The New Mexico Lobos, a perennial favorite to win the Mountain West Conference, have Dec. 14 circled in red sharpie on their calendars, as that is the night that the Kansas Jayhawks will enter “The Pit.” Before the Lobos get their crack at the Jayhawks, they had a match up with the UAB Blazers in the opening round of the Charleston Classic.
Heading into halftime, New Mexico had a nine point advantage. They came out of the break on fire and had a comfortable lead. Instead of finishing out the game, the Lobos appeared to mail it in. The Blazers took advantage and were eyeballing their first win against a ranked opponent since they defeated the Butler Bulldogs in 2009.
Kansas should be concerned with the Lobos in the coming weeks. The Blazers had New Mexico dead to rights, but the Lobos kept on coming. The three point shot was not falling for New Mexico, 8-38 from outside, so they drove to the pain and earned the three points the old fashioned way at the charity stripe.
Cameron Bairstow built upon his impressive senior campaign, posting 21 points. Bairstow had a whale of a game. Unfortunately, he fouled out with two minutes left in regulation and did not contribute down the stretch. Guard Kendall Williams hit the game tying three pointer at the end of regulation to force overtime, but was Mr. Invisible during UAB’s second half run. Alex Kirk forced a second overtime with a triple of his own, but he also would foul out.
The UAB contest displayed why the Lobos are so dangerous. New Mexico is an experienced squad that disregards talent, statistics and logic; the Lobos just win.