Air Force Falls to Utah, 54-43
Feb. 24, 2010
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) - After 30 minutes of deadlocked basketball, Utah finally found its groove against Air Force.
Marshall Henderson scored 16 points and Utah held Air Force to a season-low points total in a 54-43 win Wednesday night.
It was Henderson's 11th consecutive game scoring in double figures and was the sixth consecutive victory for the Utes (13-14, 6-7 Mountain West Conference) over the Falcons (9-17, 1-12). Utah improved to 19-9 all-time at Clune Arena, and Air Force has now dropped 12 of its last 13 games.
"In the first half, we as a team weren't making open shots, and I started out 0-for-4," Henderson said. "We came out in the second half and knew we needed to be more aggressive to open up and make some shots. That's what we did to open up the half, and everything was good from there."
The game was close midway through the second half before the Utes used a 10-0 run over a 3:42 stretch to break out to a 44-30 lead with 5:58 remaining.
Air Force was 16-of-26 (61.5 percent) on its 2-point attempts, but just 2-of-17 (11.8) from 3-point range. Utah out-rebounded the Falcons 30-18 and hit 5-of-10 3-point attempts en route to the win.
"I am really proud of my team," Utah coach Jim Boylen said of the second-half run. "I thought us attacking the rim was the key. We drove it and got our threes from driving, instead of just taking them. I thought defensively we were pretty good."
The Utes also out-shot the Falcons from the line, connecting on 13-of-19 attempts compared to Air Force's 5-of-12 mark. They improved to 11-0 on the season when holding their opponent to less than 64 points.
"In the first half, we took a couple of bad shots and turned it over," Boylen said. "In the second half, we didn't do that. Going small to start the second half, I thought that was a good adjustment."
"I thought we had a good start, and the pace was where we wanted it," Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said. "We had a lot of open looks that didn't go down. The other thing that really hurt us was defensively, we came out in the second half knowing what they were going to do, but we were not able to defend it."
Air Force opened the game on a 9-2 run after holding Utah scoreless for the first 5:12, but the Utes responded. They held the Falcons scoreless for the next 6:28 and used a 7-0 run to tie the game with 9:44 remaining.
Air Force hit just 2-of-11 of its 3-point attempts in the opening half, but forced nine Utah turnovers to stay in the game. There were three more ties and three additional lead changes in the first half, and the teams went to the locker room knotted in a 19-19 deadlock.
The Falcons host UNLV on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 1:30 p.m.