The big news coming out of Fort Collins on Saturday wasn’t that New Mexico went into Moby Arena and knocked off Colorado State, it’s that they did so without Alex Kirk on the court.
Kirk sat out with an undisclosed injury and was officially listed as day-to-day.
The Lobos never went back to New Mexico after the win, opting to head up to Logan, UT, to prepare for Tuesday’s game at Utah State instead. According to a report from Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal, a determination as to Kirk’s playing status had not yet been made.
That’s not unusual. For starters, if Kirk’s injury isn’t all that serious, it may simply be a situation where he needs to figure out if he can tolerate the pain he is dealing with. The Lobos also don’t want to tip their hand to the Aggies. Stew Morrill may prepare his team differently if he knew Kirk would be out of the lineup.
Grammer also provided a bit more context on what the actual injury is:
The Journal can confirm that initial reports indicating Kirk has a foot injury, including one from the official @UNMHoops Twitter account that used the phrase “foot injury,” were erroneous. Kirk’s injury is in the lower leg, not in the foot or ankle. Doctors did not find a break when they examined him after Tuesday’s win over Boise State or when they did further testing Wednesday, Neal said.
Losing Kirk would hurt, but it obviously isn’t a death blow for the Lobos. Cameron Bairstow has been fantastic this season, and with Hugh Greenwood and Cullen Neal finally healthy, this team has enough weapons to survive.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.