Deshon Taylor scored 18 points and Ray Bowles added 16 points to lead Fresno State past Air Force, 71-59, Saturday afternoon in a Mountain West game in the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif.
Taylor scored six of Fresno State’s final eight points over the final 2:46, hitting four of six free throws, to help the Bulldogs put the game away late. Air Force had cut the lead to seven points, 63-56, on a layup by Trevor Lyons, but the Falcons managed just three free throws the rest of the way as Fresno State out-scored them 8-3 from that point.
Jahmel Taylor added 10 points for Fresno State, which shot 53.2 percent from the field, including a 63.6 clip in the second half. The Bulldogs out-rebounded Air Force, 34-22 and had 16 assists on 25 field goals. Air Force hit just 37.8 percent from the field, including a 35.3 mark from three. The Falcons hit 86.4 percent from the free throw line, hitting 19 of 22, and had 12 turnovers.
Ryan Swan, starting his second game of the season, led the Falcons with 13 points. He has scored in double figures and led the team in scoring in both starts this season. Lavelle Scottie added nine points and team bests of five rebounds and four assists. Freshman Keaton Van Soelen, who started for the first time of his career, added eight points and four rebounds.
Air Force scored six straight points to take a 15-11 lead with 11:27 to play in the first half. Fresno State responded with a 14-0 run over the next 6:51 to take a 25-15 lead with 5:43 left. Trevor Lyons finally broke the run with a field goal with 4:38 left to make it 25-17. Following a pair of Fresno State hoops, the Falcons closed the half with a 7-2 run over the last 3:13 while holding the Bulldogs without a field goal to close the gap to 31-24 at the half.
The Falcons fall to 6-8 overall and 0-2 in Mountain West play. Fresno State improved to 11-4 overall and 1-1 in the conference. Following an open date Jan. 3, Air Force returns home to host preseason favorite Nevada on Saturday, Dec. 6, at Noon MT in Clune Arena.