By Dennis Latta
On a night when New Mexico was playing a small team, freshman Alex Kirk had a big night.
Kirk, the 6-foot-11 center from Los Alamos High, had heard of former Lobo Kenny Thomas because his father had told him about Thomas. Wednesday night, Kirk scored 31 points as UNM beat Cal State Bakersfield 102-62 in the Pit.
Thomas held the freshman scoring record at 30, so Kirk put his name in the record book with the freshman scoring record.
``Alex has just been gaining momentum,'' said UNM coach Steve Alford. ``I knew we had a special player. For him to gain momentum like this is surprising.''
Kirk has started every game for the 12-3 Lobos. He hit 11 of 13 shots from the floor, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range, which is an impressive stat for the starting center. ``This helped give me confidence,'' said the former Hilltopper who scored 44 as a high school player. ``It was awesome to do it in front of my parents and all the fans.''
The Roadrunners have only one player over 6-7, and he had foul problems. Kirk was 7-for-8 at the foul line and had two blocks.
All 10 Lobo scholarship players were on the floor for at least 13 minutes. All 10 scored with UNM getting 37 points off the bench. UNM outscored CSB 46-18 in the paint. Dairese Gary had 15 points and Drew Gordon scored 14 and had 11 rebounds off the bench.
``I'm not easy to impress,'' said Alford, ``but that was impressive. I thought we played extremely well. I was so happy and proud of them.''
Now the Lobos head into the Mountain West Conference with a road game at Wyoming Saturday.