The top team in the Mountain West Conference readies for the arrival of the Air Force Falcons on Wednesday night, as the 15th-ranked New Mexico Lobos defend The Pit.
All alone atop the MWC standings with six wins in seven tries, the Lobos are preparing to close out the first half of their conference slate by possibly running their current win streak to three in a row. Over the weekend, New Mexico beat up on visiting Nevada, 75-62, which means the Lobos have now won six of their last seven outings and are an impressive 11-1 in their own building. The lone home loss for UNM came against South Dakota State (70-65) a few days before Christmas.
As for the Falcons, a team which has also done well at home in 2012-13 with 10 wins in 11 chances, they are actually one of the hottest teams in the MWC at the moment with five straight victories. Since opening the league slate with consecutive defeats versus Nevada and UNLV the Falcons have bounced back in order to move into a second-place tie with Colorado State.
Over the weekend the Falcons boosted their confidence by outlasting nationally-ranked San Diego State at home, 70-67, which might be a good sign for the Academy heading into this meeting as well.
New Mexico has dominated the series between these two squads, winning 52 of the previous 70 meetings and cranking out 30 wins in 34 chances at home over the years. The Lobos, who have won 11 in a row over Air Force, will visit the Academy next month to close out the regular season at Clune Arena.
The Falcons caught a few breaks when they suited up against SDSU the other day, as the visitors were missing one of their leading scorers and another key figure was playing with a wrist injury. But no matter what the circumstances, the bottom line is that Air Force came out on top as Michael Lyons accounted for 20 points and Todd Fletcher another 13. The defense for the Falcons kept SDSU reeling out on the perimeter where the Aztecs converted a mere 2-of-19 attempts. While the defense in previous years has been the hallmark of the Falcons, the squad has been a bit more lenient with 65.5 ppg, but still the squad is outscoring those foes by more than six points per game. Lyons (18.1 ppg) and Fletcher (10.1 ppg) are both playing more than 30 minutes per game, and for good reason.
New Mexico needed some time to pull away from the Wolf Pack on Saturday, but eventually that's how the game played out with the Lobos converting 56.0 percent from the floor and 11-of-21 behind the 3-point line in the double- digit home triumph. Hugh Greenwood responded with 15 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while Demetrius Walker and Chad Adams checked in with 12 and 10 points, respectively. Alex Kirk was rather quiet offensively with just six points, but he did make a stand at the defensive end with five blocked shots. Kendall Williams, who was limited to nine points and five assists in the win over the weekend, maintains his position as the top scorer on the team overall with 13.8 ppg, accounting for 95 of the unit's 303 assists along the way. Tony Snell (11.8 ppg) and Kirk (11.0 ppg) add some offensive punch as well.