ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- The New Mexico Lobos broke loose down the stretch and bolted past the Air Force Falcons for an 81-58 victory on Wednesday night.
The No. 15-ranked Lobos (20-3, 7-1 Mountain West) went on a 14-1 run late in the second half to put away the Falcons (14-7, 5-3).
Air Force had pulled within 54-48 on Roswell, N.M., native Marek Olesinski's 3-pointer, only to see New Mexico's Tony Snell counter with a 3 of his own. Kyle Green then brought the Falcons back within six when he hit a 3.
The Lobos reeled off six straight points on a fadeaway jumper by Jamal Fenton, a Snell lay-in and another lay-in by Cameron Bairstow to push the lead to 63-51.
Then things took a turn for the bizarre as both teams, including the coaching staffs, had to be separated at midcourt during the media timeout at 6:55. The final result was three technical fouls, two on the Lobos and one on the Falcons.
If anything, the skirmish seemed to set the Lobos off. The Falcons would only score one free throw in the next two minutes-plus, while New Mexico racked up eight points to effectively put the game away at 71-52.
The Lobos won behind a very balanced scoring attack, as Snell, Bairstow and Alex Kirk each had 14 points. Hugh Greenwood added 13 points and Kendall Williams scored 11.
New Mexico took a 42-29 lead into halftime, including a 9-3 run to close out the first 20 minutes.
Williams drew a foul and made the first of two free throws to put the Lobos up, 34-26. He missed the second, but Bairstow pulled down the rebound and then fired off a pass to Williams, who nailed a 3-pointer.
Greenwood followed with another 3-pointer and Bairstow added two free throws to give New Mexico its biggest lead at 42-26.
Mike Fitzgerald hit a 3-pointer before the half to account for Air Force's only basket in the final three minutes.
Bairstow led the Lobos at the half with nine points, while Kirk had seven points and six rebounds.
New Mexico outrebounded Air Force 21-11 in the first half.
Michael Lyons led the Falcons with eight points. He scored the first basket of the game, but Air Force would never lead again as New Mexico raced out to a 33-19 lead with 4:20 left.
NOTES: In Mountain West games, Air Force has been shooting lights out. The Falcons are first in the conference in free-throw percentage (83.2), field-goal percentage (46.4), 3-point percentage (38.2) and 3-pointers per game (7.4). ... New Mexico has won 30 of 32 meetings with Air Force in The Pit. Alford is 12-0 against the Falcons. ... Air Force's 70-67 win over then-No. 22 San Diego State on Saturday was just the Falcons' third victory over a top 25 team.