New Mexico beats No. 8 Cincinnati 55-54

New Mexico beats No. 8 Cincinnati 55-54
December 27, 2012, 11:15 pm
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Cincinnati guard Sean Kilpatrick (23) goes up for a shot against New Mexico center Alex Kirk (53) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/David Kohl)

(APWF)

CINCINNATI (AP) Alex Kirk scored 15 points and blocked Sean Kilpatrick's shot just before the buzzer Thursday night, preserving New Mexico's 55-54 win that handed No. 8 Cincinnati its first loss.

New Mexico (13-1) rallied in the second half behind its 7-foot center, who hit a 3-pointer, got a team-high seven rebounds and slapped away Kilpatrick's jumper off an inbounds play.

Cincinnati (12-1) moved up to No. 8 this week - its highest ranking in nine years - and was trying to go 13-0 for only sixth time in school history. The Bearcats couldn't salvage a tight game against a team known for knocking off top teams.

The Lobos have won six of their last seven games against ranked teams, leaving them 14-6 against the Top 25 during coach Steve Alford's six seasons.

Kirk scored nine of his 15 points in the second half and led a surge that gave the Lobos their first lead. Kilpatrick had 15 points, but was only 5 of 22 from the field.