Davidson (1-0) at New Mexico (0-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, November 13, 2 a.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pit/Bob King Court (15,411) -- Albuquerque, New Mexico. Television: ESPN. Home Record: Davidson 1-0, UNM 0-0. Away Record: Davidson 0-0, UNM 0-0. Neutral Record: Davidson 0-0, UNM 0-0. Conference Record: Davidson 0-0, UNM 0-0. Series Record: New Mexico leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: College basketball fans rejoice as they feed their habit with around-the-clock action which includes a meeting between New Mexico and Davidson during the over-night at The Pit in Albuquerque.
The Lobos are again coming off a very successful campaign in 2011-12 when they posted a record of 28-7 and were 10-4 against the rest of the Mountain West Conference. Head coach Steve Alford stumbled out of the gate a bit with two losses to New Mexico State and Santa Clara in overtime through the first four games, but then the team put together a 13-game win streak and eventually defeated both San Diego State and UNLV in a span of three days to shake up the league standings.
UNM won the MWC Tournament and headed to the NCAA Tournament where they were the only team from the conference to register a win, a 75-68 triumph over Long Beach State, before suffering a narrow 59-56 setback against Louisville.
Davidson kicked off the 2012-13 season against Emory, a team that it had throttled in their most recent encounter (120-56) five years ago, and had similar results this time around with a 93-67 triumph at Belk Arena. With the victory the Wildcats advanced to 69-31 in season openers and moved to 11-13 in such contests under head coach Bob McKillop.
This game marks just the second ever between these two programs, with New Mexico claiming a 92-77 victory in the only other matchup back during the 1978-79 campaign at home.
Davidson led by only eight points at the break against Emory in the opener, but in the second half the hosts erupted for 56.7 percent shooting from the floor, including 6-of-8 shooting beyond the arc as the Wildcats cruised to the comfortable win. Brooks De'Mon was the high man in the scoring department with 24 points on 8-of-12 from the floor, followed by Chris Czerapowicz who tallied 15 points, JP Kuhlman 14 and Jake Cohen 13 points to go along with eight rebounds and six blocked shots. Davidson took great care of the ball, charged with just eight turnovers, and also seemed to be dialed in from three-point range where the squad made good on 10-of-22 attempts. Unfortunately, the three-point defense wasn't exactly up to snuff as Emory converted 8-of-19 out on the perimeter as well.
Losing Drew Gordon is certainly a blow to the Lobos, considering he was one of the top players in the conference as he averaged a double-double with 13.7 ppg and 11.1 rpg, but somehow coach Alford will figure a way to muddle through as he prepares his team for another exciting season. Bringing back Kendall Williams is key to this group's success as he is the top returning scorer (12.1 ppg). However, more important than his own scoring was his ability to find teammates in great scoring situations, resulting in a team-best 142 assists, against only 75 turnovers. Tony Snell, another important performer in the back court, accounted for 10.5 ppg as he displayed a confidence behind the three-point line that resulted in 72 triples through 35 starts. Demetrius Walker only started one game and shot a mere 38.9 percent from the floor, but he is poised to play a much more important role moving forward.
Taking on the Lobos is hard enough for Davidson, but to do so in the season opener in The Pit is not exactly a coveted spot for opposing teams. The Wildcats might stay close, but in the end Alford will have his squad on top.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 72, Davidson 63
11/12 10:35:58 ET