No. 15 New Mexico topples Air Force 81-58
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Kendall Williams did a little bit of everything to help New Mexico rout Air Force.
He had 11 points, seven assists, six rebounds and four steals for the 15th-ranked Lobos in their 81-58 win Wednesday night.
"He's our guy," New Mexico coach Steve Alford said. "He recognizes the change in defenses. I thought he was vocal tonight. Maybe at times a little too vocal. But that's when Kendall is at his best. I thought he just led our team really well. He did a lot of good things."
With fellow guard Hugh Greenwood adding five rebounds and the inside duo of Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk combining for 17 rebounds, New Mexico (20-3, 7-1 Mountain West) was able to control the boards by a 39-24 advantage. The Lobos enjoyed a 13-4 edge on the offensive glass.
It was a key to the game, said Falcons coach Dave Pilipovich.
"Their size hurt us," he said. "Their offensive rebounding and their strength and length and size on the glass. Their inside scoring. The things that we knew coming in that we had to take away, we just didn't do as well as we needed to put ourselves into a position to win the game."
Air Force used a 9-3 run, capped by a 3-pointer from Kyle Green with 9:15 remaining to cut the lead to 57-51.
But New Mexico went on a 14-1 spurt, with the Falcons' only point coming when Todd Fletcher converted one of two foul shots following a technical after a brief confrontation between the coaching staffs at midcourt.
"The exchange of coaches came because we heard an assistant talk to one of our guys," Alford said. "I'm not going to sit back and let that happen. That kind of made things get a little escalated and heated."
New Mexico finished its burst scoring eight straight points.
"I think it was really to our benefit," Alford said of the confrontation. "I'm not sure that the score was before that exchange but after that exchange, it was very good play on our part."
Mike Fitzgerald and Michael Lyons each scored 16 points for the Falcons (14-7, 5-3).
Updated February 7, 2013