The New Mexico Lobos split their series with the Air Force Falcons during the week, setting up the possibility that the Lobos will finish in last place of the Mountain West Conference this season.
The Lobos won game one of the series, 73-65, powered by Makuach Maluach’s 22 points and a solid team shooting percentage of 58.8% from the field.
Saquan Singleton’s passing was also a big help in the contest, as he dished out 13 assists during the contest.
New Mexico hopped out to an early 10-2 lead within the first four minutes of the contest. From there Air Force battled back, getting it to with 15-14 halfway through the first half of play.
New Mexico then went on another spurt to push it to 30-19 late in the first half, spurred by Singleton’s driving and dishing to wide open teammates, with five assists coming during the 15-5 spurt.
A 6-2 Falcon run got it within 32-25 at halftime that then continued into the second half.
A 19-5 run to begin the second half led to a 44-37 Air Force lead with 13 minutes to play. From there, the Lobos and Falcons battled back and forth. With the teams tied at 54-54 with 6:53 to play, New Mexico caught fire, hitting seven of their final eight field goals to pull away for the eight-point victory.
In game two it was a different story. The Lobos couldn’t buy a bucket and the Falcons took full advantage.
Air Force raced out to a 15-2 lead before New Mexico knew what hit them. The lid on the basket was there throughout the first half as the Lobos could only get within 29-21 at halftime.
The second half started better for UNM as they opened with an 11-1 run to take a 32-30 lead with 12 minutes to play.
However, from then on it was a struggle for UNM at both ends of the floor. They went 7-for-19 from the field from that point, while Air Force went 9-for-15 from the field and 13-of-15 from the free throw line to make it a 62-55 final in favor of the Falcons.
The Lobos season isn’t quite over yet, one of their two games that was postponed earlier this season against Colorado State has now been added to the schedule to end the year. That game will be on March 3rd in Fort Collins.
The Lobos sit last in the MWC standings, but a win over CSU could move them into at least a tie with Air Force, a loss would put a stamp on the disappointing season to date.
With the loss the Lobos will play either Fresno State or UNLV in the first round of the MWC Tournament. The Lobos were swept in the regular season by both teams.