Sitting out the last 10 minutes of the first half is not a customary thing in basketball. However, it’s customary when a center has two fouls, to sit him for the remainder of the half.
Alex Kirk struggled to stay in the game due to foul trouble against the Kansas Jayhawks, eliminating all possibilities of an upset victory on a “neutral” site game in Kansas City, Mo. The New Mexico Lobos had no chance when Kirk picked up his third on the first possession of the second half on an extremely ticky-tack whistle on Joel Embiid.
While the possibility of Kirk being in the game for a longer period of time is intriguing, the Jayhawks straight-up dominated. The depth of Kansas allows them to run up and down the floor and not worry about foul trouble like the Lobos have to.
Captain Kirk is the only guy that is a true center on the team. When he was on the bench, Australian forward Cameron Bairstow had to play center, a position that’s unfamiliar to the soft-shooting big man. Bairstow had 24 points to keep the Lobos in the game in the first half, but they missed the presence of Kirk on defense, something Bairstow does not do well.
Coach Bill Self attacked inside early and often to get Kirk to get into foul trouble; he used Embiid and Perry Ellis to his advantage on the block. Ellis and Embiid combined for 39 points and 14 rebounds.
Despite the foul trouble by Kirk, the first half was entertaining as point guard Kendall Williams (24 points, two assists) is an intriguing talent with the ball in his hands and Bairstow did a good job scoring.
However, the defense for New Mexico was just not enough for the fast-paced Jayhawks and they beat the Lobos by a score of 80-63.
John Lloyd is a PAC-12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JohnHLloydIII.