Jan. 6, 2003
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Date: Monday, Jan. 6, 7:05 p.m. MST
Site: Clune Arena (6,002), USAFA, Colo.
Radio: KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs
Records: Air Force is 8-4, Savannah State is 0-10.
Coaches: Air Force is coached by Joe Scott (Princeton, 1987), who is in his third season with the Falcons. He has a 25-44 record in his tenure at Air Force. Scott came to AFA from his alma mater, Princeton, where he was an assistant coach from 1993-2000.
Savannah State is coached by Edward Daniels (Marquette, 1974), who is in his first season with the Tigers. It is also his first season as a collegiate head coach.
Series: This is the first meeting between the two schools.
Scouting Savannah State
Savannah State is 0-10 after dropping an 80-53 decision to Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Jan. 4. Prior to that game, the Tigers lost toMercer, 84-66, on Jan. 2.
Savannah State has lost two games this season to Georgia Southern, who Air Force has defeated twice.
Sherard Reddick leads the team in scoring, averaging 11.3 points per game, followed by Carlos Smalls at 9.7 points per game. Smalls led the Tigers with 12 points against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Reddick is pulling-down a team-high 10 rebounds per game, followed by Brian Boatwright, who averages 7.0 boards per game. Jamal Daniels has a team-high 26 assists.
The Falcons conclude their four-game homestand on Saturday, Jan. 11 with the team's Mountain West Conference opener against San Diego State. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:05 p.m.
New Long Range Records
Air Force set a new school and Mountain West Conference record with 18 three-pointers against UT-Pan American on Dec. 5. The previous school record was 16 made against Doane College on Nov. 22, 1997. The previous MWC record of 17 was shared by Utah and Colorado State.
Holding On To The Ball
The Falcons committed a school-record low five turnovers against Belmont and Navy. Air Force had just 22 turnovers during its three-game win streak over UT-Pan American (7), Georgia Southern (10) and Belmont. It is the fewest by an Air Force team in a three-game stretch in the history of the program.
Tops in NCAA Stats
The Falcons are currently ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 54.5 points per game. Air Force is also in the top 10 in the country for the following categories:
Category -- # -- Rank
Three-pointers made per game -- 10.6 -- 2nd
Three-point percentage -- 45.0 -- 3rd
Turnovers per game -- 11.4 -- 5th
Field goal percentage -- 50.9 -- 10th
Starters Shooting Lights Out
Four of Air Force's five starters are shooting better than 50 percent from the field this season, led by A.J. Kuhle, who is shooting 54.7 percent (47-86). The only starter below that mark is Tim Keller, who is at 48.7 percent (58-119). However, Keller is shooting 50.6 percent (42-83) from three-point range, which is second on the team and the MWC, behind Vernard Jenkins' 54.4 percent (12-22).
Air Force has now made a 3-point shot in 309 consecutive games. The last time the Falcons failed to make a three-pointer was Dec. 4, 1991 in a 57-51 victory over Adams State College.
Air Force is currently second in the nation in three-pointers made per game, sinking 10.6 long range shots each contest. Davidson College leads the country, averaging 11.3 three-pointers per game.
For the first time in four games, the Falcons shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range against Georgia Southern. In fact, Air Force's 66.7 percent (16-24) was a season-high and the best percentage since shooting 69.2 percent from long range against Montana State on Nov. 30, 2001. AFA is making 45.0 percent (127-282) of its shots from beyond the line. Individually, Air Force has three of the top four 3-point percentage shooters in the Mountain West Conference. Vernard Jenkins leads the conference at 54.5 percent (12-of-22). Tim Keller is No. 3 at 50.6 percent (42-of-83), while A.J. Kuhle is fourth at 48.8 percent (20-of-41).
Big Monday Matchup
For the first time since Feb. 1, 1992, Air Force will host a nationally televised game when ESPN shows the AFA-Wyoming game on Monday, Feb. 17 as part of its "Big Monday" tripleheader. Tip-off is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. MST.
The Falcons have three other games on television this season, two on SportsWest (March 1 vs. BYU and March 8 vs. New Mexico) and one on ESPN-Plus (Feb. 15 vs. Colorado State).
Highest Computer Rankings Ever
On Dec. 16, AFA was ranked 70th in the Sagarin Ratings, and 153rd in the RPI rankings. Both are the highest ever acheived by Air Force.
Bellairs Fifth Player to 800 / 600
Tom Bellairs became the fifth player in school history to record 800 points and 600 rebounds in a career after scoring five points against Oakland. He has 815 points and 629 rebounds in 92 career games.
Bellairs moved into the No. 4 spot on the school's all-time rebounding list against UTEP and is 29th on the school's scoring chart.
Bellairs posted the 11th and 12th double-doubles of his career during the 2001-02 campaign. He leads all current Falcons in career points and rebounds.
On Fire in the First Half
Air Force has been outstanding in the first half all season long. The Falcons have trailed only twice at halftime (at Louisville and Oakland) and are outscoring their opponents 390-278 in the first half this year.
AFA is shooting 54.8 (136-248) and 52.0 (77-148) percent from the field and three-point range, respectively, in the first half, compared to just 46.9 (115-245) and 40.3 (50-124) percent in the second half.
The first half numbers for the team's five home games are even more staggering. AFA is shooting 58.6 percent (65-111) from the field and 54.9 percent (39-71) from 3-point range.
Last Time Out
Air Force 56, Navy 43
Jan. 4, 2003 at Clune Arena
A.J. Kuhle scored 16 points and Air Force committed only five turnovers Saturday in a 56-43 victory over Navy at Clune Arena.
Tim Keller added 12 points for Air Force (8-4), which won its fifth straight home game. Kuhle also led the Falcons with a career-high seven assists.
The Falcons entered the game leading the nation in 3-point percentage (46.4) but hit only 5-of-19. They compensated by hitting 16-of-25 layups. Most of those layups came in the second half, when the Falcons shot 58 percent (11-of-19).
The hot shooting was needed because Navy outrebounded Air Force 37-23. Navy's Scott Long led all rebounders with 12. Center Tom Bellairs led Air Force with seven.
Mitch Moore had 12 points off the bench for Navy (4-9), the only Midshipman to score in double figures. Long added nine points to his 12 rebounds.
With the victory, Air Force broke a three-game winning streak by Navy in the series. Navy leads the all-time series 11-10.
Notes from the Navy Game
-- Freshman Antoine Hood played a career-high 36 minutes, pulled down a career-high four rebounds and tied his career-best with eight points
-- Freshman Nick Welch had a career-high three rebounds and tied his career-high with five points
-- Junior A.J. Kuhle had a career-high seven assists, and has 25 in his last four games
-- Sophomore Tim Keller had a career-high six steals, the most by a Falcon in one game since Vernard Jenkins had six last year against Wyoming on Feb. 23, 2002
-- Snaps a three-game losing streak to Navy
-- AFA tied a school record for fewest turnovers in a game with five (Belmont earlier this season)
-- Navy's one three-pointer made is the fewest allowed by AFA since 2/25/02 vs. CSU
-- Air Force has allowed 43, 40 and 45 points in its last three games
-- The five three-pointers made is the fewest in a game this season, as is the 26.3% from 3-point range
-- Second time in school history Air Force has won eight non-conference games (1988-89)
-- Third time in school history AFA has won its first five Division I home games (1972-73 & '77-78)
-- AFA's 8-4 record ties the fourth-best start after 12 games in the history of the program; (9-3 in 1957-58, 1961-62 and 1986-87), (8-4 in 1969-70, 1972-73, 1974-75 and 1988-89)
Best Start vs. Division I
The team's 8-4 start ties the best start in the history of the program after 12 Division I games. The last time the Falcons won eight of their first 12 Division I games was in 1961-62.
Jenkins Climbing Career Lists
Senior guard Vernard Jenkins has moved into the top five on two of the school's career lists. He is fourth on the school's all-time assist list with 303 career assists, and No. 4 on the school's list for career steals. He has 130 steals in his career.
AFA in Conference Statistics
Several Air Force players are among the top 10 for Mountain West Conference statistical leaders as of Monday, Jan. 6.
#1 -- three-pointers made per game, 3.50
#2 -- steals per game, 1.83
#3 -- three-point field goal percentage, 50.6
#7 -- points per game, 15.2
#4 -- blocked shots per game, 1.25
#5 -- three-pointers made per game, 1.92
#7 -- three-point field goal percentage, 44.2
#8 -- field goal percentage, 52.5
#10 -- free throw percentage, 73.1
#1 -- three-point field goal percentage, 54.5
#2 -- assist/turnover ratio, 2.12
#8 -- assists per game, 3.00
#3 -- assist/turnover ratio, 1.82
#4 -- three-point field goal percentage, 48.8
#6 -- field goal percentage, 54.7
#6 -- assists per game, 3.33
#9 -- three-pointers made per game, 1.67
60 Points is the Key
The 60-point mark seems to be important for the Falcons this season.
Air Force is 6-0 when it reaches the 60-point plateau, and 2-4 when it scores less than 60. The only victories this season with a point total under 60 are the 57-52 win at Arkansas State and the 56-43 win over Navy.
Defensively, the Falcons are 7-0 when allowing less than 60 points to an opponent, and 1-4 when thier opponent scores more than 60. The 85-76 victory over Belmont is AFA's lone win when giving up more than 60 points.
Home Sweet Home...
For the first time in 30 years, Air Force won each of its first two home games by more than 20 points. The 29-point victory over Stetson on Nov. 26 was followed up with a 21-point win over UT-Pan American on Dec. 5.
The last time that happened was at the start of the 1972-73 campaign, when the Falcons beat Tulane, 81-59, and Colorado State, 78-57.
...Road Sweet Road?
With the victory at UTEP on Dec. 28, AIr Force has won three true road games in the same season for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign. Prior to this season, the Falcons had not won three Division I road games in a season since 1988-89, when AFA won consecutive games at Wyoming, Utah and Brigham Young.
Most Non-Conference Victories
With its victory over Navy, the Falcons tied the school record for the most non-conference wins in one season, joining the 1988-89 team.
The eight victories is the most non-conference wins against Division I opponents.
The 1988-89 Air Force team won eight games prior to starting conference play, with four of those being non-Division I teams, while the 1982-83 and 1998-99 squads each won seven non-conference games. In each of those seasons, three of the wins were against non-Division I schools.