Strong Second Half Paces Lobos to Victory, 89-60
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/21/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Nov. 21, 2007

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Chad Toppert scored 20 points and Daniel Faris had 12 of his 16 in New Mexico's blistering second half as the Lobos beat Hawaii 89-60 on Wednesday night.

Five players scored in double figures for New Mexico, including J.R. Giddens with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots. Freshman Dairese Gary scored 15 points in his first college start and Jamaal Smith had 12.

The Lobos made their last 12 field goals and outscored Hawaii 51-29 in the second half. They are 6-0 under first-year coach Steve Alford, the school's best start since an 8-0 opening in 1998-99.

Bobby Nash scored 16 for the Warriors (1-3) while Jared Dillinger had 15, Riley Luettgerodt scored 14 and Bill Amis had 10.

New Mexico led 38-31 at halftime, and everything seemed to go right for the Lobos whenever they ran the floor after that.

Gary scored the first five points of the second half, hitting a 3-pointer and completing a conventional three-point play, as the Lobos opened with a 10-2 run that pushed their lead to 48-31.

It was 52-35 after Giddens made a jumper and scored a layin after a steal less than 5 minutes into the second half. Later, Faris had a fastbreak jumper for a 67-51 lead, forcing a Hawaii timeout with 7:42 remaining.

Dillinger dropped a floater for Hawaii, trimming the deficit to 69-53, but the Lobos answered with a 9-0 burst. Then Toppert made a jumper and scored on a break to give New Mexico an 82-55 lead with 3:30 to play.

During that stretch, New Mexico hit nine straight baskets without a miss.

Even better for New Mexico, the home fans had The Pit rocking for much of the second half. The attendance was announced at 13,518, the largest crowd this season and a sign the locals are warming to the new Lobos.

What's not to enjoy so far?

New Mexico is among the early national leaders in 3-point shooting. For the first time since the 3-pointer was added in 1986-87, the Lobos hit at least 13 in three straight games last week and shot 12-of-24 from 3-point range this time.

Hawaii could have picked a better site for its first road trip of the season, since the Warriors were winless in Albuquerque since 1989. New Mexico improved to 23-2 all-time against its former Western Athletic Conference rival.