No. 15 New Mexico soars past Air Force
Albuquerque, NM (Sports Network) - Tony Snell, Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk scored 14 points apiece to lead No. 15 New Mexico past Air Force, 81-58, at The Pit.
Bairstow and Kirk added nine and eight rebounds, respectively, while Hugh Greenwood finished with 13 points and Kendall Williams netted 11 for the Lobos (20-3, 7-1 MWC), who have won three straight.
"I thought we dominated the glass and I thought it was a great performance for our team," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said. "We played great and to get to the midpoint and be 7-1 and in first place all by ourselves and separating ourselves from a vast number of teams says a lot about our guys."
Mike Fitzgerald and Michael Lyons each scored 16 points to pace Air Force (14-7, 5-3), which had its five-game win streak snapped.
After a Taylor Broekhuis 3-pointer brought Air Force within 7-5 just over three minutes into the game, the Lobos embarked on a 19-7 run to go on top, 26-12.
Air Force responded with a 14-7 run that included triples by Todd Fletcher and DeLovell Earls to get back within 33-26, but New Mexico netted the next nine points to reopen a 16-point lead before Fitzgerald's 3-pointer made it a 42-29 game at the break.
The Falcons scored seven of the first 10 points of the second half to get back within 45-36, but they would get no closer until Marek Olesinski later capped a brief 6-0 spurt with a 3-pointer to cut Air Force's deficit to 54-48 near the midpoint of the frame.
New Mexico, however, responded with a 17-4 run to take a comfortable 71-52 lead with just over four minutes to play and then cruised to the victory.
"Their size hurt us," Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich admitted. "Their offensive rebounding and their strength and length and size on the glass. Their inside scoring. The things that we knew coming in that we had to take away, we just didn't do as well as we needed to put ourselves into a position to win the game."
The Lobos hold a 54-18 lead in the all-time series ... New Mexico shot 48.1 percent from the floor, including a 9-for-20 mark 3-point range ... Air Force shot 40.0 percent and went 7-for-24 from beyond the arc.
02/07 01:35:43 ET