One of the provisions New Mexico offered Coach Steve Alford in his new 10-year contract was a $125,000 reward for making the Final four.
Following their frustrating loss in the NCAA competition, the Lobos will spare the cash but feel the pain. Third placed New Mexico was given the biggest loss on their first full day in the NCAA tournament, a 68-62 defeat to fourteenth ranked Harvard on Thursday night. The team that won the Mountain West conference by playing poor in defense all season allowed Harvard to shoot 52 percent.
The team that won despite seeming shaky on offense tanked when the stakes were highest, making just 37 percent of its shots. If you take away Alex Kirk’s 9-for-18 effort, the percentage drops to 31. “We can’t shoot for them.” Alford said. “We’ve had games like that, several games where we haven’t shot the ball well. It’s a glaring weakness on this basketball team.”
Next year, it is bound to better when Alford’s best scoring son, Bryce. Joins the team. This season though has ended and the Lobos(29-6) have been left not just looking for their first trip, but their only trip to the second weekend of the competition since 1974. ``They came out and punched us first,'' said Kirk, whose 22 points represented New Mexico's only consistent offense. ``They wanted it more than us. It hurts, but congrats to them.''
It was the first upset that New Mexico has had to an Ivy League team in 15 games. The Lobos and Harvard have never met before.
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