Colorado State 88

(11-3, 1-1 MW)

New Mexico 79

(11-6, 0-2 MW)

    5:00 PM ET, January 6, 2007

    The Pit, Albuquerque, New Mexico

    1 2 T
    CSU 46 4288
    UNM 30 4979

    Top Performers

    Colorado St: J. Smith 28 Pts, 11 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 2 Blk

    New Mexico: T. Danridge 17 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Colorado State 88, New Mexico 79

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- This has been a tough week for the New Mexico Lobos.

    Five days after helping Bob Knight make coaching history, the Lobos fell to Colorado State, a program that has endured decades of losses and frustration in The Pit.

    Seven-footer Jason Smith had a double-double with 28 points and 11 rebounds and the Rams put on a torrid first half shooting display in an 88-79 win Saturday afternoon.

    CSU (11-3, 1-1 MWC) beat New Mexico (11-6, 0-2) in The Pit for only the fourth time in 39 games. The Rams did it with Smith's dominating play and soft touch jumpers inside and 11 3-pointers, seven of them in the first half.

    "There hasn't been a Ram that's been happy here in a lot of years," said CSU coach Dale Layer, who got his first win in Albuquerque. The win was the first for CSU in The Pit since 1993.

    New Mexico has lost three straight, including the 70-68 loss to Texas Tech on Monday that gave Knight his 880th career win.

    New Mexico played without leading scorer J.R. Giddens. Giddens, who practiced on Friday, was in street clothes and wearing a boot on his injured left ankle, which he hurt in the Lobos' win over Wichita State two weeks ago.

    Tony Danridge led New Mexico with 17 points. Reserve Kellen Walter scored a career-high 13, 10 of them over a span of 65 seconds late in the game when the Lobos used a 17-3 run to trim an 81-60 CSU lead to 84-77 with 55 seconds left.

    But even with Giddens in the lineup, the Lobos would have had a tough time beating the Rams, who hit 19 of 26 shots in the first half, including 7 of 11 3s. Smith scored 10 points in the first half, when the Lobos limited his touches and forced the Rams to prove they could hit from outside.

    The Rams did just that.

    "If you haven't noticed, Jason Smith is a very good player," New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay said. "We picked our poison and they did a nice job of knocking down 3s."

    CSU scored 13 straight points early in the first half to take a 19-8 lead. Guard Cory Lewis, who scored 10 straight points in the midst of that run, got the Rams rolling with a 3-pointer. He added a jumper in the lane and another 3-pointer and Smith hit a 10-footer and Tyler Smith connected on a 3.

    With just under eight minutes gone in the first half, the Rams had more turnovers -- four -- than missed shots, having hit 11 of their first 14.

    "When our guys got open looks and knocked down some 3s, it gave us great confidence and we built on that," Layer said.

    Smith, who matched his career scoring high -- he also had 28 against the Lobos in Albuquerque a year ago -- hit 11 of 15 shots, many of them lay-ups over the shorter New Mexico front line.

    New Mexico, burned by the Rams' deep corps of 3-pointer shooters in the first half, used less zone defense in the second half and that didn't work either as Smith shook free time and again for high-percentage shots.

    "It was hard for them to double down on him because we were shooting so well from the perimeter. All four of our (guards) knocked down shots," Layer said.

    Lewis, who scored 15 points in the first half, finished with 17 and Tim Denson scored 15. Stephan Gilling added 12 on four 3-pointers.

    It was a 3-pointer by Gilling with 7:07 left that cooled a brief New Mexico rally and heated up McKay. The Lobos had cut the CSU lead to 62-53 on a 3-pointer by Danridge when a well-covered Gilling connected.

    As the shot swished through, McKay slammed his fist into the press table.

    New Mexico, which trailed 46-30 at halftime, scored the first seven points of the second half on a 3-pointer by Darren Prentice and back-to-back field goals by Danridge. Smith halted the rally with a 3-point play and New Mexico would get no closer than the seven-point margin in the final minute.

    Giddens, who leads the Lobos in scoring with a 17.7 average and appeared to be at full speed in practice Friday, said he had re-aggravated his ankle injury earlier in the week.

    "I shouldn't have been running on it," he said.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 88 79
    FG Made-Attempted 31-49 (.633) 30-67 (.448)
    3P Made-Attempted 11-20 (.550) 11-29 (.379)
    FT Made-Attempted 15-18 (.833) 8-10 (.800)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 19 2

    2006-07 Season

    » Jan 6, 2007 CSU 88, @UNM 79Recap
    Feb 3, 2007 UNM 70, @CSU 66Recap