New Mexico 57

(11-7, 0-3 MW)

(18) Air Force 65

(16-1, 3-0 MW)

    9:00 PM ET, January 9, 2007

    Clune Arena, Colorado Springs, Colorado

    1 2 T
    UNM 39 1857
    #18AFA 24 4165

    Top Performers

    New Mexico: D. Prentice 18 Pts, 2 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Air Force: M. McCraw 21 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Ast

    Air Force uses a 21-2 second-half run to climb back into the game

    AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) -- No yelling for Air Force coach Jeff Bzdelik, even though his team had played its worst half of the season.

    The Falcons (No. 15 ESPN/USA Today; No. 18 AP) were down by 15 points to New Mexico, and their 11-game winning streak didn't seem to have a chance of continuing.

    "We just said at halftime -- the voice was not raised -- very calmly I said we can't panic and this is what we need to do," Bzdelik said. "There has to be a great sense of urgency on every possession."

    It worked. Air Force opened the second half on a 21-2 run and went on to a 65-57 victory Tuesday night to keep that winning streak alive.

    "We saw what can happen when we play like that," said Bzdelik, the former coach of the Denver Nuggets. "The lesson to be learned is that we're not good enough to just show up. We're not entitled to anything because of the record.

    "If we're not playing with great energy, we could easily wind up 16-14 on the year. We need to be flying high with energy and commitment at all times."

    Dan Nwaelele scored 22 points and Matt McCraw had a career-high 21 points for the Falcons (16-1, 3-0 Mountain West), who trailed as many as 21 points in the first half.

    "To be honest with you, I could see the lack of urgency and energy kind of building," Bzdelik said. "We've kind of been full of ourselves -- so many pats on the back -- and our practices have been sloppy. That coupled with the fact that New Mexico just was making a lot of shots, we really dug ourselves a hole."

    New Mexico (11-7, 0-3) was 16-for-23 from the field in the first half, while Air Force managed only six field goals in 14 attempts. The big run gave the Falcons the lead for good at 45-41.

    "We were upset at halftime, but nobody had their head down," McCraw said. "We knew we had 20 minutes to play. We just kept telling each other we were going to come back and win this game.

    "We just need to stay positive and keep our heads up. We knew we just needed to chip away. Chip, chip, chip and before you knew it, we had the lead."

    Nwaelele scored 20 points in the second half as the Falcons chipped away.

    "We all believed that we just needed to keep shooting the ball," Nwaelele said. "We all knew we could come back by just doing what we do and keep firing away."

    Darren Prentice had 18 points for the Lobos, while Tony Danridge added 15.

    "Air Force got some shots in the second half," New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay said. "They got some deflections and we weren't able to capitalize. They are a hard team to press. We couldn't press. Air Force can carve you up if you press. They are a great free throw shooting team, too."

    Air Force went 21-for-23 from the line, while the Lobos were 3-for-9.

    "Tonight just goes to show you that if you don't bring it every night, you can get your butt kicked in this league," said Air Force forward Jacob Burtschi, who had six points and six rebounds.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 57 65
    FG Made-Attempted 23-45 (.511) 20-39 (.513)
    3P Made-Attempted 8-20 (.400) 4-17 (.235)
    FT Made-Attempted 3-9 (.333) 21-23 (.913)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 15 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 18 11

    2006-07 Season

    » Jan 9, 2007 @AFA 65, UNM 57Recap
    Feb 10, 2007 AFA 60, @UNM 51Recap