March 3, 2004
The University of New Mexico closes its regular season Saturday, visiting the Colorado State Rams. Tipoff is 3 p.m. Mountain Time from Moby Arena in Fort Collins. There is no television coverage - live or delayed - of the game.
New Mexico is 14-12 overall and 5-8 in the MWC after dropping its home finale to UNLV Monday 78-75. The Lobos have lost four of their last five, but remain tied with San Diego State for fifth place in the league.
UNM will be seeded either fifth, sixth or seventh in next week's MWC Tournament in Denver and play one of three teams - BYU, Utah or UNLV - in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 11. Pairings and game times will be announced early Saturday evening.
Colorado State is 11-15 overall and 3-10 in the MWC after dropping a 67-61 decision last Saturday at Wyoming. The Rams have lost seven in a row, their last win coming Jan. 31 at home against Wyoming.
New Mexico is guaranteed no worse than a .500 record, a feat it has now accomplished in 20 of the past 21 seasons. After going 10-18 last season, UNM will avoid consecutive losing seasons for what would have been only the second time in more than four decades. New Mexico was 6-20 in 1979-80 and 11-15 in 1980-81. The Lobos have only had four losing campaigns since former head coach Bob King arrived in Albuquerque prior to the 1962-63 season.
UNM has lost 25 straight road games overall, 26 consecutive including neutral sites, and 18 MWC games in a row. The last win away from Albuquerque was Jan. 28, 2002, a 70-64 decision at Colorado State. It's UNM's longest losing skid away from home in more than 40 years.
New Mexico has surpassed last year's win total by four games and its conference mark by one (4-10). UNM finished 14-4 in The Pit this year, winning five of its last six and 12 of 14. The Lobos were 10-7 at home last year.
New Mexico has had a full roster the past 20 games - since Dec. 21 - when Granger (Bradley) and Troy DeVries (Portland State) became eligible as mid-season transfers. The twosome has been UNM's top-two scorers since taking the court. UNM is 11-9 since their arrival, 11-2 in The Pit.
DeVries is averaging 11.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists, including 12 dishes against Coppin State, the best total by a Lobo in 12 years. He is shooting 44.9% (53-118) from 3-point, an average of 2.65 treys a game, second-best in the MWC.
HONORS COMING IN - Danny Granger was named first team all-district 13 by the National Association of Basketball Coaches on Feb. 19. Also, Troy DeVries was named to the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) District VI All-Academic team. DeVries has a 3.67 GPA and is majoring in University Studies.
UNM IN THE NCAA STATS - Through games of Monday, March 1, New Mexico ranks 14th in the nation in 3-point FGs made per game at 8.69. Troy DeVries is the 12th most accurate 3-point shooter, making 44.9% (53-118) of his attempts, while Javin Tindall is 21st at 43.5% (70-161). Danny Granger is No. 28 in scoring average at 19.8 a game.
LOBOS VS. COLORADO STATE - New Mexico has a 55-39 lead in a series that started Dec. 20, 1940, in Denver. The Lobos have won two straight - both in The Pit - and 16 of the past 17 overall.
Each team won at home last year, CSU 74-58 at Moby Arena and UNM 82-72 in The Pit. The Rams' victory in Fort Collins snapped a 14-game losing streak against the Lobos, dating to 1994.
Colorado State has a 26-16 lead in Fort Collins, but a narrow 17-15 advantage in Moby Arena. The Lobos had won six in a row at CSU before last year's setback.
UNM took a 63-51 victory in Albuquerque on Feb. 7. The Lobos have won nine straight at home and 33 of the past 34.
Feb. 7 in Albuquerque: Troy DeVries scored 15 points and freshman guard Lenny Miles provided the energy in New Mexico's 63-51 win over Colorado State. New Mexico never trailed and broke the game open behind the early second-half scoring of David Chiotti and Alfred Neale and Miles' hustle at both ends of the court. Chiotti and Danny Granger each scored 13 points and Neale had 9 points and 8 rebounds.
The Lobos pulled away from a 28-22 lead early in the second half as Chiotti and Neale combined for 12 points. Chiotti scored New Mexico's first five points of the second half and later added a layup, while Neale scored off an offensive rebound and connected on a 3-pointer. That put New Mexico up 40-30 and the Rams got no closer the rest of the way.
At one point he leaped over the scorer's table, nearly colliding with a concrete barrier behind the New Mexico bench while chasing a loose ball. He also set up a couple of teammates for easy baskets with his passing and had a block late in the game.
Last year in Fort Collins: Despite 35 points from Ruben Douglas, the Lobos dropped their Mountain West Conference opener 74-58. The loss snapped UNM's 14-game winning streak against CSU.
Poor shooting translated into a slow start for the Lobos. After Douglas nailed a 3-pointer to open the game, UNM misfired on 13 of its next 14 shots as the Rams used a 12-0 run to grab a 21-7 lead midway through the first half.
CSU started on fire, though, making 10 of its first 14 attempts from the floor. Many of those attempts were from inside the paint where the bigger Rams dominated. Colorado State led 38-22 at the break as Brian Greene tallied 16 points on 8 of 9 shooting. The Rams shot a blistering 64% (16-25) in the first period to UNM's 26% (8-31).
CSU had a 47-26 bulge early in the second half before Douglas nearly single-handedly brought UNM back. Scoring 15 points in a little more than three minutes, Douglas sparked a 16-5 run that trimmed the deficit to 52-42 with 12:30 remaining. A Javin Tindall 3-pointer and another Douglas bucket had UNM down by just seven at 54-47, however, a 10-2 Rams burst stifled UNM's comeback hopes.
New Mexico finished shooting just 32.8% (20-61) from the floor. The Lobos were 7-17 (41%) from the 3-point arc, meaning they converted only 28% (13-47) from two-point range.
HEAD COACH Ritchie McKay is in his second season in charge of Lobo hoops and his eighth year as a collegiate head coach. He was named UNM's 18th head coach on March 28, 2002. McKay is the son of the late Joe McKay, who was a three-year letterman at guard for the Lobos from 1961-63.
McKay had previous stops at Portland State (1996-98), Colorado State (1998-2000) and Oregon State (2000-02). He has a career record of 107-119, 24-30 at New Mexico. McKay is 9-18 in conference games while at UNM, 9-5 at The Pit, 0-13 on the road. He is 2-1against his former school, 0-1 in Fort Collins.
UNLV RECAP / NOTES - Odartey Blankson scored 11 straight points late in the second half and finished with a career-high 28 in UNLV's 78-75 win over New Mexico. Blankson's scoring spree over a period of less than three minutes put the Rebels over the top in the up-tempo game that saw the two teams combine for 18 3-pointers while putting up 125 shots.
UNLV held off the Lobos behind point guard Jerel Blassingame's five straight points inside of two minutes and Demetrius Hunter's two free throws with 17.9 seconds left.
Blankson, who also had 12 rebounds, was 4-for-4 on 3-pointers and 7-for-9 shooting overall in the second half.
Hunter's free throws, which followed an off-balance 3-pointer by UNM's Javin Tindall with 18.7 seconds left, were the last points of the game. New Mexico put up three 3-pointers in the final seconds in an attempt to tie, but all missed.
Troy DeVries' 3 rimmed out, and teammate Danny Granger rebounded the miss and passed it to an open Tindall at the top of the key. Tindall's 3-pointer also rimmed out, but again Granger got the rebound. With only a couple of seconds left, Granger dribbled out to behind the arc and put a 3 at the buzzer that sailed long.
Granger led New Mexico with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Tindall added 17 points and a career-high 5 steals.
New Mexico took a 64-62 lead after Rebels center J.K. Edwards fouled out with 5:56 left and the UNLV bench was assessed a technical foul for protesting the call. Tindall hit one of the two technical foul shots and Granger, who was fouled by Edwards, hit both of his free throws.
* The Lobos had their 5-game home winning streak snapped, finishing the season with a 14-4 mark in The Pit after going 10-7 last year...among the seven MWC opponents, UNLV has the longest current winning streak against New Mexico at six games...UNM has not beaten the Runnin' Rebels since an 84-81 overtime decision in The Pit on Feb. 5, 2002...UNM head coach Ritchie McKay is 0-8 in his career against UNLV
* New Mexico started the game 9-13 (69.2%) from the floor en route to a 21-14 lead at the 13:34 mark...however, the Lobos hit just 19 of their last 53 shots (35.8%)...UNM never trailed for the first 25:42 of the game, until Blassingame's three gave the Rebels a 49-48 lead at the 14:18 mark...the second half featured 7 lead changes and 5 ties
* New Mexico forced 18 turnovers on the night, the most by a Lobo opponent in 17 games when Penn State committed 20 on Dec. 29...UNLV had its most giveaways since losing 22 at Missouri on Feb. 15
* Tindall scored 17 points, had 4 assists, recorded a career-high 5 steals (all in the first half) and even had a block in his final home game...in two games against UNLV this season, he averaged 22 points, 4.5 assists and hit 13-19 (68.4%) threes
* For the first time in his Lobo career, Tindall has scored in double figures in four straight games...he has 55 points during his streak - an average of 13.8 ppg - on 17-33 FGs, including 12-22 from 3-point
* New Mexico forward Alfred Neale snapped an 0-14 drought (3+plus games) with his 3-pointer at the 11:42 mark of the second half
* UNLV shot 51% (26-66), the fourth time in the past six games that an MWC opponent has converted at least half its shots against the Lobos...MWC foes are shooting 48.9% against UNM this season
* Attendance was 14,785, making the average gate 14,679 for 18 home games...that's the lowest season attendance average since 1974-75 when it was 14,025 for 15 games
* The Lobos have won 16 straight games when shooting better than their opponent, including a perfect 12-0 this season...the last loss was at Tennessee on Jan. 4, 2003...UNM shot 45% (18-40), the Vols 43% (22-51)...the Lobos are 51-4 in such situations since 2000-01, 148-13 since the 1995-96 season
IT'S RAINING 3s - The 3-point shot is definitely part of the Lobo arsenal. Through games of March 1, New Mexico is averaging 8.69 treys a game to rank 2nd in the MWC and 14th nationally out of 326 schools.
* Troy DeVries is shooting 44.9% (53-118) from the 3-point line, currently the 5th-highest single-season percentage in school history
* Javin Tindall ranks 3rd all-time at UNM in career 3-point accuracy at 42.9% (123-287)...he is five 3s from breaking into the top-10 for a single season...Tindall has 66 for the season
* Tindall tied a school record and set an MWC mark by making nine 3s at UNLV on Jan. 31, 2004
* The Lobos set a school record for 3-point accuracy against San Francisco State, making 72.2% (13-18) of their attempts...the previous best was 70% (7-10) against Wyoming on Feb. 6, 1992...UNM made 9 of 10 treys in the second half against the Gators
* The school record for 3s in a season is 301 set in 32 games in 1997-98...at 8.69 a game, the current Lobos are on 30-game pace for 260, which would rank No. 3 for a single season
* At 8.69 treys a game, this year's team is on target to become just the third Lobo squad to average more eight for the season...UNM averaged a school-record 9.67 in 1993-94 and 9.4 in 1997-98
* The 14 3-pointers at UNLV tie for the second-highest total by a Lobo team in a road game...UNM made 16 in a 79-72 victory at UTEP on Jan. 29, 1994, and it drilled 14 at Air Force on Jan. 8, 1994, an 80-54 triumph
* UNM has made at least one 3-pointer in 422 straight games...the last time it didn't was Jan. 3, 1991, missing on 8 attempts against Colorado State...since the 3-point shot became part of college basketball in 1986-87, the Lobos have made 10 or more 82 times...UNM's record in those games is 65-17
* The Lobos' streak of 422 games ranks as the 13th-longest streak in NCAA history...UNLV is first at more than 560 games...the Runnin' Rebels had made a 3 in every game since the shot became rule in 1986-87
* The Lobos have made 10 or more 10 times this season...UNM has drained 15 or more twice at home...the 1993-94 team accomplished that feat four times
* New Mexico made eight 3s before making its first 2-point basket of the game at San Diego State
* Eleven different Lobos have canned a 3-pointer this season
* UNM attempted a season-high 35 3-point attempts against San Diego, matching the third-most tries in school history...New Mexico also attempted 35 vs. New Mexico State on Dec. 13, 1996...UNM hit 15 of its attempts vs. USD, tying for eighth on the single-game list
* The Lobos hit a season-high 16 3-pointers in the win against Penn State, equaling the fourth best effort in school history...UNM last hit 16 versus Sacramento State on Dec. 19, 1998...the school record is 18 set against Holy Cross on Dec. 29, 1997
SEASON TRENDS / NOTES * A Lobo has led the MWC in scoring three of the four years the league has been in existence, and Danny Granger could be the fourth in five seasons...Granger is averaging 19.8 ppg...Lamont Long won the crown in 1999-2000 at 18.7 ppg...after a one-year absence, Ruben Douglas captured consecutive titles in 2001-02 (18.1 ppg) and 2002-03 (28.0)
* The Lobos' victory over the University of San Diego was the 1,200th in school history
* UNM won seven straight games at The Pit between Dec. 8-Jan. 9, the longest home winning streak since taking seven in a row from Dec. 1, 2001-Jan. 5, 2002...during the skein, the Lobos won by an average of 17.8 points and did not trail
* New Mexico had a season-low four turnovers against Utah in The Pit, the fewest since committing 4 vs. Cornell on Nov. 27, 1998
* The Lobos made their last 14 FTs in the 77-63 win over Sacramento State
* Danny Granger notched a career-high and MWC record-tying 8 steals (7 in the second half) against Penn State, a total that ties for third on the UNM single-game charts...Marlow White was the most recent Lobo to get 8 or more thefts, notching 8 vs. BYU on Feb. 4, 1995...the school record is 10 by Phil Abney in 1979...New Mexico recorded a season-high 12 steals as a team
* UNM received a season-high 40 points from nine players off the bench against Northwestern State...the previous best was 32 points (five players) versus New Mexico Highlands on Nov. 24...11 players logged double digit minutes against Northwestern State
* New Mexico's +21 (44-23) board domination against New Mexico State is the largest margin since a 46-22 edge against Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 24, 1999
* Danny Granger (6) and David Chiotti (3) have combined for nine double-doubles and the team has 10 (points-rebounds)...Ruben Douglas had a team-high four last year, while UNM only had seven as a team (Mark Walters 2, Jamaal Williams 1)
* The 53-point margin of victory (95-42) against San Francisco State ties for the seventh largest in school history and ties for the fifth-widest in The Pit...it's the most points in a season opener since a 98-76 triumph over Southern Cal in 1997...it's also the fewest points allowed by UNM since a 74-32 victory over BYU on Feb. 3, 1997