ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Drew Gordon’s outing on Saturday was one of the greatest performances in Lobo history — and one of the best by anyone against a ranked team in years.
Gordon led New Mexico to a 65-45 blowout of 11th-ranked UNLV by scoring 27 points and grabbing 20 rebounds. He is the first Lobo to come up with a 20-20 showing since Jimmy Allen in 1976, but also became the first player to have a 20-20 against a ranked team (according to ESPN) since DeJuan Blair in 2009 did it for Pittsburgh against UConn.
⋄ The Rebels chose not to double-team Gordon for most of the game, and they paid the price.
“I think it’s because when they were watching film,” Gordon said, “they saw that when people start doubling we have such dangerous shooters that we can kick it out and get a 3 instead of a possible two.”
As Gordon continued to have his way in the paint, UNLV began to double-team a bit more often.
“But when they did, it was big-big (with another big man),” he said, “and it was an easy dump-down for our other big to get a bucket. So, I think we’re a really hard team to double.”
♦ Dairese Gary is a tough act to follow, but the Lobos’ leader-by-committee system seems to be working.
First-year UNLV coach Dave Rice, who coached against the Lobos in the past as a Brigham Young assistant, was a great admirer of Gary, the former Lobos point guard.
Gary’s absence, Rice suggested, could have been a factor in New Mexico’s two non-conference defeats and in their January Mountain West losses to San Diego State and UNLV.
“It seems to me that (the Lobos) certainly have figured out how to play without Dairese Gary,” Rice said.
♦ The contest is believed to be the first Lobo game televised nationally in the Pit by CBS since 1997. The network also aired the St. John’s-Kentucky game at the same time Saturday. The UNM sports information department said 49 percent of the country received the UNM-UNLV game on CBS.
♦ The Lobos’ margin of victory was their biggest ever against the Rebels.
♦ The Lobos outscored UNLV 29-9 over the final 12:14, and held the Rebels to four field goals in the second half.
♦ UNM had its worst first-half shooting of the season at 30.8 percent (9-for-26), but shot 51.5 percent (17-for-33) after halftime.
♦ New Mexico committed 10 turnovers, but just one in the second half.
♦ The Lobos beat 13th-ranked San Diego State on Wednesday, giving them back-to-back victories against ranked teams for the first time since the 1992-93 season when they won two straight home games against No. 9 Utah and No. 21 BYU.
♦ UNM has won seven straight by an average of 20.7 points and has won its eight Mountain West Conference games by an average of 19.4 points.
♦ The Lobo bench outscored UNLV’s 14-3 after outscoring San Diego State’s 33-11 on Wednesday.
— This article appeared on page D5 of the Albuquerque Journal