Aug. 8, 2013
Melbourne, Australia --- Hugh Greenwood played in front of plenty of friends and family, but it was Alex Kirkthat stole the show. The junior hit for 26 points, including nine in the fourth quarter as UNM once again came from behind in the final stanza for a 78-66 over the Kilsyth Cobras. The game was played in front of about 500 fans at the Kilsyth Sports Stadium.
New Mexico had a comfortable lead at 33-20 in the second quarter, and it was still 39-28 in the second when Kilsyth went on a 20-4 run that sandwiched halftime, putting New Mexico down 48-43 with 6:18 to go, but Kirk followed a Kendall Williams three with a couple of buckets to tie it at 50. UNM would again be down four in the waning seconds, but Cleveland Thomashit a long three with less then four seconds to go in the quarter to make it 58-57 Kilsyth at the end of three.
It was all New Mexico from there. UNM opened the fourth with a punishing 13-3 run that took any drama of a Kilsyth win out of the picture. Williams opened the quarter with a three to give UNM the lead for good at 60-58. Kirk then hammered home a dunk and Thomas fed an alley-oop to Nick Banyardfor a 64-58 lead. Banyard later hit a free throw to cap an 11-0 run, and a Jayden Walsh baseline jumper was the only Kilsyth basket in what amounted to an 18-2 run.
"We got off to a fairly slow start, surged in the middle of the first half and got a lead, then hit a little bit of a lull," said head coach Craig Neal. "We got away from things, but the guys stuck together and played better in the second half. We guarded who we needed to guard and came out victorious."
Fittingly, Kirk closed the scoring with a three-pointer, giving him 26 on the night. That total led all scorers. Kendall Williamshad 16, Greenwood had 13 and Thomas had 11. Greenwood added eight rebounds and five steals, while Kirk also had nine boards.
For Kilsyth, Tim Lang led the way with 17 points, Tiri Masunda had 16, and Joel Naburgs had 10. UNM outrebounded Kilsyth by 12 at 45-31, and UNM shot .458 from the field, .429 from three, and .652 from the line.
The Lobos are now 2-0 on their three-game exhibition tour of Australia. Three players, Alex Kirk (22.5), Kendall Williams (20.0) and Cameron Bairstow(20.0) are averaging 20 or more points, and UNM has racked up 20 steals. UNM, which struggled at times shooting last year, is hitting at an .487 clip, including .357 from three. The numbers and results have been pleasing to Neal.
"I like our team, our team's good. We have good team chemistry and they are playing hard. We are giving the guys a day off tomorrow, they'll lift tomorrow with Diego (Baca) and hopefully get a little bit stronger," said Neal.
The Lobos will play their final game on Sunday at 5 p.m. against the Queensland All-Stars at the Southport School Basketball Stadium. According to the QABL website, "there will be live singers and dancers, as well as a canteen and bar available for people to enjoy a great Sunday afternoon of entertainment."
NOTES: Hugh Greenwood had about 30 supporters who made the trip from Hobart, including his sister Josie, who leaves for the University of New Mexico tomorrow. She is a freshman on the women's basketball team ... UNM shot 10-17 in the first quarter, 4-13 in the second, 5-13 in the third, and 8-16 in the fourth ... true to his word, the starting lineup saw changes, as Hugh Greenwood, Kendall Williams and Alex Kirk were joined by Merv Lindsay and Arthur Edwards ... UNM outscored Kilsyth 22-6 off turnovers, 20-16 in the paint, and 10-3 on second chance points.