FORT WORTH, Texas – New Mexico hit the road earlier this week with a seven-game winning streak, the lead in the Mountain West Conference and its first Top 25 ranking in two years.
The Lobos are going home with two losses and company atop the standings after their most lopsided loss of the season, 83-64 at TCU on Saturday night.
"It was a tough road. We were playing awfully well going into the road trip and we didn't play very well at all," coach Steve Alford said. "But the two teams that we played are undefeated in their buildings."
TCU (17-11, 7-5 Mountain West Conference) has won eight consecutive home games, the last two over Top 25 teams — MWC co-leaders New Mexico (22-6, 8-4) and No. 21 UNLV.
Amric Fields scored eight scored consecutive points in a 48-second span during the tiebreaking run as the Horned Frogs beat New Mexico only 11 days after their overtime victory over the then-No. 11 Runnin' Rebels. That was TCU's first win over a ranked team in five years.
After losing at Colorado State on Tuesday night, New Mexico's flight out of Denver the following day got canceled because of high winds. The Lobos chose to stay in Denver another night and then traveled to Fort Worth.
"We have no excuses," A.J. Hardeman said. "We just came out flat, we lost. We didn't handle our business like we're supposed to in this situation."
The Frogs, who guaranteed themselves their first winning season since 2004-05, made 11 3-pointers and had six players score in double figures.
J.R. Cadot led TCU with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Hank Thorns added 14 points, while Garlon Green had 13, Craig Williams 12, Fields 11 and Kyan Anderson 10.
Hardeman scored 15 points for the Lobos, and Kendall Williams 10. Drew Gordon grabbed 12 rebounds.
Connell Crossland's one-handed slam dunk over a defender, his only basket of the game, broke the eighth and last tie. That put TCU ahead 50-48 with 13:26 left and started a 10-0 run in which Fields scored the rest of the points.
Fields made a free throw with 11½ minutes left. He missed his second attempt, but the Frogs got the rebound and he hit a 3-pointer from the left corner in front of the TCU bench. He added two free throws and a steal for a breakaway layup that made it 58-48 with 10:42 left.
"Amric is a player. He has so many capabilities and talents," Thorns said. "We know that he can score. We always tell him, 'Don't worry about the shots. You're a great shooter, a great scorer.'"
Outside of that quick spurt, Fields shot only 1 of 10 against the Lobos.
"My teammates never stopped believing in me," Fields said. "Even when my shot's off, they're telling me to shoot, shoot, just stay confident. You never know, you can catch fire with eight straight points or whatever."
Hugh Greenwood ended the Fields-driven run with a 3-pointer, but the Lobos never got closer.
New Mexico beat the Frogs by 17 points at home only four weeks earlier.
"Playing at home, they made their 3s," Alford said. "It's just a difference I think of playing at home or on the road."
The Lobos, who split their two regular-season games with UNLV, finish the regular season at home against the league's two worst teams, Air Force and Boise State.
"Now it's about getting home and taking care of home," Alford said. "We've only lost one (conference game at home) and we can't afford to lose any more."
TCU has consecutive victories over ranked opponents for only the second time in school history. The other time was 14 years ago.
"Until you prove you can beat somebody, a ranked team, you're not going to beat a ranked team, so we proved it that way," coach Jim Christian said. "We came in with a different mentality. The kids had a different feel about them."