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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Lobos go 3 for 3 in Australia

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By Guy Neville / Courtesy Photo / New Mexico Daily Lobo

New Mexico men’s basketball coach Craig Neal, kneeling, talks with his players during a timeout in a exhibition game against the Sydney Kings on Aug. 6 at Bankstown Basketball Stadium in Sydney, Australia.

sports@dailylobo.com 

Behind five double-digit scorers, the New Mexico men’s basketball team wrapped up its three-game exhibition tour in Australia Sunday with an 82-80 victory over the Gold Coast All-Stars.

Earlier in the tour, UNM defeated the Sydney Kings 87-85 on Tuesday and the Kilsyth Cobras 78-66. The Kings are members of the Australia’s National Basketball League, while the Cobras featured some all-stars from the South East Australia Basketball League.

The Lobos won the three games by an average of 5.3 points per game and connected on 46.8 percent of their field goal attempts.

Against the Gold Coast team, center Alex Kirk posted a double-double scoring 18 points and 13 rebounds, including 10 boards on the defensive end. Guard Hugh Greenwood added 16 points, while guard Kendall Williams scored 15 points.

Coming off the bench, guard Cleveland Thomas sank six of his nine field-goal attempts and finished with 15 points. Guard Arthur Edwards also had 10 points.

Thomas scored the game’s final free throw and the Lobo defense held on Gold Coast’s final possession as UNM outscored Gold Coast 17-13 in the final quarter. The game was tied at 45 points apiece at halftime and Gold Coast held a 67-65 edge through three quarters.

As a team, UNM was 43.7 percent from the field (31 of 71), 30 percent from 3-point range (6 of 20) and 73.7 percent from the foul line (14 of 19). The Lobos also had a 46-37 rebounding advantage.

Three Gold Coast players accounted for a majority of the team’s scoring: Thalo Green with 20 points, Willie Farley with 19 points and James Legan with 18 points. No other Gold Coast player had more than six points.

The all-star team finished 45.3 percent on field goals (29 of 64), 40 percent from beyond the arc (10 of 25) and 70.6 percent from the line (12 of 17).

UNM had three players average double digits through three games with Kirk at 21 per game, Williams at 18.3 and Greenwood at 14 per game. Thomas also averaged 8.3 points per game.

Forward Cameron Bairstow scored 22 points in his only game of the tour against Sydney. He did not play in the other two games but he earned a spot on the Australian national team.