The very talented UNLV Runnin' Rebels don't like the Pit. The place has had that effect on them for generations. Last year, UNLV visited the Pit and was blown out by 20. This year it was close. The Lobos missing enough freethrows down the stretch to give UNLV the chance to tie or win more than once, but it was not to be. The 6th man was too much...and so was 7-footer Alex Kirk from Los Alamos. Although not highly recruited, Kirk took some of the best frontcourt players in the nation to school. He dominated inside and outside from the opening. UNLV's phenom freshman, Anthony Bennett collected 3 fouls in the 1st half which slowed his aggressiveness down and the human flea, Khem Birch, could not ever get the best of the Lobos big man. When they stayed inside and established a solid guard low, Kirk popped out beyond the 3-point line and drilled it. Inside, some fancy footwork by Kirk led to a one-sided affair against some of the nation's best.
Kirk ended the game with a career high 23 points and 9 boards. Veteran guard Anthony Marshall led UNLV in both rebounds (9) and assists (7). That's not good when you have such size and atleticism in one frontcourt. Lots of credit also needs to go to and undersized and inujured Albuquerque native, Chad Adams, who had the unenviable task of guarding Bennett for much of the night- and keeping him in check. More than that, he kept the Lobos in it at the opening of the game by scoring 6 points early. He ended up outrebounding the apparent freshman of the year Bennett 10- 6.
Lobos beat UNLV (who I pick to go deep in the Big Dance) at the Pit. 65-60.