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Alex Kirk was one of four University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball players in double-figures as the Lobos crushed Alabama A & M in their season opener.
Kirk, the former Los Alamos Hilltopper standout, had a double-double for the Lobos as they thumped Alabama A & M 88-52 at The Pit. Kirk finished with 16 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds (5 offensive, 7 defensive) in the rout.
The game was the first official game – the Lobos won both their exhibition games last week – under new head coach Craig ‘Noodles’ Neal, who was named the Lobos coach shortly after the departure of Steve Alford in March.
“Yeah, I was nervous again,” Neal said after the game. “This one counted. But really proud of our guys. That’s the way I envisioned our guys playing. I thought our veteran guys really led our younger guys in the sense that that’s probably one of the best starts we’ve had here in a long time. The veterans came out, imposed their will on them and I thought they really, really did everything I asked them to do from a defensive standpoint.”
UNM (1-0) led 45-26 at the half and didn’t let up much in the second half to win the contest going away. UNM never trailed in the ballgame.
Lobo forward Cameron Bairstow had 22 points to lead the Lobos. Kendall Williams added 17 points and Cullen Neal, Craig’s son and standout player at Eldorado, had 12 points and 2 assists in his collegiate debut.
Jeremy Crutcher had 17 points for Alabama A & M (0-1), the only A & M player to finish with more than 8.
The Lobos play again Sunday afternoon against another small-time team, Charleston Southern.