10:00 PM ET, February 23, 2010
Moby Arena, Fort Collins, Colorado
While a showdown against a conference rival with first place potentially on the line awaits New Mexico this weekend, the Mountain West leaders know they must remain focused on the challenge they face before then.After surviving a scare from the league's last-place team, the 10th-ranked Lobos look to tie a Mountain West record with a 12th consecutive conference victory while trying for a seventh straight win over host Colorado State on Tuesday night.New Mexico (25-3, 11-2) holds a one-half game lead over No. 13 BYU. Before the teams square off Saturday in Provo, each has one challenge to meet. The Cougars host third-place San Diego State on Wednesday, a night after the Lobos try for a sixth consecutive road win against the Rams (15-11, 6-6).Based on its recent history against Colorado State, it would seem New Mexico is in good shape to remain atop the league standings after this contest. The Lobos, however, know better than to assume anything after needing double overtime to win 81-79 at Colorado State last season, and rallying for a 59-56 win over last-place Air Force at home Saturday."It's about preparation," senior forward Roman Martinez said. "Every team's going to come after us and give us their best shot, so we need to prepare even harder."Darington Hobson scored 17 points, including a putback with 16.9 seconds remaining, and Dairese Gary made two free throws with 2.5 seconds left for the Lobos, who shot 40.9 percent while recording their lowest point total of the season."They're not always going to go as scripted," said Lobos coach Steve Alford, whose team hasn't lost since falling 74-62 to UNLV on Jan. 9. "Sometimes, you've got to find a way to win."That victory enabled the Lobos to climb into the top 10 for the first time in 12 seasons. They have the best record in school history at this point."These are exciting times," said Alford, who's in his third season with New Mexico since leaving Iowa. "To crack the top 10 is special. It's another step that is really remarkable for us. It's very encouraging for the future of our program."In the immediate future, New Mexico will try to match the conference record of 12 straight Mountain West wins, set by Utah during the 2004-05 season. New Mexico, which hasn't lost in Fort Collins since March 6, 2004, also looks to set a school record with its sixth straight conference road victory.Gary had 17 points and Martinez added 12 in the Lobos' 82-64 home win over Colorado State on Jan. 23. Gary has averaged 17.5 points and 6.5 assists in his last two games against the Rams.Colorado State looks to avoid a third straight loss after falling 70-39 at UNLV on Saturday. Andy Ogide had eight points and 12 rebounds as the Rams shot 11 of 50 from the field in their lowest-scoring game since Nov. 9, 2007."This is an experience for our guys to go through and learn from," coach Tim Miles told the school's official Web site.Bouncing back from that loss might not be easy for the Rams, who have committed 33 turnovers and shot 34.6 percent in their last two home games against New Mexico.Though freshman leading scorer Dorian Green (12.4 points per game) was held to six points and 2 of 7 shooting against UNLV, he scored 13 and went 5 for 10 against the Lobos last month.Colorado State has lost nine straight against ranked opponents since a 60-48 win over then-No. 25 Air Force on March 11, 2004.
|Avg Points Allowed||67.1||66.5|
|Conference||Mountain West||Mountain West|