Air Force Upsets No. 22 San Diego State, 70-67
Feb. 2, 2013
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) - Everywhere they go, the Air Force Falcons see constant reminders of outsiders' low expectations for the long-struggling program.
The media picked them to finish last in a deep Mountain West Conference, a preseason prediction that's plastered to the locker room doors and across grease boards.
"We have some great teams in this league, but ninth? Come on!" coach Dave Pilipovich said Saturday as he basked in the Falcons' 70-67 victory over No. 22 San Diego State. "I joke that there were a couple of guys that picked us 10th - and we're in a nine-team league. We constantly remind ourselves: This is what people think of us."
Maybe not anymore.
Michael Lyons scored 20 points and the Falcons fended off San Diego State by overcoming 25 points and 10 rebounds from Aztecs star Jamaal Franklin, who scored 14 over the final 9 minutes to help San Diego State nearly overcome a 12-point deficit.
The Falcons' latest stunner sets up a showdown in Albuquerque, N.M., next week for - get this - first place in one of the toughest conferences in college basketball this season.
There's talk that the league could get five or even six NCAA tournament bids this year, and now the Falcons are crashing the party. They'll take some serious swagger into The Pit, the next stop on their told-you-so tour.
"We know how great New Mexico is but we're going to prepare like we always do," senior guard Todd Fletcher said after scoring 13 points. "I mean, we were picked ninth in the league, so we have nothing to lose."
The Falcons won for just the third time in 81 games against ranked opponents - but two of those wins have come against the Aztecs, whom they defeated 58-56, also at Clune Arena, on Feb. 18, 2012.
Asked why they match up so well against San Diego State, three Falcons stared blankly at each other in the postgame interview room. Finally, Fletcher retorted: "Do we match up well?"
On this afternoon, they were every bit as good as the Aztecs, who had two chances in the waning seconds to send it into overtime with a 3-pointer only to see shots by Franklin and then James Rahom (14 points) rim out.
"To win a game like this you have to make plays. You have to get a lucky bounce on a play and they had one more than we did," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. "We still had an opportunity but we didn't get it."
After Rahon's miss, Lyons secured the rebound, hugging the ball for the final second and then heaving it into the air, accidentally knocking a pair of panels off the overhanging scoreboard as the cadets stormed the court.
The Falcons (14-6, 5-2 MWC) won their fifth straight at Clune Arena, while the Aztecs (16-5, 4-3) lost for only the second time in their last 10 games against Air Force.
The Falcons used a 19-2 run to take control at 59-47, then held on as Franklin scored 18 points in the second half. He finished 11 for 12 from the foul line, his only miss a big one with less than a minute left and the Aztecs trailing by two.
Franklin sank the second free throw to make it 68-67 before Kamryn Williams hit two of his own at the other end after nearly losing the ball off his foot for a 70-67 lead with 19.1 seconds left.
The Aztecs had beaten their previous two opponents by 21 points each, including a 55-34 blowout of then-No. 15 New Mexico, their biggest margin of victory over a ranked team in school history.
But they were just 2 for 19 from beyond the arc at Air Force, where they were outscored from long range by 30 points.
The Aztecs outrebounded the Falcons 37-23, including 15-5 on the offensive glass.
"Our strength for us against Air Force should be offensive rebounding," Fisher said. "That was something that we talked about should be a huge plus for us. It was, but it wasn't quite enough."
Led by a career-best eight points from sophomore Marek Olesinski, the Falcons' reserves also outscored the Aztecs' bench by 23-6.
"We got beat today," Franklin said. "I always say, when I'm on the court, I'm enemies with everyone I play against, but after the game you have to show good sportsmanship and give credit when it is due."
- Men's Sports
- Women's Sports
Sunday, Sept 25 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Men's Soccer vs Gonzaga 1:00 PM Live Stats Watch Live Women's Soccer at New Mexico 1:00 PM Watch Live Livestats Fencing vs Nick Toth Open 9:00 AM Men's Water Polo vs Princeton 1:00 PM Men's Tennis vs Air Force Invitational TBA Monday, Sept 26 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Men's Golf at Mark Simpson Invitational 8:00 AM Tuesday, Sept 27 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Men's Golf at Mark Simpson Invitational 8:00 AM Thursday, Sept 29 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Women's Volleyball vs Nevada 5:00 PM Livestats Watch Live Friday, Sept 30 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Men's Soccer at Houston Baptist 7:00 PM Women's Soccer vs Utah State 6:00 PM Watch Live Livestats Cross Country at Notre Dame Invitational 2:00 PM Men's Water Polo vs UC San Diego 7:30 PM Watch Live Women's Tennis vs Air Force Invitational All Day Saturday, Oct 1 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Football vs Navy 1:30 PM Listen Live Women's Swimming vs Blue/Silver 10:00 AM Men's Swimming vs Blue/Silver Scrimmage 10:00 AM Women's Volleyball vs San Diego State 7:00 PM Livestats Watch Live Women's Tennis vs ITA Riviera All-American All Day Women's Tennis vs Air Force Invitational All Day Cross Country at Rocky Mountain Shootout TBA Sunday, Oct 2 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Men's Soccer at Incarnate Word 1:00 PM Women's Soccer vs Boise State 12:00 PM Watch Live Livestats Women's Tennis vs Air Force Invitational All Day Women's Tennis at ITA Riviera All-American All Day Monday, Oct 3 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Men's Ice Hockey vs Mount Royal University 6:05 PM Women's Tennis at ITA Riviera All-American All Day Tuesday, Oct 4 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Women's Volleyball vs Boise State 6:00 PM Livestats Watch Live Women's Tennis vs ITA Riviera All-American All Day Wednesday, Oct 5 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Women's Tennis vs ITA Riviera All-American All Day Thursday, Oct 6 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Women's Volleyball vs Utah State 6:00 PM Livestats Watch Live Women's Tennis vs ITA Riviera All-American All Day Friday, Oct 7 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Women's Soccer at Wyoming 3:00 PM Watch
Watch Live Livestats
Fencing vs Div. I/II NAC 8:00 AM Men's Water Polo at Loyola Marymount 3:00 PM Boxing vs Friday Night Fights 4:30 PM Men's Ice Hockey vs Boston College 4:35 PM Men's Swimming at Colorado Mesa Invitational 5:00 PM Women's Swimming at Colorado Mesa Invite 5:00 PM Women's Tennis vs SMU Invitational All Day Men's Tennis at New Mexico Invitational All Day Men's Tennis at Boise State Invitational All Day Saturday, Oct 8 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Football at Wyoming 1:30 PM Listen Live Men's Soccer at Grand Canyon 7:00 PM Fencing vs Div. I/II NAC 8:00 AM Rifle at Alaska 8:00 AM Live Stats Cross Country at Fort Hays State Tiger Open 8:40 AM Women's Swimming at Colorado Mesa Invite 11:00 AM Men's Swimming at Colorado Mesa Invitational 11:00 AM Men's Water Polo vs Pomona-Pitzer 11:30 AM Men's Water Polo vs Redlands 5:20 PM Men's Tennis at Boise State Invitational All Day Men's Ice Hockey vs Ohio State/Denver TBA Men's Tennis at New Mexico Invitational All Day Sunday, Oct 9 Sport Opp/Event Time Media Women's Soccer at Colorado State 1:00 PM Watch Live Livestats Fencing vs Div. I/II NAC 8:00 AM Men's Water Polo at Pepperdine 12:00 PM Men's Tennis at New Mexico Invitational All Day Men's Tennis at Boise State Invitational All Day
- About Us
- Contact Us
- From the Director
- Mission Statement
- Staff Directory
- General Releases
- USAFA Home
- Cadet Service Page
- Team Service Page
- Facility Policy/Hours
- Facility Use Scheduling
- Hall of Fame
- Hall of Excellence
- Ice Rink Schedules
- Intramural Sports
- Physical Education
- Sports Camps
- Sports Medicine
- Falcon Fuel
- Stadium Rental
- Event Information
- Athletic Complex Map
- Fan Guide
- Football Gameday
- Handicap Parking Info
- Tailgate Info - Fans
- Venue Entry Policies
- Spirit Teams
- Anthem Singers
- Bands at Basketball
- Basketball Ball Kid
- Birthday Parties
- Dining Club
- Donation Requests
- Fan Engagement
- IMG College
- Kid Force
- Lodging Club
- Lodging Partners
- Wheel Club
- PRIDE CLUB