina head coach Dean Smith as the winningest coach in the history of NCAA Div. I men's basketball.
Trailing 33-13 in the first period today at United Spirit Arena, New Mexico was tantalizingly close to equaling the greatest comeback in school history. It was on Jan. 15, 1993, when the Lobos fell behind Hawai'i 31-11 only to rally for a 61-58 victory in Honolulu.
New Mexico trailed Texas Tech 48-35 early in the second half before the long-range guns found their targets. Sophomore sharp-shooter Chad Toppert nailed three straight 3-pointers and junior Jeffrey Henfield completed a 12-2 burst to hand the Lobos their first lead of the day at 56-55. Henfield finished with a season-high 12 points.
The Lobos' lead grew to four points on three occasions, the last time 64-60 following a nice baseline move by J.R. Giddens with 6:25 remaining. UNM, however, would score only four points the rest of the game.
The Red Raiders scored the next two baskets for a 67-66 advantage and their first lead since it was 55-53. Meanwhile, the Lobos had four consecutive trips that resulted in two turnovers and four missed shots.
An off-balance lay-in by Danridge put UNM back on top at 68-67, but Texas Tech went back ahead 70-68 on a 3-pointer by Jay Jackson with 2:04 left. That was all the scoring, but the drama was far from over.
Giddens missed a 3-point attempt on a set play out of a timeout with 43 seconds remaining. Texas Tech then worked down the shot clock and missed a shot with five ticks to go. Giddens got the rebound, dribbled up the court and launched a 35-footer that would have won it for the Lobos, but it hit the back of the rim.
New Mexico got just two points on its last eight possessions, missing seven of eight shots in the final five minutes. Danridge led UNM with 17 points. Giddens added 14, but was 2 of 10 from 3-point and committed four turnovers.
Miraculously, the Lobos stayed in the game despite going 0 of 5 from the free-throw line while Texas Tech was 18 of 24. UNM was 10 of 29 attempts from 3-point.
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 1,273-998 (.559). New Mexico was 421-497 (.458) from 1900-62, but has gone 852-501 (.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.
SAN DIEGO RECAP AND POSTGAME NOTES
Darren Prentice came off the New Mexico bench to score 14 points of his game-high 19 points in the first half, leading the Lobos to a 57-47 win over San Diego.
Prentice hit 7-of-9 shots from the field and at one point, scored eight of 10 New Mexico points in the midst of a game-opening, 21-6 run. New Mexico, which had lost its last two games, opened the contest with an 11-2 run and never trailed.
The Lobos held San Diego, which had won two straight, scoreless for almost six minutes to start the game, during which the Toreros missed their first six shots.
Neither team started well, with the teams going a combined 1-13 four minutes into the game. But the Lobos corrected their shooting flaws first, eventually taking a 33-20 halftime lead.
San Diego was plagued by fouls throughout the game, particularly on the offensive end as it committed seven charges - five in the first half.
The Toreros did cut it to 51-42 with under four minutes remaining, but they missed several chances to cut into the lead any more. San Diego got 12 points from Rob Jones.
Senior guard Darren Prentice
Senior forward Chad Toppert
Senior forward J.R. Giddens
Sophomore forward Roman Martinez
Toppert leads the league in 3-point shooting this season at 49.2% (29-59).
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 42.3%.
The 3s have dropped somewhat, though. Through the first six games, UNM was averaging 10.8 a game and shooting 47.8%, however, the past 4 contests, the Lobos are making an average of 6.5 treys and shooting 32.9% (26-79).
3s AND COUNTING
UNM has made a 3-point basket in 558 straight games, the 12th-longest active streak in NCAA Div. I hoops. 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 13.9 and 27.5 minutes a game. With 10 games in the books, you could say there have been a total of 100 opportunities to score: 10 games x 10 players. Amazingly, only 9 times has a Lobo not gotten into the scoring column this season. It's the same with rebounding. Just 8 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 46.8% (348 of 743) of the points and pulled down 44.7% (148 of 331) of the individual rebounds this season. That's averages of 34.8 points and 14.8 rebounds a game.
The 28 assists in the 92-57 win over Eastern Washington is UNM's highest total in 10 years, since it had 32 in a 112-61 victory over Holy Cross on Dec. 29, 1997.