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Aussies Lead Lobos to Exhibition Win

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Just leave it to the Aussies.

While the UNM Lobos still have a ways to go before answering questions about how they will replace the scoring and rebounding of departed star Drew Gordon, on Wednesday night the team’s two Australian-born players — Cameron Bairstow and Hugh Greenwood — did their part to fill the void in a sometimes-sloppy 105-64 exhibition win over Victory University.

An announced crowd of 12,440 attended in the Pit.

Bairstow, a 6-foot-9 junior forward, tied for a team-high with 22 points, while pulling down eight rebounds and hitting all six of his free throws, in 23 minutes of court time. Greenwood, a 6-3 sophomore point guard, had a surprising 12 rebounds but no points.

“Not a lot of point guards get 12 rebounds and no points,” said UNM coach Steve Alford before taking a moment to study the postgame stat sheet to verify the numbers were correct. “Hugh just played so hard, and Hugh knows what the emphasis is, and he knows what best helps us win games.”

That emphasis for UNM heading into the exhibition game, and really every game since Alford came to Albuquerque, was to rebound.

Greenwood and Bairstow accounted for half of the Lobos’ 40 boards and each played at least 23 minutes in a game in which UNM coaches tried to give all the newcomers plenty of court time, as well.

The extended minutes for Greenwood are nothing new after he started 29 games last year, but the recent windfall of playing time for Bairstow, the team’s projected backup in the post, is new.

Alex Kirk, a 7-foot sophomore from Los Alamos, sprained an ankle in Saturday’s scrimmage and was held out of Wednesday’s game, although Alford said Kirk could have played if it was the regular season.

In Kirk’s absence, Bairstow showed off a more polished and confident offensive game than he had displayed in years past.

“When you start there’s always going to be a bit of extra confidence, but it doesn’t really make a difference as long as I can contribute,” Bairstow said. “I feel more comfortable down there in terms of catching it and making a move, making a play.”

Victory, a National Christian College Athletic Association school that traveled just nine of its 16 players to Albuquerque after a late Tuesday exhibition loss at Auburn University, held tough early on thanks to the lights-out shooting of 6-5 junior guard Tyrell Hursey. He scored the Eagles’ first 11 points, including three 3-pointers in the first 3:02 of the game. He finished with a game-high 28 points on 10-of-23 shooting and hit five treys.

But the Lobos’ new four-guard lineup dictated a frantic, up-and-down pace much of the game and was able to turn a 16-15 deficit five minutes into the game into a 35-23 lead just five minutes later after a 3-pointer from freshman Nick Banyard with 10:00 showing on the first-half clock.

The Lobos kept Victory at arm’s length the rest of the night and outscored the Eagles 25-9 in the final 7:59 of the game to win going away.

Alford said he was mostly pleased with how his players responded to their new roles.

“We’ve got a new lineup,” Alford said. “Cam’s been new to (the starting lineup) because Alex has been out. Obviously (Demetrius) Walker is new to it from a year ago, so those things are going to take a little time.”

Walker added 22 points, with fellow guards Kendall Williams (17) and Tony Snell (15) behind him in the scoring ledger.

The Lobos will host New Mexico Highlands in the second exhibition at the Pit at 7 p.m. Monday, then have a week off before the Nov. 12 season opener against Davidson.

MONEY GAME: The Victory Eagles, who traveled nine players and three coach/administrative personnel to Albuquerque, received a $7,500 payout from UNM to play in Wednesday’s exhibition game. That is the same amount UNM will hand over to New Mexico Highlands on Monday night for the Lobos’ second exhibition game.

REDSHIRT LIKELY: Devon Williams, the 6-7 true freshman from Dallas who played post throughout his prep career but is now in a transition to guard for the Lobos, did not play Wednesday and likely won’t see the court this season as he takes a redshirt season to adjust to his new position, allowing him to retain four more years of eligibility.

“We’re probably redshirting Devon, that’s why he didn’t play tonight,” Alford said. “We’re real excited about that. I think he’s making a real good decision there because I think he’s got a bright, bright future.”

NOTES: UNM improves to 64-6 all-time in exhibition games, 56-5 in the Pit. … The Lobos’ last exhibition loss was an 87-81 defeat at the hands of the EA Sports Southwest All-Star team Nov. 8, 2001. … Despite playing 26 minutes, Greenwood was the only Lobo not to score. The Pit crowd erupted and gave a standing ovation when walk-on Chris Perez hit a basket with 32 seconds remaining for the final points of the night.

 

NEW MEXICO 105, VICTORY 64

FG FT Reb

VICTORY Min M-A M-A O-T A F Pts.

Miles 28 3-5 1-4 1-7 0 4 7

Hursey 39 10-23 3-3 3-8 2 0 28

Jackson 30 6-17 0-0 3-10 0 3 15

Downey 24 2-8 1-2 1-3 3 5 5

Banal 21 2-4 0-0 0-1 2 0 5

Guess 12 0-3 2-2 0-0 0 0 2

Turner 23 0-4 0-0 3-4 0 4 0

Caston 23 1-4 0-0 1-1 3 4 2

Totals 200 24-68 7-11 13-22 10 0 64

Percentages: FG .353, FT .636.

3-Point Goals: 9-31, .290 (Hursey 5-16, Jackson 3-7, Banal 1-3, Downey 0-1, Caston 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 1.

Blocked Shots: 0

Turnovers: 19 (Downey 7, Banal 6, Turner 2, Caston 2, Jackson, Guess.

Steals: 3 (Miles, Downey, Caston).

Technical Fouls: Downey.

FG FT Reb

UNM Min M-A M-A O-T A F Pts.

Bairstow 23 8-10 6-6 3-8 2 3 22

Greenwood 26 0-4 0-2 1-12 3 1 0

Williams 27 5-8 6-8 0-3 6 2 17

Snell 20 6-11 2-3 1-3 3 0 15

Walker 29 8-10 3-3 1-4 1 2 22

Thomas 19 2-4 1-2 2-2 5 0 5

Perez 1 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2

Adams 11 3-6 0-0 0-4 1 2 6

Fenton 8 1-1 1-2 0-0 0 0 3

Banyard 17 1-6 2-2 0-2 1 2 5

Alford 19 3-5 0-0 0-1 1 2 8

Totals 200 38-66 21-28 8-31 23 14 105

Percentages: FG .576, FT .750.

3-Point Goals: 8-25, .320 (Walker 3-4, Alford 2-4, Williams 1-3, Snell 1-3, Banyard 1-4, Greenwood 0-4, Thomas 0-1, Adams 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 1.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Snell, Adams, Banyard).

Turnovers: 8 (Bairstow 2, Greenwood 2, Williams 2, Walker, Thomas).

Steals: 12 (Walker 3, Fenton 3, Greenwood 2, Snell 2, Williams, Adams).

Technical Fouls: None.

Victory 33 31—64

New Mexico 56 49—105

A—12,440 (17,126).

 

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