Late drama pushes Air Force past New Mexico
Colorado Springs, CO – Todd Fletcher drained a 3-pointer from the right corner with 3.5 seconds left to lift Air Force past 12th-ranked New Mexico, 89-88, on Saturday.
Fletcher finished with 21 points, while Michael Lyons poured in 30 points to go with five assists for the Falcons (17-12, 8-8 MWC), who had lost two games in a row entering the contest.
Kendall Williams had 21 points and dished out 10 assists and Tony Snell scored 21 on 7-for-13 shooting from 3-point range for the Lobos (26-5, 13-3), who snapped a six-game winning streak.
"We had success all night. I thought that we were really consistent for 40 minutes offensively. We made shots all night. We had open looks and we made shots. We had good balance, inside and out," said New Mexico head coach Steve Alford. "Our defense is a lot better than it was tonight. But, I do give Air Force a lot of credit. You have to make plays and make shots and tonight they made shots."
Alex Kirk finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Cameron Bairstow added 12 points and seven boards in the setback.
New Mexico had already wrapped up a regular season conference title and the top seed in the upcoming Mountain West Conference Tournament.
Williams banked home a wild 3-pointer with just over two minutes left to give the Lobos an 85-82 edge.
Lyons split a pair of free throws with 23 seconds left, but Williams sunk a pair to put New Mexico up 87-83 four seconds later. Lyons brought the Falcons within one by canning a deep trey from the top of the arc with 16 ticks left, and they quickly fouled Williams, who split a pair from the charity stripe.
Lyons couldn't find a clean look as the seconds ticked away, but he found Fletcher all alone in the right corner. Fletcher caught the ball with his heels hovering over, but never touching, the sideline and fired away the game winner.
"Well I don't know how Mike made the shot before (the game winner). That was incredible. Of course three people jumped out on him and nobody was guarding me and I was open," Fletcher said. "When I got it I just shot it. It felt good. It's usually Mike making those shots at the end of the game. It was a good game to be a part of that's for sure."
The teams went into the break tied 47-47.
No. 12 New Mexico is the highest ranked opponent Air Force has ever defeated ... The Lobos went 5-for-11 from the free throw line ... New Mexico had 29 assists and the Falcons had 23.