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December 20, 2010

Transfer makes his long-awaited debut in UNM win

The new guy looked pretty good, but one of the old guys looked even better for the Lobos Sunday afternoon.

With transfer Drew Gordon making his debut for New Mexico, junior Phillip McDonald was the real star as UNM had an easy time in beating The Citadel 84-58 in the Pit in a game that was actually part of the Las Vegas Classic.

With five minutes gone in the game, the 6-9 Gordon stepped onto the court for the first time in over a year. He received a standing ovation.

``The ovation I got was amazing,'' said Gordon, the former starter at UCLA. ``We have great fans. I was really pleased with that.''

Appropriately, Gordon's first basket as a Lobo was a two-handed, break-away dunk.

``It was crazy. I couldn't sleep. I was shaking before the game,'' he said.

While big things are expected from him, Gordon is the first to say that it will take time for him to get back into a flow.

``There is a lot of difference between game speed and practice speed,'' he said. ``I realize I need to get in better shape. I know what I need to work on. I've got to get back into the swing of things.''

Gordon had 11 points and three rounds in 20 minutes. McDonald had 17 points and six rebounds in 21 minutes. McDonald has had a slow start this season, missing the first three games with an elbow injury and then not shooting well. He was 7-for-14 and four of his rebounds were offensive.

``Phillip has been one of our best rebounders,'' noted UNM coach Steve Alford. ``When your shooting guard can be your leading rebounder …''

The Lobos used all 13 players with 11 scoring. Forward Curtis Dennis has moved to the end of the bench and got just two minutes and the only scholarship player to not score.

The Lobos play Colorado Wednesday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas in the third round of the Las Vegas Classic. On Thursday, New Mexico plays either Indiana or Northern Iowa at the Orleans.


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