Giddens’ double-double leads Lobos over cold-shooting Falcons
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP)—J.R. Giddens scored 15 points and had 12 rebounds and New Mexico took advantage of Air Force’s worst shooting of the season to beat the Falcons, 59-44, Saturday.
Giddens got his fourth double-double in the last six games as New Mexico (15-4, 2-2 MWC) equaled its win total of last season. Air Force (10-7, 2-2 MWC) never got its offense untracked and hit just 11 of 40 shots (27.5 percent).
Anwar Johnson was the only AFA player in double figures with 10 points, including 8-for-11 at the free throw line. Tim Anderson, the Falcons’ leading scorer averaging 15 points a game, was held to five points.
New Mexico snapped a two-game losing streak and under first-year coach Steve Alford has won as many games as it did last year under Ritchie McKay, who was fired just before the end of the 2006-07 season.
The game’s first five minutes were more reminiscent of a soccer match than a basketball game. Neither team scored through the first 4 1/2 minutes, before Giddens finally snapped the zeros-are-wild start with a layup off a steal with 14:43 left in the opening half.
Before Giddens’ scoop layup found the range, the teams had combined to miss 11 field goals and four free throws.
Air Force hit just 1 of its 15 shots, a 3-pointer by reserve guard Andrew Henke at the 14:10 mark. Remarkably, that gave the Falcons their only lead as New Mexico was matching the Falcons miss-for-miss early on.
At one point the two teams were a combined 4 of 26 from the field.
Air Force went nearly seven more minutes before getting its second field goal, a layup by Keith Maren with 7:18 left in the first half. By then, New Mexico’s offense had started to find some flow and back-to-back 3-pointers by Darren Prentice and Chad Toppert gave the Lobos a 16-6 lead.
Roman Martinez scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half and Prentice closed out the half with back-to-back drives to the basket for a 32-17 Lobos lead.
Despite the paltry offense, it was not the Falcons’ worst scoring game. They scored just 36 points in a 58-36 loss to Utah two weeks ago.