The University of New Mexico Lobos started Mountain West Conference play Wednesday night like they have the previous seven seasons, with a victory. The Lobos 65-58 win over Air Force was fueled by a 17 point burst by leading scorer Anthony Mathis.
Mathis even made clutch free throws down the stretch to close out the Falcons. The Lobos built up a double digit lead in the first half with the help of a 16-2 run and hot shooting from Dane Kuiper, Vance Jackson and Makuach Maluach. Kuiper finished the game with 10 points while Jackson scored 14 and Maluach had 12. Lavelle Scottie led the Falcons in scoring with 20 points.
The Lobos lead was nine points at the break at 38-29. Air Force made the game interesting down the stretch, cutting a lead that had stretched to 12 to only 3 points. Defensively the Lobos were able to make the Falcons turn the ball over at crucial points in the closing minutes.
“That was as good a defensive game as we’ve had really this year,” said Lobos Head Coach Paul Weir. “I like that. Offensively you can see a lot of talent, but we are still making a lot of mistakes. We are still a little sloppy. We have to take better care of the basketball, make some more free throws, but we have potential. We just got to find a way to get it out of our team now.”
The Lobos improved to 7-6 and 1-0 in the Mountain West. They will host sixth ranked Nevada at Dreamstyle Arena Saturday at 6 p.m..