Air Force Defeats BYU, 52-49
PROVO, Utah (AP) - Nick Welch scored 16 points to lead Air Force past BYU, 52-49, Saturday afternoon, giving the Falcons their first win in Provo since Jan. 24, 1989.
The Falcons (12-6, 3-0 Mountain West) have now won six of their last seven, while the Cougars (6-13, 0-4) have lost five of their last six.
Turnovers and missed free throws proved costly for the Cougars, as they allowed 12 steals and converted just 38 percent from the line.
Air Force scored the first 10 points of the game, five of them by Welch, and led 20-10 with 12:32 left in the first half as the Falcons made eight of their first 10 shots from the field. BYU outscored Air Force 19-9 the rest of the half and the teams went to the lockrooms tied at 29.
The second half was back and forth with BYU taking its biggest lead of the game at 43-39 with 10 minutes remaining. Layups by Antoine Hood, Tim Keller and Matt McCraw put the Falcons ahead 45-43, but four straight points by the Cougars gave them a 47-45 lead.
The Falcons took a lead they would not relinquish with 3:30 left, when a Welch 3-pointer put them up 48-47. The Cougars answered with a basket by Jimmy Balderson to pull within one before Hood scored a layup off a McCraw steal, one of his career-high five.
McCraw nailed two free throws with 11.6 left in the game, and BYU's Austin Ainge missed a wild 3-point shot at the buzzer to seal the Falcon win. McCraw had 14 points and Hood added 10 for Air Force, which plays at Utah Monday night.
Keena Young led BYU with 14 points and 11 rebounds.