Texas Tech-New Mexico Preview

New Mexico and Texas Tech have met in each of the last three

years and five times since the 2002-03 season, but never during

that stretch has a game meant so much to both.

The No. 19 Lobos look to bounce back from their first loss of

the season when they host the 20th-ranked Red Raiders on Tuesday

night.

New Mexico (12-1) is hosting its first game between ranked

opponents since 1999 when it faced Utah.

Texas Tech (10-1) won in Lubbock 86-78 last season and New

Mexico won the previous year at home, 80-63. The Red Raiders lead

the all-time series 43-30, but are 18-26 in Albuquerque.

Both teams have returned to the rankings after lengthy absences

and each is looking to get back on track after recent losses.

The Lobos, who moved into the Top 25 for the first time in a

decade, fell for the first time this season, 75-66 to Oral Roberts

on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Texas Tech, ranked for the first time

since 2004-05, responded to an 85-83 upset by Wichita State on Dec.

19 with a 100-87 victory over Stanford last Tuesday.

This game features two of the top offenses in Division I, as

both are averaging more than 80 points per game. However, New

Mexico shot 37.3 percent in its last contest after going 20 of 67

(29.9 percent) in a win over Creighton in its previous game.

While the loss to the Golden Eagles was especially disappointing

as New Mexico was two wins shy of the best start in school history,

coach Steve Alford said it may have come at a good time with his

team preparing for a tough stretch that includes the Red Raiders

and a 9-2 Dayton team.

“I thought this was a difficult situation for our guys to handle

for a lot of reasons,” Alford said. “You’ve won 12 straight, now

you’re ranked … Things have kind of just gone according to plan,

and sometimes you need that plan to take a hit to see what you’re

made of. That’s what I’m anxious to see.”

Alford’s team will try to get back on track offensively after

struggling the last two games. Roman Martinez is second on the team

with 15.8 points per game, but he’s averaged 7.5 in the last two

and went 1 of 9 from the floor against Oral Roberts to finish with

four points.

Martinez and the Lobos will need to find their shooting tough to

compete with an equally well-balanced Texas Tech squad. The Red

Raiders had five players score in double figures in their win over

the Cardinal, led by Mike Singletary’s season-high 28 points.

Texas Tech had a four-point lead at the half before Singletary,

who played seven minutes in the first 20 minutes because of foul

trouble, helped his team open the second half with a 15-5 run.

Singletary is averaging 15.4 points. He was 9 of 12 from the

field and had six rebounds and three assists.

“It was good to come back in the second half and just lead my

team in every category really and to not have any turnovers, that’s

always a good game especially after a seven-turnover game,” he

said, referring to the loss to Wichita State. “That was a game I

wanted to forget really quickly.”

Singletary is averaging 18.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in two

games against New Mexico.