9:00 PM ET, February 19, 2005
University Arena, Albuquerque, New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Bring on nationally ranked Utah, its 18-game win streak and lottery pick nominee Andrew Bogut.That's the message echoing from The Pit after New Mexico posted an imposing 91-72 win over Brigham Young Saturday night."We're ready said Lobo center David Chiotti. "We're a confident team and they've (Utes) have to come into The Pit and get a win."No. 14 Utah, which clinched the Mountain West Conference regular season title earlier in the day with a 65-56 win at Air Force, plays the Lobos here Monday night.While New Mexico might be catching a Utah team ready to relax a bit after clinching the league title, there's no doubt the Lobos (19-6, 6-4 MWC) appear to be peaking for a late season run.They've won five of their last six and are 16-1 at home. Against outmanned and injury-riddled BYU, Danny Granger scored 20 points, Troy DeVries hit his first five 3-pointers and the Lobos put the game away by hitting 19 of 25 (76 percent) shots in the first half."It wouldn't have mattered who played here tonight, they were going to lose" said BYU coach Steve Cleveland. "I thought they were just absolutely unbelievable offensively. They hit every big shot with hands contesting."New Mexico moved into a second place tie with Air Force in the conference while the Cougars (9-17, 3-8), lost for the seventh time in the last nine games.Cleveland also predicted the Lobos, who have played one of the weaker Division I schedules in the country this season, still face tough odds in trying to earn an NCAA tournament at-large bid if they don't win the conference tournament."They're playing like we were last year and we had our backs to the wall and had to win nine in a row to get in the tournament," Cleveland said. "They're going to have to do the same thing."BYU struggled at both ends of the floor and never threatened after falling behind 7-0 as Granger hit a 3-pointer, added a layup and David Chiotti scored inside.It was a complete turnaround from BYU's 68-53 win in Provo last month. Granger was injured and didn't play in that game and Chiotti played only 11 minutes because of a hip injury.Jared Jensen led the Cougars with 20 points and Mike Hall scored 19."We're a little bit undermanned, like they were at our place," Cleveland said. "We're not good enough ... this year, to compete with people who play like that."The Cougars were without sophomores Garner Meads and Keena Young. Meads has missed the last four games with a bad ankle and Young broke his right hand in practice earlier in the week.Led by DeVries on the perimeter the inside by the trio of Granger, David Chiotti and Alfred Neale, New Mexico hit 8 of its first 9 shots."I just took advantage of their big, slow-footed post," said Chiotti of his matchup with BYU center Derek Dawes. Chiotti finished with 16 points off a season-high 13 shots.It was a laughter that lent itself to a pair of strange plays involving Chiotti and Granger. Chiotti had one of his dunks go three-fourths of the way down the net and then bounce back out and Granger was assessed a technical late in the second half for slapping the backboard after a dunk."I was running down the floor. I thought it went in," Chiotti said of his almost field goal. "But it wasn't like Danny's little girlie dunk. I'd rather miss it trying to dunk it hard than do a weak dunk and then slap the glass to make up for the weak dunk."DeVries, who has much more trouble at the free throw line than from behind the arc, hit back-to-back 3s -- his second from about 26 feet -- that pushed the Lobos' lead to 30-18 with 8:34 left in the first half. DeVries, an enigma all season at the foul line, early in the game airballed another free throw, at least his sixth such miss this season.DeVries finished with 15 points and led a torrid shooting Lobo offense that through the first 24 minutes hit 10 of 12 3s and 13 of 19 in the game.In the paint, Chiotti, Granger and Neale, who scored 15 points, combined to hit 13 of 18 first half shots.
|FG Made-Attempted||27-49 (.551)||31-50 (.620)|
|3P Made-Attempted||6-16 (.375)||13-19 (.684)|
|FT Made-Attempted||12-19 (.632)||16-23 (.696)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||21 (0/0)||14 (0/0)|