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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Alex Kirk knew of former New Mexico standout and NBA player Kenny Thomas, but didn't know he had just surpassed him.
Kirk set a New Mexico freshman scoring record with 31 points Wednesday night as the Lobos defeated Cal State Bakersfield 102-62.
Kirk, who was 11 of 13 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line, more than tripled his previous high of 10 points, matching that figure with 8:31 left in the first half.
"My father told me about Kenny Thomas," said Kirk, a 6-foot-11 post player. "I know he was a great player. I didn't even think about (setting the record), I just kept playing."
New Mexico coach Steve Alford said Kirk keeps improving. "For him to have a night like this, this early in his career is surprising."
Thomas held the previous Lobos freshman scoring record with 30 points in 1996.
New Mexico (12-3) and Bakersfield (8-7) traded leads eight times and were tied 20-all before the Lobos went on a 16-0 run. New Mexico ended the first half on a 30-9 run to lead 50-29 at the break and converted 14 of its last 21 shots to end the half.
Kirk finished the first half with 13 points, then scored the first seven points of the second half for the Lobos.
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