Hounds will help open new Pit

Freedom New Mexico: Clarence Plank ENMU freshman Logan Turnbow rebounds the ball and tries to dunk during practice at Greyhound Arena on Tuesday.

Freedom New Mexico

PORTALES — The Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball team played well in the first of three preseason exhibitions on Saturday, losing at Texas-El Paso 80-76.

UTEP is coming off an NCAA tournament appearance last season. ENMU will face another team from last year’s NCAA Division I field tonight when it helps debut New Mexico’s newly renovated Pit in a 7:05 p.m. tipoff at Albuquerque.

The teams will be meeting in an exhibition for the third time. They’ve also played 16 regular-season games, including ENMU’s stunning 81-76 victory at The Pit in December 1991.

Fourth-year Lobos coach Steve Alford is trying to work younger players into the mix after the graduation of All-Mountain West Conference selections Darington Hobson and Roman Martinez.

“The obvious question is how quickly some of these guys grow up,” Alford was quoted as saying on the UNM website. “This is my youngest team ever.”

The Pit renovation cost $60 million and was unveiled to the public in an open house on Monday.

ENMU travels to another Division I tournament team from last year, New Mexico State, next Monday. The regular-season opener is Nov. 12 against Northern New Mexico at Greyhound Arena.