UNLV BASKETBALL:

Danridge answers Alford’s call, lifts Lobos

Senior’s career-high 26 complements stingy defense, free throw proficiency

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Justin M. Bowen

New Mexico defenders surround Rene Rougeau Saturday as UNLV took on the New Mexico Lobos Saturday in Albuquerque New Mexico at the Pit. The Lobos defeated the Rebels 73-69 in overtime; it was the second straight game UNLV has lost in overtime.

Overtime Again...Same Result

UNLV lost its second straight overtime game, this one to New Mexico, 73-69, Saturday night at The Pit.

UNLV at New Mexico

Wink Adams lays it in over a New Mexico defender Saturday as UNLV took on the New Mexico Lobos Saturday in Albuquerque New Mexico at the Pit. The Lobos defeated the Rebels 73-69 in overtime; it was the second straight game UNLV has lost in overtime. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

UNM POSTGAME: Rebels fall into various Pits

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Ryan Greene, Rob Miech and Ron Kantowski reflect on their experiences on Saturday night at The Pit, where UNLV fell to New Mexico in overtime, 73-69. The guys talk about the infamous 'ramp,' break down the effect of René Rougeau's technical foul and whether the Rebels' season now again comes down to three games in March.

Beyond the Sun

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Steve Alford figured coming in that his New Mexico team playing its patented defense and hitting its free throws would decide the Lobos' fate against UNLV on Saturday night at The Pit.

Well, let's see.

Entering round two with the Rebels, New Mexico ranked first in the Mountain West in scoring defense, holding opponents to 39.6 percent shooting.

UNLV shot only 38.7 percent on Saturday.

As for free throws, the Lobos came in as the league's third-worst team from the stripe, firing at 69.3 percent.

They hit 21 out of 25 -- 84 percent.

Still, that alone wouldn't be enough.

Every bit of Tony Danridge's career-high 26 points helped push New Mexico over the top en route to a 73-69 overtime triumph, improving the Lobos to 6-3 in league play and dropping the Rebels to 5-4.

"We really challenged our seniors at halftime," said the second-year New Mexico coach, whose team trailed by six points at the break. "Tony was challenged the most at halftime and he responded. He had one shot at halftime. We told Tony if he wasn't going to shoot, we weren't going to win."

Danridge scored New Mexico's first 11 points out of the locker room, and strung together 24 of his 26 after the break.

Typically a slasher who can finish from in close thanks to an impressive vertical leap, Danridge mixed in several mid-range jumpers to start the second half, and nothing UNLV threw at him defensively seemed to work.

He also had nine rebounds, and got one inadvertent assist that you won't find on a stat sheet.

He was the one who got tangled up with UNLV's René Rougeau while going for a board when Rougeau drew a personal foul call and then a technical which ended his night.

The result were four converted free throws between Danridge and Chad Toppert, which sent the Lobos from trailing by one to leading by three.

"We were both boxing out, both being physical," Danridge said, looking back on the play. "It probably could have gone either way."

Most important, though, was a running bank shot from the left block with 5.4 seconds left to play in overtime which proved to be the game-winner.

Danridge gave the crowd of 17,407 plenty of reason to get beyond loud in the second half. Loud to the point where his ears began to ring.

"I felt pretty good -- I had it going a little bit," Danridge said. "The plays, I was reading lips to get the plays."

Either way, the win gave the Lobos' senior swingman a feeling of redemption after missing a late put-back which could have tied the game at the end of regulation in New Mexico's 60-58 loss at UNLV on Jan. 3.

"It feels real good -- It's a blessing," Danridge added. "We needed this game to stay one game out of (the MWC regular season lead). We're shooting for that No. 1 spot, so it's a really big game."

The win gave New Mexico six victories in its last eight outings, and the schedule doesn't get any easier, as Alford's club finishes the regular season with four of its seven games away from The Pit.

It starts on Wednesday at Air Force. And even though the Falcons remain the Mountain West's lone winless team in conference play, a gritty win against UNLV reminded the Lobos that nothing will come easy from here on out.

"It's a big step," Danridge said. "But we have to get right back in it tomorrow, get ready for Air Force."

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  1. I wonder if part of Alford's message to tony was to do whatever the hell he felt like, cuz he was going to get away with anything that he did. "It's ok if you take 10 steps tony, they won't call it and at the same time that you drive they will make phantom calls. Not to mention, the Rebels aren't going to play any defense on you at all!" Yeah, real fine effort tony! Against thin air, I could have made all your shots.

    No, no wait Ryan, I get it....they earrrrnnnned their victory.

  2. I thought the Lobos were the only team that the officials hated, All three of our close losses were on the raod...ya thats right it was the refs fault, its a conspiracy, we were robbed,
    Or maybe we lost a conference road game that happens a lot in the MWC

  3. Dandridge is a big time player. I was glad when he sat out last year. I'm very happy that he is a senior.

  4. He's a big time traveler who got open looks from no defense.

    lildilhole, to prove that you are as bias as I am, you have totally ignored any comments I've made about UNLV's ineptitude in combination with losing that game. You have only focused on my complaints about the refs, scared to death that you won't get proper credit for the win that was handed to you by us and the refs.

    Why don't you two idiots make these comments on your own board, we don't want to read it.

  5. Who is the other person you are refering to besides Liloldlobo here FastCamron?

  6. Read your comment wrong, my bad dequals.

  7. Fast it's called the WORLD wide web, the are no borders. I like to read this fish wrap and have family and tuition money in Vegas. If you don't like critisism of your post....oh well. I have seen a ton of Rebel-Lobo games and with few exceptions they were like the last 2 close to the end and well played. You mention the Refs in all your posts so obviously conspiracy abounds.

  8. It's cool FastCamron. I'm a big time UNLV fan. New Mexico can kiss it!!!!!!