Open Announce

Lobos Down Air Force 85-66 For Third Straight Win

by Steve Kirkland

USAFA, Colo. – The New Mexico men’s basketball team ran its win streak to three with an 85-66 victory over Air Force on Saturday afternoon at Clune Arena. The Lobos (16-3, 4-2 MW) recorded their first road conference win of the season, while the Falcons (7-10, 0-5 MW) dropped their eighth straight.

JT Toppin led the Lobos with 25 points and 13 rebounds, posting the first 20-and-10 game by a Lobo freshman ever against a Mountain West opponent. He led a group of five Lobos in double figures, as Jamal Mashburn, Jr. scored 13 points, Tru Washington and Mustapha Amzil each had 11 points off the bench and Donovan Dent added 10 points.

The Falcons opened the game by scoring the game’s first four points and held a 7-4 lead at the first media timeout. The Lobos used a 13-0 run to take a 22-12 lead at the midway point of the half. A period of cold shooting by UNM allowed Air Force to cut the advantage to cut the deficit to 22-14 with 6:30 to play before the Lobos pushed the lead to 30-18 with 4:00 to go. A 10-1 UNM run gave them a 40-21 lead with 1:15 to go as they took a 44-24 lead into the break. Toppin had 15 points and seven boards to lead UNM in the first half.

In the second half, the Falcons used an early 7-0 run to cut the margin to 46-33 with 17:25 to play in the game. UNM led 60-44 with 12:00 to go before pushing the lead to 22 at 70-48 with an 8-0 run with 7:45 to play. The Lobos led by 22, 83-61, with 2:45 to go as they closed out the 19point lead.

• The Lobos’ 20-point halftime lead was their largest in a Mountain West road game since 2018 (led by 26 at Colorado State)
• New Mexico had 11 steals, its ninth game of the year with double-digit steals
• Amzil scored in double figures for the sixth time in the past eight games (after not having a double figure game over the first 11 games of the season

“I thought we rebounded the ball well defensively well in the first half. It is hard to beat a team in our conference, on the road, by 19 points, especially this team because it is a low-possession game. JT was terrific down low They didn’t have any answers for him. Air Force is getting better. Obviously, we came here last year and didn’t play very well and our guys were ready to go. Our fans were amazing. It felt like a home court, so we are appreciative of everyone who made the drive up. It is a road win. We hadn’t had one of those in conference yet, so proud of our guys.” – Richard Pitino

The Lobos will conclude the two-game road trip on Wednesday with a visit to San Jose State. Game time in the Bay Area is 9 p.m. MT (8 p.m. PT) and the game will air on CBS Sports Network.