Air Force Cruises to 63-51 Victory Over Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Dec. 10, 2011
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP)- Michael Lyons scored 17 of his game-high 23 points in the second half as Air Force cruised to a 63-51 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday night.
Lyons was 7-for-10 shooting from the field with two 3-pointers after halftime for Air Force (5-2). Mike Fitzgerald scored a career-high 19 points with six treys, the most by a Falcon since Tom Fow had six against UC Davis on Dec. 22, 2009.
"I thought the guys did a real nice job of finding him (Fitzgerald),'' Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said.
Fitzgerald missed only two shots in all. He put together three straight 3-pointers near the end of the first half.
"I hit those 3s and I think that really gave us a boost in the first half,'' Fitzgerald said.
Savalace Townsend had 16 points on 10 of 11 free throw shooting to lead Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-5). Lazabian Jackson had 13 for the Golden Lions who have lost three straight.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored only 12 points in the paint against the taller Falcons and had only 12 points off 20 Air Force turnovers.
"We stayed close to them and seemed like we had some momentum,'' said Arkansas-Pine Bluff coach George Ivory. "They got hot with some 3s at the end of the half and carried over some momentum into the second half.''
The Falcons started off slowly, but picked up steam at the end of the first half to lead, 29-20.
At one point they had more turnovers than field goals (8-7) and still managed to be ahead 18-17. Jamar Harris had brought the Golden Lions to within one with a rebound basket with 6:45 left.
The Falcons didn't have a turnover the rest of the half. Chris Carter had a coast-to-coast layup and Fitzgerald sank three 3-pointers over the final 5:08 and Air Force outscored Arkansas-Pine Bluff 11-2 over that stretch.
The Golden Lions made only 8 of 29 shots in the first half and had only two baskets by Lavoris Weathers to show for themselves in the first four minutes of the second half. Air Force turned the ball over three times and couldn't extend its lead over that stretch.
Lyons finished a layup and after the Falcons defense forced a turnover and two missed shots, Fizgerald hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game and Lyons followed with two more treys and the lead was expanded to 42-25.
A free throw by Taylor Broekhuis gave them their biggest lead at 46-27. Demetrius Smith got the Golden Lions as close as 61-51, hitting two free throws with 47 seconds left.
"We thought we had them at several points in the second half,'' Townsend said. "We couldn't execute enough offensively and they'd come back at the other end and score baskets.
The Falcons to a man were not happy with their turnovers.
"I am disappointed,'' Lyons said of the turnovers. "We had a lot of turnovers and I'm not very happy about that.'' The Falcons have a week off for finals before hosting Maryland-eastern Shore on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m.