New Mexico 55, Cincinnati 54: Bubble Bursts for the Bearcats


Yikes. After the excitement of the Belk Bowl win this was surely a disappointment. But it wasn’t unexpected.

The New Mexico Lobos were just days removed from being ranked the 16th best team in the country. An upset at the hands of South Dakota State doesn’t change that and it showed tonight. Cincinnati has had trouble on the interior for the last few games against improved competition and it was exposed by the talented New Mexico big man Alex Kirk. It wasn’t necessarily that he dominated on the glass but he was efficient during his time in the paint, scoring 15 points mainly on the tip-ins. On the other side of the court he, and the other Lobos post players Chad Adams and Cameron Bairstow, crowded Justin Jackson, Cheikh Mbodj, and David Nyarsuk all game long.

This was where New Mexico really dominated the Bearcats tonight, on the defensive end.

Cincinnati’s three primary threats in the paint combined for 18 rebounds but just 6 points. It was Kirk, Adams, and Bairstow who did an outstanding job shutting them down and despite UC rediscovering their touch from three point land they could only manage 54 points, a season low.

At the end of the day the Bearcats had been playing with fire in recent games not establishing an inside game. While this offense is more guard-oriented this season the big men still have to pick up rebounds and most importantly points-off-rebounds. They essentially need to clean up the garbage underneath when shots aren’t falling from the outside. They didn’t tonight and it cost UC their undefeated season and Top-10 ranking.