ALBUQUERQUE — The Utah basketball team has come close plenty of times, but hasn't won at The Pit in eight years.
The Utes will try to change that tonight when they take on the Lobos, who will be desperate for a win after dropping their first two Mountain West Conference games last week to San Diego State and UNLV.
A year ago, the Utes lost by six points after leading most of the first half, and in the two previous years, they took the Lobos into overtime before losing. The last win here was a 30-point thrashing back in 2002.
"We're excited; this is what college basketball is all about," said Utah coach Jim Boylen. "This is going to be a great experience for my team."
The Pit has undergone major renovations since last year, and its attendance has dropped nearly 4,000 to 14,586, but it should be another sellout.
The Lobos are led by junior Darington Hobson, a 6-foot-7 guard who played at College of Eastern Utah last year. He averages 16.4 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. Other starters include guards Dairese Gary (10.9 ppg) and Phillip McDonald (10.6 ppg), forward Roman Martinez (15.2 ppg) and forward A.J. Hardeman (7.0 ppg).
Utah will go with the same starting lineup it has used in its three-game winning streak with guards Luka Drca (11.1 ppg), Marshall Henderson (10.0 ppg) and Jace Tavita (1.0 ppg), forward Shawn Glover (3.6 ppg) and center David Foster (5.6 ppg).
Carlon Brown (13.3 ppg) and Jay Watkins (11.1 ppg) will both play significant minutes off the bench along with Jason Washburn (6.3 ppg).
Following tonight's game, the Utes head to Las Vegas for a game with UNLV on Saturday night.
Utes on the air
Utah (8-7, 1-0 MWC) at New Mexico (14-3, 0-2)
Tonight, 8 p.m. (MST)
The Pit, Albuquerque
TV: The mtn. Radio: 700 AM