Falcons Down North Dakota, 77-67, in First Round of CollegeInsider.com Tourney

    Derek Brooks posted Air Force's first double-double of the season Tuesday
    Derek Brooks posted Air Force's first double-double of the season Tuesday

    March 15, 2011

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    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Derek Brooks' first career double-double was also a first for Air Force.

    Brooks had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the first double double this season by an Air Force player, helping the Falcons beat North Dakota 77-67 on Tuesday night in a first round game of the CollegeInsider.com tournament.

    Michael Lyons added 21 points and Taylor Broekhuis 11 points for Air Force (16-15), making its sixth postseason appearance and first since going to the NIT semifinals in 2007.

    "It feels good to get one," Brooks said of the double double that figured prominently in Air Force's first postseason in four years. "As long as we won, I didn't care about the stats."

    With North Dakota putting up 39 3-point attempts in the game _ the Fighting Sioux made 13 of them _ Brooks held his ground to bring down the long rebounds.

    "The ball was coming off long because they shot so many outside shots, and I'd just get myself in position and try to outjump guys for the ball," he said.

    More often than not, he came down with it, hauling in nine of his rebounds on the defensive end.

    The Falcons, who outrebounded North Dakota 36-30, also turned up the defensive pressure on the perimeter.

    "I think we did a great job of contesting them," Lyons said. "Even if we got there late, we contested their shots. It feels great to win a postseason game. We just want to keep winning and try to get to 20 wins."

    Air Force expects to get word by Wednesday on who they play next.

    Josh Schuler had 21 points and Troy Huff had 20 for North Dakota (19-15), which saw its six-game winning streak snapped. The two combined for nine of North Dakota's 13 3-pointers in the game.

    North Dakota coach Brian Jones said he liked the way his young team finished the season.

    "It's very encouraging," he said. "Our young guys showed tremendous maturity. In the beginning of the year, we were still figuring out how to win and compete. At the end of the year, we were winning all of those close games."

    Trailing by 10 at the half, North Dakota cut the deficit to 54-50 when Patrick Mitchell, who finished with 12 points, connected on a 3-pointer with 12:56 remaining.

    Air Force countered with an 8-0 burst, going back in front 62-50 on Broekhuis' short hook shot with 6:41 left to play.

    Huff hit three of his four 3-pointers for North Dakota in the late going, the last pulling the Fighting Sioux to 67-61 with 4:34 remaining. But the Falcons then ran off eight straight points, including successive fastbreak layups by Lyons and Stewart to secure the victory.

    Air Force opened with its highest scoring first half of the season, getting 12 points each from Brooks and Lyons en route to a 46-36 lead.

    After Schuler hit a 3-pointer pulling North Dakota to 19-17, Air Force extended its advantage with 15-6 run that Brooks ignited when he finished a fastbreak with a dunk. Brooks had seven of his points during the run, including a 3-pointer.

    "I thought we came out with great focus and a great sense of urgency," said Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds. "I think we relaxed a little bit after we got off to a really good start. They made some good 3's that kept them in the game.

    "Fortunately for us, we were able to score enough in transition."


     

     

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