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The University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team made up for a slow start against Valparasio thanks to a big performance by Alex Kirk in the second half.
Kirk scored 10 of his team-high 12 points after the break, making up for his team’s lackluster 8-for-25 shooting performance in the first 20 minutes.
The Lobos improved to 10-0 on the season with a 65-52 win over Valparasio’s Crusaders. The 65 points they scored was a season low for the Lobos, but so was the 52 points allowed.
Kirk, who hit 4 of 7 attempts from the field, said UNM played more consistent offense in the second half to pull away.
“It was patience and getting a little bit better shots,” Kirk said. “I think we got the ball inside a little bit more in the second half. We started finishing, or at least getting to the line a little bit more. We started off a little slow in the beginning and picking it up and hitting some shots to pull away from them.”
Kirk, Chad Adams and Demetrius Walker all finished with 12 points to pace the Lobos, who are 10-0 for the second time in coach Steve Alford’s tenure. Walker scored 8 of the Lobos’ final 9 points.
UNM led just 29-25 at the break, but would force 23 Crusader turnovers and scored 22 points off those turnovers. UNM also dominated the boards, holding the Crusaders (6-3) to just one offensive rebound.
“We won by 13 points tonight and Kendall Williams didn’t have a field goal,” Alford said. “That is the way we have been through 10 games. Tony (Snell) gets one field goal, Demetrius has one and we win and that has been the way it is.”
The Lobos, who moved up one spot in the Associated Press poll to No. 17, play New Mexico State University in back-to-back games Friday and Dec. 19. Friday’s game is scheduled in The Pit.