(12) New Mexico (26-4) at Air Force (16-12)
Saturday, March 9, 6 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Clune Arena (5,843) -- USAFA, Colorado.
Television: Altitude. Home Record: UNM 15-1, AF 12-2. Away Record: UNM 8-3, AF
3-9. Neutral Record: UNM 3-0, AF 1-1. Conference Record: UNM 13-2, AF 7-8.
Series Record: New Mexico leads, 53-18.
GAME NOTES: Hoping to strengthen their resume' for the upcoming NCAA
Tournament, the 12th-ranked New Mexico Lobos close out the regular season on
Saturday with a meeting against the Air Force Falcons at Clune Arena.
Already the regular-season champion in the Mountain West Conference, the Lobos
posted their sixth straight win and the ninth in the last 10 outings on
Wednesday night with a 75-62 triumph over Nevada in Reno. Aside from top-
ranked Gonzaga, UNM is the highest-ranked program from outside the so-called
Power Six conferences.
Air Force, which enters the weekend sixth in the conference standings with a
record of 7-8, has dropped two straight and four of the last five contests
overall. Also in action three nights ago, the Falcons were handed a 58-51
setback by San Diego State on the road.
In terms of the all-time series, a lopsided 81-58 victory by the Lobos at home
last month boosted the team's advantage versus the Academy to a whopping
Except for Hugh Greenwood who made just one of his four field goal attempts
and finished with a mere two points, every starter for UNM landed in double
figures against Nevada earlier this week. Doing the most damage was Tony Snell
who tied for the game-high with 25 points, followed by Cameron Bairstow who
logged 15 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. Alex Kirk registered a
double-double as well with 11 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Kendall
Williams with 10 points and five assists.
As someone who is capable of doing a little bit of everything on the hardwood,
Williams not only leads the Lobos in scoring with 13.8 ppg, he is also first
with 139 assists and is close to four rebounds per outing as well. Kirk (12.0
ppg, 8.1 rpg) accounts for 55 of the program's 118 blocked shots so far this
season, while Snell (11.8 ppg) has used his extensive experience with the team
to become one of the more productive perimeter shooters this season.
Getting beaten on the glass yet again was just one of the reasons why Air
Force came up short in the meeting against San Diego State earlier this week
at Viejas Arena. In addition to a 45-32 rebounding deficit, the Falcons also
shot just 33.3 percent from the field and turned the ball over 14 times.
Michael Lyons was the lone double-digit scorer for the visitors with his 10
points on 4-of-11 shooting before fouling out.
On the season, Lyons is the only player netting double figures with his 17.9
ppg, although his average dips to 16.7 ppg in league play and there he is
joined by Mike Fitzgerald who is accounting for 11.9 ppg versus league foes.
Not far behind is Todd Fletcher (9.1 ppg) who combines with the pair to
account for 67 3-pointers, more than half the team's total (113) as it tries
to keep up with the rest of the MWC.
Even though the Lobos already have the top spot in the Mountain West
Tournament wrapped up, they still need to go hard until the NCAA Tournament
seeds are announced, so Air Force had better be ready for the attack this
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 71, Air Force 58
03/09 10:36:22 ET
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