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November 28, 2010It was easy. Very easy. Far too easy. So easy that it was almost hard to watch.
New Mexico and the University of San Diego had played some close games in the past.
The Toreros had even beaten UNM twice in recent history and lost by just four points last year and two points the year before.
This time was a little different with the Lobos winning 75-46 in the Pit on Sunday afternoon. UNM controlled the game from the start and turned it into a rout early in the second half. It was a total departure from the history of the series.
And UNM coach Steve Alford had a simple explanation, but its not a new train of thought for him. He has believed in defense since the day he arrived in Albuquerque, and that has not changed. In a rare case, he was happy with what he saw.
"I was really pleased with our effort on defense,'' Alford said. "We talked about continuing to pose our will on defense.''
USD shot only 37.0 percent from the floor, and a poorly 16.7 percent on 3-pointers. The Lobos boxed out well and had a 37-26 rebounding advantage and forced 17 turnovers by the Toreros.
"I was very, very pleased with our guys' effort,'' Alford noted. "We guarded really well for 40 minutes. I thought we did a really good job. We got good effort from everyone.''
The Lobos are 4-1. But more importantly, they were just a bunch of good players for the first week or two and now they are becoming a team. They had 18 assists against 1-4 San Diego.
"I think we executed our offense well. That takes some time,'' Alford explained. "We have not been good. Today, we took a positive step. We had a week to work on our half-court execution.''
The high scorer for UNM was guard Jamal Fenton, a fiesty little guy who creates chaos with his quickness. He was 4-for-7 on 3-pointers and finished with 16 points in 21 minutes.
"I just hit one. After that, the goal started looking big,'' Fenton noted.
The Lobos go on the road to Southern Illinois and New Mexico State before returning to the Pit on Dec. 11 to play the Aggies.
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