STEVENS: Lobos Outgun No. 20 Texas Tech, 90-75
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  12/29/2009
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Dec. 29, 2009

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Tuesday: Lobos 90, Texas Tech 75
Friday: Dayton at Lobos, 7 p.m., The Pit

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

In explaining to his Red Raiders what they need to do to change their appetites from satisfied to hungry, Texas Tech coach Pat Knight pointed to another team and an opposing player. He pointed to Lobos. He pointed to Roman Martinez.

"You have a hungry team here in New Mexico and I got a satisfied (team)," said Knight, who also said he singled out the all-out play of Martinez to his Raiders. The lone UNM senior probably left the court with more floor burns than points (10).

The Raiders ran into a ravenous pack of Lobos Tuesday night in The Pit and Texas Tech was chewed up 90-75. The Raiders fell behind by 12 points at the half, scratched to within six points early in the second half, and then watched UNM roll to the 15-point final.

"That was a big time win," said Darington Hobson, who led UNM with 23 points and 12 rebounds. The talented Lobo junior had to share assists honors with Dairese Gary, both with four. "Sometimes we take for granted what he does," Lobo coach Steve Alford said of Hobson.

The Lobos pushed their season mark to 13-1. UNM plays host to Dayton in The Pit at 7 p.m. on Friday. "I think Dayton will be one of the best teams we play all year," said Alford. "It's a team that's very dangerous."

UNM got 10 points from A.J. Hardeman and freshman Curtis Dennis had a breakthrough game with 14 points. Will Brown also came off the bench to score 11 points. "I thought this was Will's best minutes," said Alford. "He was much, much more active."

Said Knight of the Lobos: "You (Lobo fans) need to enjoy this team."

Knight really didn't enjoy the Lobos much. He also didn't enjoy the way his offense ran against the pressure UNM defense. Tech had two players in double figures: David Tairu with 18 points and Nick Okorie with 14 points. Tech shot 41 percent for the game, 48.4 percent in the second half. UNM shot 45.2 percent, 51.7 percent in the second half. UNM pounded Tech on the boards 46-35 and had 10 steals to three for the Raiders.

"A really big win for our program," said Alford. "They really don't understand the things that they are doing because they have never done them before.

"This was probably our best defensive effort in a long time and that was really encouraging. To beat three ranked teams in the non-league, we couldn't be more pleased. This team has come a long ways since July."

Said Knight: "That is a very good basketball team. You add this atmosphere at home and they are going to be tough to beat here."

In a 40-minute game, Tech only had a few good minutes. The Raiders ran to an early 11-8 lead and had the Lobos tied at 14-all with 11:44 to play in the first half. Tech never led again. The Raiders had a quick, early run in the second half to cut UNM's lead to 42-36.

UNM then raced to a 53-38 lead. The Lobos' biggest lead was 22 -- three times. Tech never really challenged again. Alford credited The Pit's intensity for helping his Lobos roll the Raiders.

"This crowd (14,586) is phenomenal," said Alford. "A sellout here is a little different (than other places)."

Martinez only had 10 points, but pulled down 11 rebounds and led both teams in hustle. "Ro doesn't have to score to make us productive," said Alford. "If he's not scoring, he gets to the free-throw line. If he's not shooting well (first half), he gets seven (first half) rebounds."

Second Half

Tech came out needing to chip away at two things: UNM's lead and UNM's confidence. The Red Raiders did that quickly and early. A jumper, a dunk and a 3-pointer by Nick Okorie cut UNM's halftime lead of 41-29 to 42-36. Alford called a timeout at the 17:49 mark. The only good thing for UNM at that point was Martinez was on the scoreboard with a single free throw. That also was about the only good moment of the second half for the visitors from Lubbock.

It was then Tech's turn to burn a timeout. The Lobos had put together a quick 7-0 run that started quietly with two free throws from Hobson and one from Hardeman. However, Martinez followed Hardeman's miss with a layup. A few seconds later a Tech turnover led to a McDonald dunk and a 49-36 UNM lead. The half that started off so well for Tech now saw the Raiders down by 13 points. UNM carried that 49-36 lead into the media break at 15:33.

That layup by Martinez seemed to wake up his shooting touch. He banged in a baseline jumper to put UNM up 51-38. Dennis then drove on Tech's Darko Cohadarevic and was fouled on a jump shot at 13:58. That also placed a fourth foul on the Cohadarevic's chart. Dennis made both his free ones: 53-38. UNM was back up by 15 points. At the 11:43 media break, UNM was up 57-43. The Lobos' last field goal at that mark was a layup off a Dennis drive.

Nate Garth came out of that break to knock down both sides of a one-and-one: 59-43. A Will Brown jump hook pushed UNM up 61-45. Brown followed a Hobson miss with a soft hook that fell: 63-47. He added a free throw to make it 64-47 in UNM's favor. Tech was beginning to run short on time.

Tech's Roberson hit a trey to cut UNM's lead to 64-50, but came down and picked up his fourth foul with a bump on UNM's Jamal Fenton. The UNM freshman hit both his free shots: 66-50. Gary took a charge to create a turnover at 9:35. The Lobos turned that turnover into Martinez standing at the line looking at two free shots. The UNM senior made them both: 68-50.

Tech missed and Hobson head-faked a trey, drove, missed, but tipped in his miss: 70-50. The Lobos were up 20 on one of the nation's top teams. Brown hit a short jumper inside to keep it at 20: 72-52. Hobson scored in transition: 74-52. The rout of Red Raiders was rolling right along.

Hobson gave UNM a 77-56 lead on a long trey that bounced a couple times on the rim before falling into the hole. Brown pushed in a single free throw at 6:33 to make it 78-56. Brown went to the bench to an ovation while Tech turned the ball over at the other end. Hardeman was fouled on a dunk at 5:48 and made one: 79-58. Tech just didn't have the defensive tools on this night in The Pit to stop the Lobos' on offense.

Still, Tech had scorers. A small Tech run cut UNM's lead to 82-67. Alford called time with 2:49 to play. The Lobos still needed to take care of the ball, rebound, and play some defense. UNM came out of the break to a Martinez trey and went up 85-67. That pretty much ended it. UNM rolled to the 90-75 final with no starters on the floor in the final minutes

First Half -- Lobos 41, Texas Tech 29

A big key for the Lobos in the first half was changing their focus and work ethic under the glass. Tech rolled to an early 9-8 lead at the first media break, up 7-3 on the boards at the 14:56 mark. The half ended with UNM up 26-18 in rebounds. The Lobos outrebounded Tech 23 to 11 in the final 15 minutes of the half.

The Lobos' first 20 minutes were paced by Hobson with 14 points and six rebounds. Martinez did not score in the first half, but led all rebounders with seven. Hardeman had eight points and Gary and Dennis each had six points. Tech had three players with seven points. UNM shot 39.4 percent from the floor to 33.3 percent for Tech.

The Lobos' best weapon early was the power of Gary. He drove hard twice to get inside buckets. UNM also added a basket from Hardeman and McDonald. At the 14:56 break, Tech was up 9-8. Both teams were shooting 4-of-9 from the floor with no 3-pointers. Tech had an early 7-3 edge on the boards, but the Raiders were behind in turnovers, 3-to-1.

The pace, and The Pit, picked up going into the next timeout at 10:52. UNM led 17-14 at that mark. Curtis Dennis got The Pit going with a steal and a dunk. Tech's Nick Okorie got the first trey of the game launching over Fenton to form a 14-14 tie. Hobson got UNM its 17-14 lead with a long trey at the top of the key. UNM had now evened the board battle at 10-10. Tech was still down 5-1 in turnovers.

The Lobos continued to drift away from Tech. When Hobson added two free throws followed by a layup off a Fenton pass, Tech's Knight was on his feet begging for a 30-second timeout. His Raiders were down 24-17.

Hobson drilled another long trey to put UNM up by ten: 27-17. HIs trey came after Martinez kept the ball alive for UNM with an offensive rebound. Tech missed at its end and Hobson was fouled on a drive going into the media break at 6:39. UNM was still up 27-17. UNM now had command of the rebounding numbers: 16-to-11. Those boards, plus the Lobos' defense, had UNM shooting six more field goals than Tech, 24-to-18.

Hobson came out of the break and missed both his free shots, but the Lobos were running smoothly at that point. Hardeman got fouled after a hard cut and a good pass by Hobson. The 6-8 sophomore made one: 28-17. Garth tossed in two free throws at 4:49 to expand UNM's lead to 30-17. Gary drove hard and missed a left-handed layup, but Hardeman was there to slam back the follow and push UNM up 32-19. Going into the 3:55 media break, Hobson was back at the line looking at two shots.

This time Hobson came out of the huddle to pop down both free throws. UNM was up 34-19 -- 15 points. Tech needed to cut into that hole going into the break. David Tairu took the first step with a long trey near the top of the key: 34-21. Tairu then got a dunk out of transition: 34-23. Hardeman went to the line at 2:27 and made one: 35-23. Tech's Theron Jenkins got bumped on a drive and hit both his free shots: 35-25. UNM's 15-point lead was down to ten.

UNM then got back-to-back layups from Gary and Dennis to go up 39-25. UNM's final points of the half came at the line from Dennis, who picked up a Tech turnover and was fouled on a layup: 41-27. Tech got a power drive and a bank shot to form the 41-29 halftime score.