Dec. 13, 2008
Saturday: Lobos 103, Ole Miss 70
Up Next: Lobos vs. Oral Roberts, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, The Pit
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Maybe the best way to put the play of Roman Martinez and Daniel Faris into perspective is to compare their play to the highlight film of dunks the Lobos threw down on Ole Miss Saturday afternoon in The Pit.
Martinez and Faris were better.
Faris powered inside for 18 points and nine rebounds and Martinez did his all-around thing to score 17 points and bring down 12 rebounds as the Lobos raised their season mark to 6-4 with a savage 103-70 pounding of Ole Miss. Martinez also had four assists and five steals.
"That was a complete 40 minutes and Ro (Roman) had a lot to do with it. That's who Ro is," Alford said of Martinez.
Alford went into the game stressing rebounds and his Lobos obviously listened prior to the Rebels' visit. UNM dominated the boards 43-to-26 and Martinez added eight offensive rebounds to his game-high total of 12. "Roman is one of the hardest working guys I've ever met," said Faris. "He gave us a huge lift tonight. He had a great game tonight."
Said Martinez: "I think I had an OK game."
The Lobos' romp was accented by six players in double figures. Chad Toppert had 21, going 5-of-6 from behind the line. Tony Danridge had 17, including some show-stopping dunks. Phillip McDonald went 3-of-6 from 3-point range to finish with 13 points. Will Brown had 10 points and UNM's final six points came on Brown dunks off feeds by Nate Garth, who had 10 assists.
It was difficult to pinpoint any Lobo stars in this showcase of Lobo talent, but Martinez and Faris did standout because so much of their work came early in the game before Ole Miss had been put to bed. "It was nice to reap some of the rewards of all our hard work," said Faris "We made a lot of mistakes tonight, but we were hitting some shots."
Actually, the ratio of good work vs. mistakes had to lean heavily to the good side for UNM. The Lobos were awesome in this 33-point romp. The Lobos shot 60 percent from the floor and had 29 assists and 10 steals. UNM was 50 percent from behind the 3-point line. Ole Miss shot 41.1 percent and had 17 turnovers to eight assists.
The Lobos rolled to a 17-point halftime lead and Ole Miss needed to quickly cut into that lead if the Rebels hoped to get back into the game. They couldn't do it. "We wanted to come out and keep playing hard," said Martinez.
Going into the first media timeout of the second half at 15:53, UNM was up 21 points at 62-41. The key buckets in that stretch were a Martinez 3-pointer and a Danridge dunk off a Dairese Gary pass that made it 62-41. Gary ended the game with 11 assists. The Lobos came out of the break and got a nice lob pass from Garth that ended in a Danridge dunk and a 64-41 UNM lead at 15:15.
It just got better for the Lobos. Martinez scored a layup off an offensive rebounds (his own shot) to give UNM a 75-56 lead. Martinez quickly came up with a steal on the other end and fed McDonald for a dunk. Martinez then got a baseline-dunk off a Gary pass and it was 79-56. When a McDonald trey formed a 82-56 Lobo lead, the game was officially a rout. Another McDonald trey made it 88-58 going into the media timeout at 7:21. If the Ole Miss bus hadn't been warmed up at halftime, it was time to start the engine.
Still, there was time for an exclamation point on this romp and, who else, Martinez provided it by giving up an easy layup to pass the ball back to Danridge for a windmill dunk and a 90-60 UNM lead. The Lobos coasted to the 103-70 final in front of 13,341.
The first half probably revealed to Alford the Lobo team he had envisioned going to battle with this season. The Lobos were quick, aggressive, smart, shot well, and did all that while honoring Alford's all-important rebound. Alford said his Lobos did a good job "understanding the fragments of the game."
The Lobos crushed Ole Miss on the boards 24-to-11 in the first 20 minutes with 11 coming on the offensive end and nine rebounds coming to the hands of Martinez. The UNM junior had seven offensive boards in the half.
The Lobos jumped to an 11-3 lead shooting 3-of-6 from the floor while Ole Miss was bricking at a 1-of-7 pace. The Rebels cut UNM's lead to 12-11, but then the Lobos powered away. Martinez hit a cutting Gary with a quick pass for an easy layup to hand UNM a 26-18 lead. Faris then threw a Kevin McKale-like duck-under move on the Reb defense to form a 28-18 UNM lead.
Things got a bit nasty a few seconds later after Faris and DeAundre Cranston from Ole Miss got tangled fighting for a loose ball. Cranston absorbed an accidental hit to the head, but as he was jogging down the court next to Faris, the Ole Miss center launched a no-look right cross at Faris' chin. The shot missed Faris' chin, but was not missed by the officials. Cranston was ejected from the game and Faris was awarded two free throws on the flagrant personal foul with 7:09 to play.
"I was just running up the court and felt something hit my face," said Faris, who said it was easy to stay under control after the blow. "I just remembered how stupid I was the last game and I didn't want to be stupid again." Faris got hit with a technical foul with 21.8 seconds to play in UNM's 57-54 win at San Diego on Wednesday night.
Faris hit both free throws, followed that with a post move that led to a left-handed hook, and UNM was up 32-18. The Lobos continued to roll -- and rebound. Martinez hit a jumper off a Danridge feed to make it 36-22. and a nice wrap-around pass from Garth to Faris for a layup put UNM up 42-25. UNM controlled the boards at that point, 20-9. UNM upped its lead to 20 points at 45-25 when Danridge hauled down a rebound and turned it into a high, floating jumper at the other end. The Rebels hit a long trey at the buzzer to form the 49-32 halftime count.
Editor's note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and sports columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous articles are available at The Richard Stevens Corner