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New Mexico 80, Air Force 52

The SportsXchange

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Led by two seniors playing their final home game, No. 21 New Mexico obliterated Air Force 80-52 at The Pit on Wednesday night.

Senior forward Cameron Bairstow had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Lobos (24-5, 15-2 Mountain West), while senior guard Kendall Williams chipped in 13 points, including three 3-pointers.

New Mexico's third senior, four-year walk-on Chris Perez, had a layup down the stretch. It was his first basket of the season.

The Falcons (11-17, 5-12) trailed by 14 points at halftime and never got any closer. The best they could manage was briefly trimming New Mexico's lead to 49-34 with 11 minutes left. From there, Williams hit a 3-pointer, New Mexico center Alex Kirk dunked, and Lobos guard Cullen Neal nailed a trey to make it 57-34.

The game morphed into such a rout that even Bairstow got in on the 3-point barrage, hitting just the second basket from beyond the arc in his career. His previous 3 came in his freshman year.

Air Force shot poorly from start to finish. The Falcons were dominated inside by Bairstow and Kirk, but they could not hit from the perimeter, either. Air Force shot just 34.5 percent (19-for-55) from the floor overall, 25.9 percent (7-for-27) from 3-point range.

New Mexico shot 48.3 percent (29-for-60) from the field, 37 percent (10-for-27) from long range.

Guard Tre' Coggins and forward Justin Hammonds led the Falcons with 11 points apiece.

The Lobos never trailed in the first half, eventually taking a 34-20 lead into the break.

New Mexico went on an 11-2 run at the midpoint of the half, building a 23-9 lead. Center Alex Kirk got it started by making one of two free throws and then hitting a 3-pointer.

From there, Williams and guard Cleveland Thomas each made a pair of free throws, followed by a 3-pointer from guard Hugh Greenwood.

Air Force staged a minor rally as Hammonds made a 3-pointer and then a driving layup. Forward Marek Olesinski followed with a jumper after a media timeout to cut the Lobo lead to 23-16.

The two teams would each trade a pair of baskets before Bairstow would make three of four free throws to put New Mexico up 30-20.

A layup by guard Deshawn Delaney and a dunk by Kirk accounted for the halftime score.

NOTES: Being ranked has been awfully good for New Mexico when it comes to playing at home. The Lobos are 125-8 all-time at The Pit when they are in the Top 25. ... In contrast, Air Force is 4-82 all-time against ranked teams. One of those wins, however, was the Falcons' last victory over New Mexico, when Air Force beat the then-No. 12 Lobos 89-88 on March 9, 2013. ... New Mexico senior G Kendall Williams is one of just two Lobos, along with former NBA star Kenny Thomas, to record 400-plus points in all four seasons of his career. He already has a career-high point total this season.
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