Feb. 5, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds often tells his team it will win if it can hold opponents below 40-percent shooting.
His strategy worked Saturday night. The Falcons held Utah to 39.5-percent shooting and held on for a 54-49 victory.
The Falcons needed their superb defensive effort. Air Force shot 38.5 percent from the field, going stone-cold in the second half.
"I think this shows our maturity," said senior Air Force forward Tom Fow. "We were doing the little things and that makes up for poor shooting."
Zach Bohannon scored a career-high 12 points for Air Force. He also had eight rebounds and five assists, both career bests, for the Falcons (13-9, 4-5 Mountain West), who have won consecutive road games for the first time since winning at COlorado State and Wyoming on Jan. 3 and 13, 2007.
Shawn Glover scored a career-high 15 points to lead the Utes (10-13, 3-6), who have lost three in a row and were held under 50 points for the first time this season.
Both teams struggled from the line. Air Force shot 7-of-15, and Utah shot 7-of-17.
With Utah trailing by seven late, Will Clyburn scored five straight points to make it 48-46 with 1:22 to play, but Air Force answered with its own 5-0 run to secure its first win in Salt Lake City since 2006.
Center Taylor Broekhuis followed Washington's basket with a block on a point-blank shot by Josh Watkins, and Utah never again threatened.
"That was huge," Fow said of Washington's shot. "It was a huge momentum shifter." Air Force opened the game with accurate shooting, hitting eight of its first 14 shots (including 5-of-8 from 3-point range) to take a 21-13 lead with 11:22 left in the first half.
At first, the Falcons offense was crisp. Air Force scored the game's first basket when Washington found Broekhuis wide open in the lane. The Falcons moved to the 16-4 lead, which silenced the Huntsman Center crowd.
But then the Falcons shooting touch vanished, forcing the Falcons to win this game with defense.
"We are a tough team," Bohannon said.
On Wednesday, the Falcons defense struggled against New Mexico, especially in the first half. The Lobos scored 75 points, and Air Force was never in the game.
"I was proud of how hard they worked on the defensive end," Reynolds said. "It showed our willingness and commitment to it."