Lobos overpower rival New Mexico State, 73-58

Posted at: 12/15/2012 1:18 PM
Updated at: 12/15/2012 6:39 PM
By: Shaun Griswold, KOB.com

The No. 17 New Mexico Lobos continued their perfect season with a route at The Pit against interstate rival New Mexico State, 73-58.

Despite the visitor’s height advantage, New Mexico (11-0) dominated the Aggies (5-5) in nearly every aspect in the game.

New Mexico shot 42 percent from the field, 53 percent from the 3-point line and a balmy 74 percent on 26-35 shooting from the free throw line.

The Aggies poor second half shooting led to weak game totals. As a team, New Mexico State was 32 percent from the field and a cool 25 percent from long range.

Although a lot was made about the towering appearance of the 7-foot-5 Sim Bhuller playing center for the Aggies, his actual presence was more pint sized. He had 9 points and two rebounds in 24 minutes on the court, including just two made buckets in the first half.

The big man with the larger presence on the court was 7-footer Alex Kirk. The Lobos center, appearing diminutive at times when standing near Bhuller, had 15 points on 5 for 11 shooting. He also grabbed 6 rebounds.

New Mexico had four players, including Kirk, score in double digits.

Kendall Williams (15), shrugged off a slow start to shoot 4 for 10 from the field and 6 for 6 from the free throw line.

Chad Adams chipped in 13 points and Tony Snell contributed 10 points.

Daniel Mullings led the Aggies with 14 points. Although eight other players scored for New Mexico State, none made it into double digits.

First Half

The New Mexico Lobos head into halftime ahead of the New Mexico State Aggies 39-32 at The Pit in Albuquerque.

New Mexico is shooting 50 percent from the field (12-24) and, per usual, lights out from the free throw line (11-13).

Center Alex Kirk, has 9 points to lead the Lobos in scoring.

The 7-foot center is dwarfed when compared to the Aggies’ 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhuller, who has just 4 points in 12 minutes of play.

If Kirk looks small, the New Mexico four guard lineup looks diminutive whenever Bhuller is on the court.

However, the size difference hasn’t been a problem for the Lobos.

Seven different players have scored for New Mexico.

Chad Adams, Kendall Williams and Tony Snell each have 6 points.

New Mexico State is led in scoring by Daniel Mullings. He has 7 points.

The Aggies bench - led by Terrel de Rouen and Renaldo Dixon with 5 points each - is outscoring the Lobos 13-7.  

Pregame

Cherry and silver takes on crimson and white tonight at the Pit.

The New Mexico Lobos will take on the New Mexico State Aggies in the first men’s basketball game of the Rio Grande Rivalry this season.

Tonight, the Lobos (10-0) host the Aggies (5-4) for the 209th matchup between the New Mexico schools.

Tip-off is set at 4 p.m. Four days later the two teams will meet up in Las Cruces for the second game in the series.

Last season, each team won on their opponent’s home court.

The Aggies took the Lobos out of rhythm with physical play to win 62-53 in Albuquerque. A month later, the Lobos dominated New Mexico State by 20 points in Las Cruces. Overall, the Lobos lead the series 113-95, including a 70-37 record at home.

So what can fans expect from the rivalry in 2012?

Anticipate the Aggies to show off their size against the guard heavy Lobos.

New Mexico State is likely to start 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar in a matchup against the Lobos’ 7-footer, Alex Kirk.

The Aggies will also play 6-foot-8 forward Bandja Sky and 6-foot-9 forward Renaldo Dixon, but will likely be without 6-foot-10 center Tshilildzi Nephawe due to injury.

Despite it’s mostly four guard lineup, New Mexico is out rebounding opponents this season.

The Lobos will look for offense from Tony Snell (11.7 ppg) and Kendall Williams (13.2 ppg). Cameron Bairstow will also get a lot of work in rotation.

Bairstow is averaging 8.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

Expect the Lobos to attempt to create foul trouble for the Aggies.

The Lobos have shot 76 percent from the free throw line, 2nd in the Mountain West Conference and 3rd in the nation.

4 p.m. (MT)

The Pit - Albuquerque, N.M.

TV: CBS Sports Network

RADIO: 770 KKOB-AM (Albuquerque) 103.9 FM (Las Cruces)

WEB: Follow @shaun505 on Twitter for live updates