No. 3 Lobos stunned by No. 14 Harvard 68-62

No. 3 Lobos stunned by No. 14 Harvard 68-62

Big men Alex Kirk and Cameron Bairstow had big games but got very little help from the New Mexico backcourt as the 3-seed Lobos were stunned by 14-seed Harvard 68-62 in the NCAA Tournament second round game against UNM at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah Thursday night. The win was the first ever for the Crimson in the Big Dance.

Kirk posted a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds and Bairstow added 15 points and nine rebounds but UNM's guard combo of Tony Snell, Kendall Williams and Hugh Greenwood combined to score just 17 points on 5 of 21 shooting including an ice cold 1 of  9 from behind the 3-point line.

The Crimson started the game on a 9-2 run and controlled the tempo and pace of the game throughout, managing to get key shots when they needed them throughout.

UNM twice tied the game on baskets by Kirk, tying the game at 18-18 the second time with 5:13 left in the first half.

But Harvard (20-9) responded with a 7-2 run capped by two 3-pointers by Christian Webster to give the Crimson a 29-22 lead with 2:38 left in the half. Tony Snell hit a pair of jumpers, including his only trey of the game, and UNM trailed 31-27 at the half.

New Mexico opened on a 6-0 run to take a 33-31 lead but Crimson was able to respond with an 8-0 run to take the lead back at 39-33 with 17:22 left in the game. UNM kept the game close and appeared to be poised to make a run after a Jamal Fenton 3-pointer game the Lobos a 49-47 lead with 7:53 left in the game. But Harvard kept things close. UNM took it's final lead, 53-51on an Alex Kirk lay up with 6:26 left in the game.

But the Crimson again made a run, ignited by a Laurent Rivard 3-pointer with 6:16, to take a 63-55 lead with 2:17 left in the game.

Harvard then hit their free throws down the stretch to keep UNM from mounting a last minute comeback.

Harvard finished with four players in double figures, led by Wesley Saunders' 18 points, including 8 of 9 free throw shooting. Rivard added 17 points on 5 of 9 3-point shooting and a 2 of 3 performance from the free throw line. Webster added 11 points and Kenyatta Smith added 10 points and seven rebounds.

New Mexico finishes the season 29-6.

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