Tennessee 58

(4-4, 0-1 away)

New Mexico 77

(10-1, 9-0 home)

    9:30 PM ET, December 18, 2004

    The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico

    1 2 T
    TENN 17 4158
    UNM 29 4877

    New Mexico 77, Tennessee 58

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Danny Granger and the New Mexico Lobos sure look like they're ready for nationally ranked Wake Forest.

    Granger, the Lobos' multitalented forward, scored 16 of his 20 points over the final 12 minutes Saturday night and New Mexico got its sixth straight win by beating Tennessee, 77-58.

    New Mexico (10-1) matched its best start in four years and tuned up with a meeting next week against the No. 6 Deacon Demons with a dominating effort against the Volunteers (4-4).

    "That was a very nice step for our guys," said New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay. "This will hopefully build some confidence for Wake."

    It was Granger who delivered the knockout punch after Tennessee had sliced a 12-point New Mexico lead at halftime to four.

    Double-teamed and held to three points in the first half, Granger sparked an 18-6 run by the Lobos in the second half after Tennessee had cut a 12-point halftime deficit to 38-34 with 12:46 left.

    "He's such a dominant player," said McKay of Granger's second half scoring outburst. "He was just a little hesitant (in the first half) because he wants to get our program some national exposure. He has a chance to carry our team a long way."

    The Volunteers' comeback was led by freshman guard Chris Lofton, who finished with 19 points, including going 5-for-5 on 3-pointers.

    A layup by JaJuan Smith got Tennessee within four and the Volunteers had a chance to make it a one point game, but Scooter McFagdon's 3-pointer rimmed out.

    It was all Granger and New Mexico after that. He scored seven quick points, connecting on a 16-foot jumper; a 3-pointer after stealing the ball from Volunteer Andre Patterson and a shot in the lane that pushed New Mexico's lead up to 50-36 with 9:57 left.

    Back-to-back baskets by Troy DeVries and David Chiotti finished the run and gave New Mexico a 56-38 lead.

    "In the second half, I just got into a rhythm," Granger said. "They cut it to four and we didn't lose our composure."

    New Mexico hit 13 of its last 18 shots in the second half and shot 64 percent in the final 20 minutes. The Lobos also had a season-low 8 turnovers -- just 1 in the first half -- and shut down the Volunteers' inside game.

    McFagdon was the only effective scorer for the Volunteers inside. He finished with 16 points, 14 of them in the second half and most of those after the outcome was no longer in doubt.

    Tennessee center Brandon Crump, who was averaging 12 points a game and had scored in double figures in the Vols' last four games, scored just two points.

    "Our defense carried us through the entire game," McKay said. "Defensively, they (Volunteers) didn't get any good looks."

    Both teams had plenty of open shots in the first half, but both struggled. They combined to hit just 6 of 28 3-pointers in the opening half.

    Tennessee too shot much better in the second half, hitting 13 of 22 shots. But the Vols couldn't shut down Granger and the Lobos' balanced offense.

    Five New Mexico players scored in double figures. DeVries scored 9 of the Lobos' first 17 points and finished with 16. Mark Walters scored 14, Chiotti 11 and Alfred Neale 10.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    2004-05 Season

    » Dec 18, 2004 @UNM 77, TENN 58Recap