Lobos Escape Boulder With 54-47 Victory
BOULDER, Colo. (AP/CU Sports Information) - J.R. Giddens 18-foot jumper in the corner with 33 seconds remaining helped the University of New Mexico Lobos to a 54-47 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes, Friday evening at the Coors Events Conference Center.
Tonight was the opener for both schools that featured the coaching debuts of CU's Jeff Bzdelik and UNM's Steve Alford.
After Marcus Hall converted a driving layup with 1:04 remaining in the game, cutting the Lobos deficit to 50-47, the UNM countered with Gidden's jump shot as the visitors won their first season-opening road game since the 1979-1980 season.
Buffaloes senior guard Richard Roby, who averaged 17.3 points last season, was nearly shut out for the first time in his career. His only point came on a free throw with 1:16 remaining that pulled Colorado to 50-45.
The Buffs trailed by double digits most of the game but began its run on Xavier Silas' 3-pointer with 2:20 remaining that cut the Lobos' lead to 49-43.
Alford, who was 152-106 in eight seasons at Iowa, replaced Ritchie McKay, who was fired after going 82-69 in five seasons, including 15-17 last year.
Bzdelik, a former coach of the Denver Nuggets and the Air Force Academy, bolted for Boulder after leading the Falcons to a 50-16 mark in two seasons, including a trip to the NIT Final Four last season. He replaced Ricardo Patton, who was let go after 11 years and a 7-20 season.
"I first of all want to thank our students and the great crowd we had," said CU Bzdelik of the 8,372 Coors Events Center crowd. "Awesome. They were here for us. The energy that was in this building and they were waiting for us to do something and unfortunately we didn't give them enough.
"We had more to do with losing this game than New Mexico had to do with winning this game. Defensively, we got enough stops and we competed. I think you can see what kind of talent Cory Higgins is. He held (J.R.) Giddins to four points. Offensively, we were totally out of synch and we did not recognize their change of defenses. We knew what to do, but we kind of stumbled through it. No excuses—we got beat."
It was the largest attended regular season opening game in 26 years of the Coors Events Center.
The Lobos, who beat the Buffs 106-65 last season in Albuquerque, jumped out to an early lead and took a 30-19 cushion into the locker room after closing the first half on a 9-2 run that featured a 3-pointer and two free throws by Wills.
Roby, who ranks seventh on Colorado's all-time scoring list, was one of two Buffaloes starters shut out in the first half. The other was Hall, who redshirted last season and underwent minor thumb surgery last month.
Hall scored all of Colorado's nine points over the first 10:18 of the second half, but his teammates went cold and New Mexico maintained a double-digit lead. Hall then committed charges on back-to-back possessions, one of them wiping off a basket for the Buffs.
Chad Toppert added 11 points for the Lobos, who outshot the Buffs 44 percent to 34 percent. Freshman Cory Higgins added 10 points for Colorado.