Stevens: Alford's Lobos Stunned 83-64 by TCU Horned Frogs

Feb. 25, 2012

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

Saturday: TCU Horned Frogs (17-11, 7-5) 83, New Mexico Lobos (22-6, 8-4) 64

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

Once again a New Mexico Lobo game ended with a student section rushing the court and once again it was the fans of the enemy, who were rolling in a wild celebration of victory.

However, if the Lobos return to The Pit and win two home games, the New Mexico fans will have a chance to storm the court to celebrate a 2012 Mountain West title.

"We have two games left at home and we're in first place," said Lobo Coach Steve Alford after UNM's 83-64 league loss Saturday at TCU. "It's not the end of the world. We have to get past it.

"If we hold serve at home, we are going to be league champs."

The Lobos took a two-game Mountain West lead into games at Colorado State and TCU, but will return to The Pit in a first-place tie. If the Lobos sweep Air Force and Boise State, UNM will be guaranteed no worse than a tie for the 2012 title.

The TCU Horned Frogs ran out of a 48-48 tie with 13:48 to play, into a 58-48 lead with 10:42 to go, and kept on running to a convincing 83-64 MW victory over the UNM Lobos.

TCU was up 72-62 with 1:59 to play and kept the pedal to the medal in routing the Lobos by 19 points. The game was pretty much a back-and-forth affair until TCU took over in the final ten minutes of the second half.

"It was a tough road trip," said Alford. "Tonight, in the second half in particular, we were very poor defensively. Our guys are frustrated. We're (coaches) frustrated. We have to get home.

"There are reasons that Colorado State and TCU haven't been beaten on their home courts this year. I thought TCU played extremely well and shot the ball extremely well. I didn't like how we guarded."

Amazingly, the Frogs had six players in double figures and tossed in 11 3-pointers to help them drop the Lobos to 8-4 in the MW race. TCU is 7-5 and only a game off the lead.

TCU got double digits from J.R. Cadot (15), Hank Thorns (14), Garlon Green (13), Craig Williams (12), Amric Fields (11) and Kyan Anderson (10). TCU had a big edge from long range with 11 treys to four for the Lobos. TCU also went 20-of-25 from the line where UNM went 14-of-21.

The Lobos had only two players in double figures: A.J. Hardeman with 15 and Kendall Williams with 10. Drew Gordon had 12 boards, but only seven points. Tony Snell, who had six points, was the only Lobo with more than one 3-pointer and Snell was 2-of-7 from long range.

The Frogs had eight steals and beat UNM 17-to-9 on second chance points.

"I thought they did a really good job with their press and we didn't handle it well," said Alford. "They scored a lot on transition play and they do that a lot in this building.

"We played about as poorly in the second half as we have played all year. But our league is hard. We've been trying to tell people that."

Second Half: TCU Horned Frogs 45, New Mexico Lobos 26

The Frogs opened the second half with a 3-pointer to go up 41-38. UNM then rolled into a 43-41 lead before TCU went on a 6-0 run to take a 47-43 lead into the 15:13 media break. Cameron Bairstow scored inside and added a free throw to make it 47-46. TCU stayed up 50-48 on a dunk by Connell Crossland.

The Frogs then ran to a 58-48 lead, convincing Alford to call a time out. UNM came out and got a 3-pointer from Greenwood to cut the gap to 58-51. A trey by Thorns made it 62-51 and Cabot knocked down two free throws to extend TCU to 64-51.

The Lobos scored back-to-back buckets inside, a dunk by Gordon and a tip by Hardeman, and it was 64-55 with 5:21 to play. At the 3:31 media break, the Lobos were in an eight-point hole, 68-60.

UNM came out of the break and Fenton missed the front end of a one-and-one. The Frogs made that hurt as they came down and Williams banged in a trey to push TCU up 71-60. UNM was down 11 points on the road.

TCU's Field hit a free throw to make it 72-61 for the Frogs. He missed his second shot and Cadot hauled down the board. TCU was up 11 with 2:34 to play and holding the ball. Cadot then slammed down a dunk and UNM was reeling, down 74-61. TCU cruised in for the impressive win.

First Half: TCU Horned Frogs 38, New Mexico Lobos 38

TCU jumped on the Lobos early to grab a 13-4 lead. UNM then threw out a 6-0 run to make it 13-10 and TCU called for a 30-second time out. At the 11:38 break, TCU was up 15-10. The Lobos actually were shooting well at that points, 5-of-9 for 55.6 percent, but TCU's effort had produced six more Frog shots and TCU was up by five points.

The Lobos steadily cut into that gap and used back-to-back dunks by Hardeman and Gordon to go up 23-20. UNM lost the lead at 30-28 on a 3-pointer by TCU's Garlon Green. At the 3:04 media break, the score was knotted at 30-all.

Chad Adams hit two free throws to push the Lobos up 32-30. Green hit again from long range to give TCU a 33-32 lead. Walker scored for UNM: 34-33. McDonald scored on a short jumper to make it 36-33 in UNM's favor, but Thorns hit a 3-pointer to form a 36-36 knot.

Green hit two free throws for a 38-36 TCU lead and Greenwood scored on a follow underneath to create the 38-all tie.