Junior forward Cameron Bairstow and sophomore center Alex Kirk combined for 32 points Wednesday night at The Pit, leading the UNM men’s basketball team to its seventh straight win.
The two big men each had 16 points as the Lobos captured a 76-58 victory over Mercer. Ranked No. 25 nationally in media poll and No. 23 in the coaches poll, UNM improves to 7-0 on the season.
Bairstow was 5 of 6 from the field, hit 6 of 6 from the foul line and pulled down five rebounds. He missed his only shot with less than three minutes to play in the game.
Kirk hit six of his eight shots from the field and 4 of 5 from the free-throw line. He finished with a double-double, grabbing 13 rebounds.
“There are not a lot of bigs to rotate,” Bairstow said. “I feel like we work well together in terms of knowing the basketball plays and in terms of rebounding and guarding big fours (power forwards).”
UNM junior guard Tony Snell scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers, and made five assists. Junior guard Kendall Williams provided a team-high six assists.
As a team, the Lobos shot 27 of 60 from the field (45.0 percent), 5 of 19 from 3-point range (26.3 percent) and 17 of 26 from the foul line (65.4 percent). UNM held a 45-36 halftime lead.
The Lobo defense held Mercer (3-4) to 37.9 percent from the field with 22 of 58 shooting. Guard Travis Smith led the Bears with 16 points, and forward Jakob Gollon netted 10.
“I think we took them completely out of what they wanted to do,” UNM head coach Steve Alford said. “Their percentages got a lot better in the last minute when they were pressing and trapping down 30 (points). We really held them to about 30 percent shooting.”