Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - The New Mexico Lobos look to bounce back on
Thursday when they visit Fifth Third Arena for a non-conference bout with the
No. 8 Cincinnati Bearcats.
The Lobos dropped to 12-1 on Dec. 22 after they were stunned 70-65 at home by
the South Dakota State Jackrabbits. Coach Steve Alford's squad rose to a high
of 16 in the polls before the loss sent it back to the realm of the unranked.
New Mexico was impressive before its first loss of the season as it took down
notable opponents such as Connecticut (66-60), Valparaiso (65-52), Illinois-
Chicago (66-59), and Davidson (86-81). The Lobos are outscoring their
opponents by an average of 8.7 points per contest, while also grabbing 4.3
rebounds more per game.
Mick Cronin's Bearcats are 12-0 for the eighth time in school history.
Cincinnati is just one of five undefeated teams left in Division I entering
Thursday's action. The team handled intrastate rivals Xavier (60-45) and
Wright State (68-58) in its last two outings. The Bearcats have been dominant
with a scoring average of 79.8 points per game to their opposition's 57.7 ppg.
This will be the first meeting in history between these programs on the
New Mexico could not find the touch on the offensive end its last time out as
it converted just 37 percent of its field goal attempts including only 8-of-24
from beyond the arc. The Lobos allowed SDSU to knock down 48 percent of its
shots from the floor and hold a 36-28 edge in the rebounding battle. Kendall
Williams led UNM with 21 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the field off the
bench while Tony Snell chipped in 13 points. Williams has started 11-of-13
games this season and leads the team with 14.8 points and five assists per
outing. Snell is adding 11.6 ppg and Alex Kirk is providing 10.9 points and
7.5 rebounds per game up front.
Although Cincy's winning streak has continued, the team was slowed down on the
offensive end its last two times out. The Bearcats were held under 70 points
just once before totaling 60 points versus Xavier and 68 against Wright State.
They also were held to a season-low 32.8 percent shooting from the field by
Xavier before improving to 38.2 percent field goal accuracy against the
Raiders. The Bearcats have relied heavily on their elite backcourt of Sean
Kilpatrick, Cashmere Wright, and JaQuon Parker. Kilpatrick has emerged as an
early season All-American candidate by netting 19.2 points and 6.2 rebounds
per contest. Wright is a solid floor general with 14.2 points and 3.4 assists
per outing. The senior guard showed he is not afraid to take the big shot
versus Alabama as he hit the game-winner as the buzzer sounded to down the
Crimson Tide. Parker is a solid third option with 11.6 ppg.
The Sports Network