ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Air Force men’s basketball fell to a tough New Mexico team (15-3, 4-1 MW), dropping an 84-78 Mountain West contest Saturday afternoon in Dreamstyle Arena - The PIT. Lavelle Scottie led the Falcons, who fell to 8-9, 2-3 MW with 26 points and nine rebounds.
In a physical battle that featured seven lead changes, it was the Lobos who broke away late and held off a late run by the Falcons.
The first half was back and forth with New Mexico taking control midway through. The Lobos led by as many as nine points in the first half, before the Falcons cut it to a three-point game at the half with a late run. Air Force trailed UNM 37-34 at the half.
The Falcons battled back early in the second half to take a 41-39 lead with 17:57 to go after a 7-0 run. New Mexico then came back and began to build a lead, going up by as many as 12 points with 10 minutes to play.
Air Force charged back again, getting the game back down to a three point game with under five minutes to play. After some back and forth scoring, Air Force got the game back down to three points again and looked to get closer. With two minutes to go, New Mexico blocked back-to-back Air Force shot attempts and would later get a bucket to go up five at 76-71 with a minute to play. The Falcons got to within four points twice with under a minute to play, but were unable to overcome the Lobos.
Four Falcons joined Scottie in double figures. Caleb Morris added 12 points, AJ Walker 11 and Ryan Swan 10. Morris added a career-high five assists and a team-high three steals. Walker hit three three’s and Swan added six rebounds.
Guard Jaquan Lyle led New Mexico with 20 points before fouling out late in the game. Guard Zane Martin added 18 points and Corey Manigault scored 16. Five Lobos reached double-figures in scoring.
Air Force forced 20 Lobo turnovers but committed 15. Despite a significant size disadvantage, Air Force was just barely out-rebounded 34-32.
Air Force returns to action Wednesday, Jan. 15 hosting Boise State. The game tips at 7 pm MT and will be broadcast by AT&T SportsNet.