Kendall Williams
Kendall Williams
Stevens: Toreros Will Attack Lobos From The Edge
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  11/29/2013

New Mexico Lobos Men’s Basketball – In The Pit

Saturday:   1 p.m., (MT) -- San Diego (7-1) at New Mexico (4-1) – The Pit

On The Air:  770-AM KKOB/Lobo Radio Network; ROOT Sports (TV)

With ROOT also showing a football game between Utah State and Wyoming at noon, the channels for the game this weekend are a little different.
*On DISH, the game will be Channel 454, not 414.  This is regardless of region.
*On DIRECT, the game will be Channel 684, and 684-1 HD, not 683 and 683-1.  This is regardless of region
*On Comcast, the game will be 261 and 814 HD, but only in the state of New Mexico
On Comcast channel guides, it will not list the New Mexico basketball game at 1 due to the guide listing the Utah State/Wyoming football game from noon-3 p.m., but the game will switch (in New Mexico only) to our game from the football game at 1 p.m.  Outside of New Mexico, the game is only available on DISH and DIRECT.  The webstream is blacked out within the ROOT Sports footprint.

By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com.

The attack that will come from the San Diego Toreros isn’t too difficult to decipher.  Just look at their stats.

The Toreros have three guards combining to average 41.4 points. The other nine Toreros to reach the scoreboard combine for 31.2 points.

The Toreros’ trio of 6-foot Johnny Dee, 5-7 Christopher Anderson and 6-5 Duda Sanadze combine to score 87 points from the free-throw line.  The other nine have scored 51 points.

The Toreros will attack from the edge.

“We’re going to have a really good team coming in to play,” said Lobo Coach Craig Neal. “So our guys will have another challenge.”

A challenge that the Lobos face with 7-1 San Diego is a challenge the Lobos and all teams must face in 2013-14: the dribble-drive is more protected this season and all contact on drives is being closely scrutinized by officials.  And whistles are being blown.

“The bottom line is they (fouls) are called,” said Neal. “You have to adjust.”

The Toreros like to attack the basket and the San Diego guards are doing what a lot of collegiate guards are doing this season. They are driving and allowing whistles to put them on the line.

The Toreros are coming off a 59-56 win over Southern Illinois in the Gulf Coast Showcase Tournament.  Anderson and Dee combined to go 5-of-19 from the floor, but combined to go 20-of-22 from the charity stripe. They scored 30 of San Diego’s 39 second-half points. Dee averages 16.8 on the season and Anderson has averaged 16 points over the past two USD wins.

A key for UNM might be getting the Toreros’ guards to hit contested jumpers and not uncontested freebies.

Dee is 34-of-39 from the line on the season (87 percent) and Anderson is 29-of-43 (67 percent).  The Toreros’ Sanadze – a big off-guard/wing type -- is 24-of-28 (86 percent). San Diego has taken 195 free throws in eight games, but UNM also is getting players to the line via aggression.

The Lobos have shot 153 free throws in five games.  It’s fair to expect that the line will provide a key stat in Saturday’s Pit run.

The Lobos have two excellent guards in Kendall Williams (18.2 ppg, 6.8 assists) and Hugh Greenwood, but New Mexico’s obvious edge comes inside.  The 7-foot Alex Kirk averages 20.8 points and 12.2 boards.  The 6-9 Cameron Bairstow averages 19.6 points and 6.6 boards.

That an eye-catching combination of 40.4 points and 18.8 boards.

The hearts of the productivity on the scoreboard are obvious for both teams. The Toreros’ three-man edge averages 41.4 points and the Lobo Twin Tower averages 40.4 points.  That San Diego trio works the free-throw line well, but UNM’s trio of Kirk, Bairstow and Williams have made 82 of UNM’s 107 points at the line.

There will be some interesting battles Saturday in The Pit.

“It will be a really good test for Alex and Cam (inside),” said Coach Neal. “They have a 6-11 and a 6-9. They have size.”

The 6-11 is Dennis Kramer.  He is San Diego’s leading board man with a 6.6 average.  Kok is the 6-9 post.  He and Sanadze both haul down 4.9 boards a game.  Kramer averages a solid 10.6 points from his power forward spot.  Kok has a 7.4 average

The Toreros have a little depth with nine players averaging 12 minutes up to 32.9 minutes.  The 6-6 Thomas Jacobs is a solid sub averaging 4.8 points and 4.6 boards. The 6-10 Simi Fajemisin averages 11.3 minutes off the bench.

One key for New Mexico going into the San Diego game really hasn’t changed from the Lobos’ preseason outlook.  They need to find consistency at the starting spot left open by Tony Snell.  They need to find consistency and productivity off the bench.

“I think we have a long way to go,” said Neal of his 4-1 Lobos. “I thought some of the guys we brought in would be further along and they’re not.

“I think we are hard to guard. I think we are ahead of pace offensively and behind pace defensively.”

San Diego’s Dee scored 17 vs. Southern Illinois.  Anderson scored 16, all in the second half. The Toreros’ inside game was not clicking against Southern Illinois as Kok and Kramer combined to go 2-of-7 from the field and totaled seven points and six boards.

It was a gut-check win for San Diego as they shot 29 percent from the field and still won.

The Toreros will have another gut check on Saturday. It’s a difficult thing to beat the Lobos in The Pit.