Air Force Cruises Past New Mexico 68-42
Jan 17, 2004
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Center Nick Welch scored 18 points, including four straight 3-pointers in the second half, and Air Force beat New Mexico 68-42 Saturday, the Falcons' first win in Albuquerque in 42 years.
Air Force (11-2, 2-0 MWC) got its school record ninth straight win and its first victory ever in The Pit, snapping an 0-for-22 streak in the arena built in 1966.
The Falcons had not won in Albuquerque since Feb. 7, 1962, when they beat New Mexico at Johnson Gymnasium. The victory was another high note in a momentous week for Air Force. On Monday, the Falcons snapped a 27-game road losing streak in Mountain West Conference play with a 65-57 win at Colorado State.
New Mexico (9-6, 0-2), led only once and had no defense for the Falcons' prolific 3-point shooting and tough defense, which held the Lobos to a season-low point total. The Falcons lead the nation in scoring defense, giving up just 47.3 points a game.
Danny Granger with 15 points was the only New Mexico player in double figures.
Seven Falcons hit 3-pointers, with Air Force going 12-for-20 from behind the arc.
Air Force, which has held every opponent under 25 points in the first half, built a 34-23 lead at halftime. The Falcons took control with an 11-0 run that included three straight 3s from Jacob Burtschi, Tim Keller and Matt McCraw.
Then Welch took over in the second half. Repeatedly left alone at the top of the key, the 6-foot-8 sophomore swished in four 3s that put the Falcons ahead 55-30 with 8:45 left.
The New Mexico fans, who booed the Falcons through the first 30 minutes, at that point turned their jeers on the Lobos, who also had 17 turnovers, shot 37 percent and hit just three of 15 3-point attempts.
New Mexico, playing before its first sellout crowd of 18,018 in more than two years, got its only lead on a 3-pointer by Troy DeVries in the game's opening minute.
Air Force answered with 8 straight points, 6 of them by Joel Gerlach.