New Mexico (26-5, 13-3 Mountain West
Conference) shot a
season-high 58.6% (34-58), including 15-33 (45.5%) from
three-point range but
allowed Air Force (17-12, 8-8) shot 56.4% (31-55) from the floor
and made 15
three-pointers, tying the mark for the most ever against the Lobos
– to tie the
highest against UNM this season and tying the mark for the best
against a Alford-coached
"I thought our guys played really hard," said
head coach Alford. "We were very good on the road again. I thought
effort was tremendous. I didn't like our defensive execution. I
don't know if
we played good defense. We gave up 56 percent shooting and 89
points. But they
The Lobos’ hold on the top seed in next week’s
Tournament was unshaken by the loss, but a chance at a potential
1-seed in the
NCAA Tournament may have gone out the window with Saturday’s loss.
Numerous pundits had prognosticated that UNM
could earn a
top-seed in the Big Dance, provided that they could win out its
regular season games as well as three wins in the MWC Tourney.
Michael Lyons scored a game-high 30 points on
11 of 21
shooting to keep the Falcons on the Lobos heels for the entire
game. But it was
the threat of Lyons’ shooting the game winner that opened up
senior Todd Fletcher on the right wing to hit the game winner.
After a Kendall Williams went one of two on
free throws with
12 seconds left in the game. Air Force advance the ball to mid
court and called
After the break, AFA got the ball to Lyons on
play. Lyons was double teamed and almost tripled teamed and the
chances looked bleak. But when Williams stepped over a few steps
up-court, Lyons fed the ball to a wide-open Fletcher who knocked
down the trey.
UNM in-bounded the ball and got the ball all
the way into
position for Tony Snell to shoot a game winning three pointer, but
double teamed and his contested three pointer barely grazed the
side iron and
fell the the court.
"They made some big shots," said Alford.
"Sometimes when you come into someone else's house, they make
And Air Force made everything.
"Nobody likes to lose and we don't like to
lose. But if
we are going to lose I want someone to play lights out like Air
Force did. “
The final seconds negated Williams’ great
the stretch as the junior scored the Lobos final nine points,
three-pointer to ignite a 7-1 run to give UNM an 87-83 lead with
But Lyons come down and hit a trey with 12
seconds left. The
Falcons immediately fouled Williams, who hit the front end of a
throw chance, setting up the final sequence.
Williams and Snell both scored 21 points,
combining to hit
11 of 20 3-pointers and 13 of 23 from the field overall. Williams
hitting 5 of 6 free throws and had 10 assists to finish with his
double-double of his career.
Alex Kirk registered his eighth double-double
of the season
and ninth of his career with 16 points and 11 rebounds while
added 12 points, hitting six of six free throws.
Fletcher finished with 21 points for Air Force,
hitting 6 of
8 3-pointers and Marek Olesinski added 15 points on 5 of 5
3-pointers, with 12
points in the first half as Air Force fought UNM to a 47-47 tie at