Red Raiders Downed By Lobos, 80-63
Dec. 15, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico fans will relish their team's latest win. Too bad coach Steve Alford can't enjoy it as much.
Freshman Dairese Gary scored a career-high 18 points, shooting 7-of-11 from the floor and hitting all four of his 3-point tries in New Mexico's 80-63 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday.
It gave Alford, New Mexico's first-year coach, his second win in five tries against Bob Knight, his coach at Indiana.
"It was very difficult, and I said that going into the game," said Alford, who grew up in New Castle, Ind. "I don't like pulling against Coach Knight. You've got to understand, I'm somebody who from third grade on went to his basketball camp."
J.R. Giddens and Chad Toppert each scored 13 points and the Lobos (9-2) hit 9-of-11 on 3-pointers, setting a school record with their 81.8 percentage.
New Mexico enjoyed a 30-23 rebounding advantage and had 13 offensive boards. Alford even threw in a little zone defense on inbounds plays to go with the man-to-man he learned under Knight.
"When I compete against Coach Knight, it's bittersweet," Alford said. "It's great for our program. I love winning, but I don't like the fact it had to be against a team and a coach that means a lot to me."
Knight understands. He recalled how difficult it was to face his old coach at Ohio State, the late Fred Taylor, early in his coaching days at Indiana.
Then there are all those former Knight players and assistants who have populated the head coaching ranks through the years.
"You're trying to win, and yet it's not the enjoyment you get out of winning a game where there's no personal involvement with the other team," Knight said. "That's never been easy for me, and I don't think it's easy for anybody."
Alford had beaten Knight only once in their first four meetings as coaches. In their most recent showdown three years ago, Alford's Iowa team handily beat Knight and Texas Tech, 83-53.
Alford, a two-time All-American, captained the Indiana team that won the 1987 NCAA title - the most recent of Knight's three national championships. Alford was waiting at New Mexico's bench when Knight walked to the floor just before tipoff.
Knight shook Alford's hand and wrapped an arm around his protege. They exchanged words, Alford smiled and laughed, then Knight walked to the visitors' bench.
"I've always been proud of Steve, but Steve does things that make you proud," Knight said.
The Lobos weren't gracious hosts, jumping to a 14-2 lead through the first 6 1/2 minutes. Everything went right for New Mexico, even Gary's one-handed 47-footer at the halftime buzzer for a 44-26 lead.
Maybe it was no mistake that in a matchup between Alford and Knight, an Indiana product was the player of the game. Gary played last season at Concord High School in Elkhart, Ind.
The big storyline - Alford vs. Knight - wasn't lost on the freshman.
"It was exciting, both of them being from Indiana," Gary said. "Folks from back home were calling, talking about the newspaper clippings and all that."
New Mexico, meanwhile, made all six of its 3-point tries in the first 20 minutes, and every Lobo who suited up had scored by halftime.
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