Anthony Mathis was scoreless in the first half. The Lobos didn’t seem to need him, though, as they raced out to a 38-29 halftime lead. The Lobos sure needed Mathis in the second half, however, and he delivered.
Mathis scored 17 points in the second half, and had a big sequence down the stretch to carry the Lobos to a huge 65-58 win over the Air Force Falcons in Colorado Springs Wednesday night.
Early on it was Vance Jackson and Dane Kuiper carrying the Lobos. Jackson had 13 of his 14 points in the first half, while Kuiper broke out of a slump to score eight of his 10 points in the first half. The Lobos survived a couple of early runs by Air Force to gain the lead by half.
In the second half Mathis hit some key shots, but it was his play in the final minute that carried the Lobos. UNM’s offense went severely stagnant late in the game as it has several times this season. Carlton Bragg hit a layup with 6:32 to go to put the Lobos up 58-50, and went until 2:28 until Bragg knocked down a free throw to end the scoring drought. The Lobos benefited from horrible shooting from Air Force during the drought that kept the lead at 58-54.
Air Force’s Ryan Swan made a layup with 1:05 left to close the Lobo lead to 61-58, and that’s when Mathis took over. After Mathis missed a three point jumper, and Air Force’s Lavell Scottie missed a jumper, Carlton Bragg rebounded and got it to Mathis who was fouled. Mathis knocked down both of those free throws to make it 63-58. Mathis then stole the ball from Sid Tomes on the ensuing Air Force possession. Mathis held the ball forcing another Air Force foul, and knocked down those two free throws as well to push the game out of reach, and gave the Lobos their second straight win.
With the win the Lobos move to 7-6 on the season, and 1-0 in the Mountain West Conference. The Lobos will be back in The Pit Saturday night as they will be hosting the #6 Nevada Wolfpack.