Dave Pilipovich post-game interview
Trevor Lyons matched his career high with 22 points, including 18 in the second half, and Hayden Graham added 15 points as Air Force defeated San Jose State, 64-57, in the Mountain West conference opener Saturday afternoon in Clune Arena.
Air Force took control of the game midway through the first half, but had to hang down the stretch to win its conference opener for the fourth time in five seasons. Air Force out-scored San Jose State, 17-5, over the last 9:49 of the first half to take a 28-19 halftime lead. Six different Falcons scored during the run, led by Joe Tuss and Graham with four points each. The Falcons held San Jose State to just two-of-17 shooting over the stretch. The Spartans hit just 24 percent overall in the first half. Air Force forced 11 San Jose State turnovers in the first half while turning it over just four times.
The Falcons extended the lead to 15 points, 37-22, with a 9-2 spurt to open the second half. San Jose State cut the lead to nine, 41-32, with 13:20 to play, before Air Force used a 15-3 run to take its biggest lead of the game, 56-35, with 7:13 remaining. San Jose State responded with a 13-0 run to cut the lead to eight, 56-58, with 3:25 remaining. The Spartans got as close as five, 60-55, with 23 seconds left, but the Falcons put the game away hitting four straight free throws.
Air Force hit 83.3 percent from the line in the game on 25-of-30 shooting, including hitting 14 of its last 16 and six of the last eight in the final 3:17 of the game. Air Force also out-rebounded San Jose State, 37-35, and forced 20 turnovers. Air Force finished the game hitting 34.7 percent from the field while holding San Jose State to just 36.7 percent.
Lyons hit a career-high 11 free throws in 12 attempts, including four-of-four in the final 30 seconds. Kyle Broekhuis hit four-of-four, including the final two with just nine seconds left. He added nine points and a career-high seven rebounds. Zach Moer chipped in with eight points and three rebounds.
San Jose State was led by Princeton Onwas, who scored 19 points. Jaycee Hillsman added 11 and Frank Rogers 10. Ryan Welage added a team-high nine rebounds.
Air Force improves to 10-4 overall and 1-0 in Mountain West play. San Jose State falls to 5-9 overall and 0-2 in MW play.