Stevens: Alford's Lobos Cooled Down 55-34 by San Diego State

Jan. 26, 2013

Final Stats

New Mexico Lobos Men's Basketball - On The Mountain West Road

Saturday: San Diego State 55, New Mexico 34

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

Holding the run-and-gun San Diego State Aztecs to 55 points in San Diego. Not bad. Scoring only 34 at your end. Not good.

It was a bad day for Lobos in San Diego, but maybe when you shoot 25 percent and only score 34 points, it doesn't matter where you are playing.

The New Mexico Lobos ran into a quick-handed San Diego State team playing with a dash of desperation combined with a whole lot of quickness and talent. The combination was too much for the No. 15/17 Lobos as they fell 55-34 Saturday afternoon in San Diego.

But the Aztecs won this game on the defensive end. They were in the Lobos' face all day.

""It was just one of those nights we could not make anything," said Lobo Coach Steve Alford. "We have to watch some tape and try to figure it out quickly. They took us out of everything.

"We obviously didn't play very well offensively. We just never got in a rhythm offensively the entire 40 minutes. They dominated our bigs and they locked up our guards."

The Aztecs ran to a 14-point first-half lead and just kept pulling away to slap down the Lobos by 21 points in Viejas Arena.

That 34 point total was the lowest ever by a Steve Alford-coached team and the lowest UNM total since a 34-32 Jan. 31, 1976 loss at Utah - in a slow-down game with no shot clock.

"Losing a game here, it's not the end of the world," said Alford. "When you are playing in a league like this, you are going to run into some tough days."

On this afternoon in San Diego, it looked like the Lobo offense had run into a bus.

The scoreboard really told the game's story, but the stat lines emphasized why the Aztecs had such an easy time with the Lobos.

  • UNM shot 25 percent from the floor - 11-of-44.

  • UNM lost the glass battle 42-26.

  • UNM was outscored 32-to-8 in the paint and 14-4 off the bench.

  • You take Kendal Williams' shooting off the stat line (5-9) and UNM went 6-of-35 from the floor and 1-of-13 off the bench.

  • UNM got two points from Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow, who combined to go 1-of-12 from the floor.

    "I thought we guarded them," said Alford. "I thought defensively our guys executed and did a good job guarding the way we wanted to guard. I like how we fought. I liked our effort. But I think this game we got out-toughed.

    "It was very uncharacteristic of the things we have been doing all year."

    The loss was UNM's first in the Mountain West race and the 17-3 Lobos dropped to 4-1 in league play - still a game ahead of the pack in the loss column. The win was a huge one - and a necessary one - for an Aztec team trying not to fall three games behind UNM.

    The Lobos next travel to another tough Mountain West stop with a Wednesday date in Laramie with the Wyoming Cowboys, who earlier beat SDSU in the Cowboys' Arena-Auditorium.

    The Lobos had trouble with their offense in San Diego. Laramie doesn't look like a friendly port for any team looking for an offense.

    "We play a defensive team on Wednesday that is equally as tough as San Diego State and they play with fewer possessions," Alford said of next week's trip to Laramie. "Wyoming will shrink the game and we can't waste possessions up in Laramie like we did (at SDSU).

    "We need to look at this, move on, and try to go steal one in Laramie. The team we just played (SDSU) scored nine points in a half up in Laramie."

    The Lobos come out of the half down 33-19 and at the 15:26 break, the Aztecs were up 39-24. New Mexico needed to cut into its hole, but the Aztecs were making it difficult. At a 10:40 timeout, the home team was still up by 15 points: 43-28.

    A Kendall Williams' turnover led to a Jamaal Franklin dunk at 7:30 and the Aztecs carried a 17-point lead (47-30) in the stretch run. Snell and Williams had combined for ten turnovers at that point. The Aztecs cruised to the 55-34 final despite shooting only 40.4 percent from the floor.

    Williams ended with 14 points. Kirk and Hugh Greenwood had six boards each.

    First Half: San Diego State 33, New Mexico 19

    The Aztecs used a 14-3 run to take a 21-9 lead that the Lobos cut to 25-19. The Aztecs finished the half on an 8-0 run to form their 33-19 halftime lead. The Lobos last four possessions of the half ended with turnovers.

    The Aztecs bothered the Lobos with length and quickness on defense and held UNM to 32 percent shooting. SDSU shot 41 percent. The Aztecs won the board 22-to-10. The Aztecs outscored UNM 16-6 in the paint and 12-2 off the bench. Williams had eight points for UNM and Franklin (3-of-10) had eight points. UNM's Kirk and Bairstow combined to go 1-of-6 from the floor.

    At the first media break at 14:22, the Aztecs were up 7-5 aided by an 8-3 edge on the boards. UNM was shooting 2-of-9. The Aztecs came out and used two turnovers to go up 11-6 off a Spencer dunk. UNM called for a timeout. UNM had 14 possessions, but only six points.

    The Aztecs ran up 15-6, before Williams threw up a shot fake and then hit a big three to pull the Lobos to 15-9. The Aztecs were not fazed and ran to a 21-9 lead that again convinced Alford to burn a timeout. SDSU was on a 14-3 run. At the 7:26 media break, UNM had pulled to 23-14.

    The Lobo got as close as 25-19 before the Aztecs again threw out a run that handed them a 32-19 lead to carry into a break at the 2:36 mark. The Aztecs added a point to form the 33-19 score.