San Jose State vs New Mexico

Bairstow leads New Mexico past San Jose St 72-47


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) After missing the past two games with a shin injury, New Mexico post Alex Kirk showed little rust in scoring 13 points in 19 minutes Saturday against San Jose State .

His return helped the Lobos to a 72-47 win over the Spartans, their 10th straight loss.

''It was great to have Alex back with the team,'' said New Mexico coach Craig Neal. ''He looked really, really, as I would say, spry for a 7-footer. But his leg is better. He has no issues.''

Kirk's leg had been bothering him for chunks of the season, but it finally got to the point where he needed to sit.

''I feel like I could have played the last three games, 30 minutes, but you have to look at the future of it,'' Kirk said. ''Could I have been able to play 30 Wednesday? When would this finally catch up to me?''

After using his time on the bench to root on the Lobos (17-4, 8-1 Mountain West) two to road victories, he was anxious to get back on the floor.

''You just kind of sit there and cheer on your teammates,' Kirk said. ''I hoped that's the rowdiest our bench has been all year on those two road games. .When it's gone, it does feel good to come back. And when I came back, I just played my hardest like I normally do.''

With Kirk as a catalyst scoring seven quick points, the Lobos never trailed and used an early 13-0 run to take a 17-3 lead.

In the game's first seven minutes, the Spartans (6-16, 0-10) went 1-for-9 from the field, with the only basket coming on a wild, off-balance, banked 3-pointer by Isaac Thornton as the shot clock expired.

After San Jose State closed within 22-16, New Mexico's ensuing 11-2 run upped the lead to 33-18 and it remained in double digits the rest of the way.

Cameron Bairstow scored 14 points with seven rebounds for New Mexico and Kendall Williams added 11 points and five assists.

Rashad Muhammad scored 15 to lead San Jose State.

The Lobos dominated all phases of the game with a 40-26 rebounding edge, including 11-2 on the offensive glass. New Mexico had 20 assists, with Hugh Greenwood dishing out seven, compared to a season-low three turnovers.

''Anytime you can have 20 assists and three turnovers, that's outstanding,'' Neal said.

As for Kirk, Neal said he didn't even make a decision on whether to play him until the morning of the game.

''I was going into the game that he wasn't going to play because he hadn't practiced,'' he said. Friday ''was his first practice. Then my decision was going to be made on how he felt (Saturday) morning. Did his leg ache? Did he have any pain? It was kind of a calculated thing that we're doing with him.''

Kirk said he felt fine after the game. His playing time going forward will be re-evaluated by the doctors and coaching staff, Neal said.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
San Jose State (6-16)252247
New Mexico (17-4) «373572

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Mountain West
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Boise St.0-09-140
Fresno St.0-08-268
San Diego St0-07-385
Air Force0-05-5310
Utah St.0-05-6193
Colorado St.0-04-6135
New Mexico0-03-7218
San Jose St.0-02-7341
Other games
OHST 59 Final
UK 84 Final
BAYL 76 Final
MEMP 72 Final
SMU 87
GMU 81 Final
STL 87
MIST 60 Final
EVAN 67 Final
TXAM 36 Final
FLA 69
OKLA 75 Final
NOVA 90 Final
KAN 69 Final
MASS 68 Final
DUKE 89 Final
SYR 91
CSU 56 Final
IOWA 81 Final
ILL 74
UCF 70 Final
LOU 87
ARIZ 58 Final
CAL 60