New Mexico 59, Air Force 44

By: AP
By: AP
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J.R. Giddens scored 15 points and had 12 rebounds and New Mexico took advantage of Air Force's worst shooting of the season to beat the Falcons, 59-44, Saturday.

Giddens got his fourth double-double in the last six games as New Mexico (15-4, 2-2 MWC) equaled its win total of last season. Air Force (10-7, 2-2 MWC) never got its offense untracked and hit just 11 of 40 shots (27.5 percent).

Anwar Johnson was the only AFA player in double figures with 10 points, including 8-for-11 at the free throw line. Tim Anderson, the Falcons' leading scorer averaging 15 points a game, was held to five points.

New Mexico snapped a two-game losing streak and under first-year coach Steve Alford has won as many games as it did last year under Ritchie McKay, who was fired just before the end of the 2006-07 season.

The game's first five minutes were more reminiscent of a soccer match than a basketball game. Neither team scored through the first 4 1/2 minutes, before Giddens finally snapped the zeros-are-wild start with a layup off a steal with 14:43 left in the opening half.

Before Giddens' scoop layup found the range, the teams had combined to miss 11 field goals and four free throws.

Air Force hit just 1 of its 15 shots, a 3-pointer by reserve guard Andrew Henke at the 14:10 mark. Remarkably, that gave the Falcons their only lead as New Mexico was matching the Falcons miss-for-miss early on.

At one point the two teams were a combined 4 of 26 from the field.

Air Force went nearly seven more minutes before getting its second field goal, a layup by Keith Maren with 7:18 left in the first half. By then, New Mexico's offense had started to find some flow and back-to-back 3-pointers by Darren Prentice and Chad Toppert gave the Lobos a 16-6 lead.

Roman Martinez scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half and Prentice closed out the half with back-to-back drives to the basket for a 32-17 Lobos lead.

Despite the paltry offense, it was not the Falcons' worst scoring game. They scored just 36 points in a 58-36 loss to Utah two weeks ago.

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