|Lobos Trump NM Highlands in Final Tune-Up Game|
|Written by James Michaels|
|Monday, 05 November 2012 21:28|
If you can’t beat 'em, beat 'em up.
That seemed to be New Mexico Highlands’ motto tonight as they committed an astounding 33 personal fouls, resulting in 35 converted free throws for the Lobos on 48 attempts (72.9%).
Like most exhibitions for the Lobos, this was to tune-up the things they need to improve before the regular season. They seemed to accomplish that for the most part, while still winning the game handedly, 92-70.
The Lobos were led by their two big men tonight, Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow.
“It felt really good,” said Kirk, who saw his first game action in 594 days. “Definitely the first few minutes I was really nervous. I had flashbacks of that Detroit game my freshman year of me running up and down the court not knowing where I was going. Once I got the flow, I felt really good.”
Bairstow, the 6-foot-9 Australia native has been the Lobos’ best player throughout the two exhibition games, as he had 36 points to go along with 15 rebounds in the two contests.
New Mexico’s frontcourt was the biggest question coming into the year, and if their performance tonight is any indication, that may not be a question much longer. Both Kirk and Bairstow, however, will need to attack the glass a bit more for the Lobos.
Coach Steve Alford did experiment with having Kirk and Bairstow on the court at the same time, but it is clear that the Lobos are at their best when they are in a four-guard lineup.
Starting guards, Hugh Greenwood (10), Kendall Williams (12) and Tony Snell (11) all scored in double figures, while Demetrius Walker finished with just seven points on 2-of-10 shooting. Greenwood continues to show his ability to stabilize the offense, while contributing on defense, too. The sophomore point guard finished with game highs in steals (5) and also came down with six rebounds, his second straight strong rebounding performance.
Tony Snell scored 10 of his 11 points in the first half, when he showed an improved ability to get to the basket. That was my biggest question coming into the year, whether or not Snell would show some killer instinct and use his athleticism to get to the basket, he proved to me tonight that he can. It’s worth noting, though, that he was virtually a non-factor in the second half for the Lobos.
The role players for the Lobos were very impressive tonight, led by freshmen Nick Banyard and Cleveland Thomas. They both showed great maturity in their game tonight with hustle plays on offense and solid effort on the defensive end.
The Lobos open their regular season when they host Davidson on Monday, November 12th at 11:59 p.m. as part of ESPN’s 24 hours of college basketball. The Lobos know what kind of basketball team they have; it’s now time to shift the focus to Davidson.
“All five starters are back from a team that won a championship last year and made the (NCAA) Tournament,” Alford said of Davidson. “So my biggest concern right now is Davidson and we’ve got to get our guys prepared here in the next six days.”
Stay tuned throughout the week for further coverage on the blog.
|Last Updated on Monday, 05 November 2012 21:36|