Falcons host Colorado State before heading to BYU, Utah

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    Game 19 Air Force vs. Colorado State

    Date: Monday, Jan. 29, 7:05 p.m. MST
    Site: Clune Arena (6,002), USAFA, CO
    Television: None
    Radio: KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs
    Notes: The Falcons play five of their first seven MWC games on the road.

    Records: Air Force is 5-13 overall and 0-4 in MWC play this season. The Falcons lost, 71-56, vs. Wyoming in Clune Arena last Saturday. Colorado State is 11-6 overall and 2-2 in the MWC. The Rams lost, 72-71, in overtime at New Mexico last Saturday.

    Coaches: Air Force is coached by Joe Scott (Princeton, 1987), who is in his first season. This season marks Scott's first as a head coach. Scott was an assistant at Princeton from 1993-2000. He helped the Tigers to a 163-61 record. Colorado State is coached by Dale Layer (Eckerd College, 1980), who is in his first season. Layer has led the Rams to an 11-6 record. He has a 179-94 record in his 10th season.

    Series: Colorado State holds a 56-17 series lead. The Rams have won 13th consecutive games in the series dating back to a 70-66 Air Force win at home in 1994. The teams first played in 1957.

    Looking at Colorado State
    Colorado State is celebrating its 100th year of college basketball.

    Colorado State was 18-12 overall last season and finished fourth in the MWC with an 8-6 mark. The team returns eight lettermen and four starters from last year.

    The Rams rank third in the MWC in scoring with a 73.2 average. The team leads the league in field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage with 49.7 and 43.1 marks, respectively.

    Senior John Sivesind leads the team in scoring with a 13.4 average. He ranks eighth in the conference in scoring. Sivesind is the league's top free throw and three-point shooter. He hits 88.9 percent from the line and 51.8 from long range.

    Colorado State's probable starters
    #       Name              Ht.     Wt.     Yr.     Ppg.    Rpg.
    10      Ali Palmer-g     5-10    170      Sr.     7.4     2.6
    32      John Sivesind-g  6-3     200      Sr.     13.4    2.2
    44      David Fisher-f   6-10    230      Sr.     12.5    3.7
    33      Brian Greene-f   6-8     225      So.     7.8     6.4
    40      Garrett Patik-f  6-7     240      Sr.     7.5     5.3

    The Colorado State series
    Air Force and Colorado State meet for the 72nd time overall. The Rams hold a 56-17 all-time lead. Colorado State has won 13 consecutive games in the series dating back to a 70-66 Air Force win at home in 1994. Colorado State is 35-8 all-time in conference games against Air Force.

    Colorado State is 25-11 at Air Force and 30-5 in Fort Collins. The teams are 1-1 in neutral site games. The teams first played in 1957 in Denver. Air Force won the game, 70-62. Last year vs. Colorado State

    Colorado State swept a pair of games vs. Air Force.

    Colorado St. 71, Air Force 52
    Feb. 3, 2000 - Fort Collins, CO

    Andy Birley and Garrett Patik scored 11 points each to lead a balanced Colorado State attack as the Rams defeated Air Force, 71-52, in Fort Collins.

    The Rams, who led 38-28 at halftime, opened the second half with an 8-2 run to take a 46-30 advantage and take control of the game. Colorado State used hot shooting and pressure defense throughout the game and were never seriously threatened after the opening minutes of the second half. The Rams extend the lead to as many as 26 points, 71-45, with 2:05 remaining in the game.

    The Rams used a 10-0 run midway through the first half to take a 26-15 lead with 8:11 remaining. The Rams went on to lead by as many as 13 points, the last time coming at 38-25 with nine seconds left, in the first stanza. Colorado State hit 12 of its first 18 field goals (66.7 percent) and finished the half shooting 55.6 percent from the field.

    Air Force was led by Tom Bellairs, who scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds. He was the only Falcon in double figures.

    Colorado St. 66, Air Force 64
    Feb. 17, 2000 - USAFA, CO

    Colorado State held off a furious Air Force rally to win, 66-64, in AFA's Clune Arena.

    It was too little too late for Air Force. The Falcons used three Jarvis Croff three-pointers in the final 1:43 of the game to pull to within two points, but could not completely erase a 60-50 deficit. Croff's final bomb came with three seconds remaining to make up the final margin.

    Colorado State jumped to a 27-14 lead in the first 12 minutes of the game behind 78 percent shooting from the field. The Rams went on to lead by as many as 15 points before taking a 34-22 lead at halftime. The Falcons were led by Croff's game-high 24 points. Tom Bellairs added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

    Colorado State was led by Aki Palmer, who scored 15 points. Palmer hit four consecutive free throws in the final 48 seconds to help secure the win. Ceedric Goodwyn added 13 points for CSU.

    Statistical comparison
    A statistical comparison between the two schools follows:

    Category        Air Force       CSU
    Games:            18            17
    Points:          57.7          73.2
    Points Allowed:  63.1          63.8
    FG Pct.:         43.6          49.7
    FG Pct. Def:     45.1          40.9
    3FG Pct.:        36.0          43.1
    3FG Pct. Def:    34.4          30.2
    FT Pct.:         66.0          66.6
    Rebounds:        24.4          35.5
    Assists:         13.1          17.3
    Turnovers:       14.0          15.2
    TOs Forced:      13.6          14.4
    Blocks:           2.0           1.9
    Steals:           7.4           6.4

    Top long-range bombers go head-to-head
    Air Force's Robert Todd and Colorado State's John Sivesind are the MWC's top long range bombers. Sivesind leads the league in three-point field goal percentage with a 51.8 mark. Todd is second at 45.7 percent. The Air Force freshman leads the league in three-pointers per game with 2.67 while Sivesind is second at 2.53. A second Falcon, senior Jarvis Croff, is third in the league with 2.33 made threes per game.

    Busy week for Air Force
    Air Force is in the middle of the first of two Saturday, Monday, Thursday and Saturday stretches this week. The Falcons also close out the regular season with the same schedule.

    After playing Colorado State Monday, the Falcons play at Brigham Young Thursday, Feb. 1, and at Utah Saturday, Feb. 3.

    Looking ahead at Brigham Young
    Brigham Young is 13-6 overall this season and 2-2 in the MWC. The Cougars sport one of the league's top defenses, allowing just 63.1 points per game to rank second in the MWC. BYU leads the MWC in free throw percentage with a 77.1 mark.

    Mekeli Wesley and Terrell Lyday lead the Cougars. The pair rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in the conference in scoring. Wesley averages 16.1 points and Lyday 15.5.

    Looking ahead at Utah
    Utah is 11-8 overall and 3-2 in the MWC this season. The team is playing without head coach Rick Majerus, who is taking the remainder of the season off to spend time with his ailing mother and tend to his own health.

    Utah leads the league in scoring defense (61.8), scoring margin (11.2) and rebounding margin (6.4).

    Falcons settle for a tie
    The team could have added another impressive mark in the young Joe Scott era with a victory over Texas-Pan American. Air Force could have set a school record with its sixth Division I non-conference win Wednesday.

    The Falcons tied the mark of five with their win over Liberty Jan. 6. The last time the team won five Division I games away from league play was 1998 and 1999. The Falcons are playing the first all-Division I schedule in school history this season.

    Last week vs. UTPA
    Air Force dropped a pair of home games last week. The Falcons were beaten, 66-60, by Texas-Pan American Jan. 24. The team then lost, 71-56, to Wyoming Jan. 27 in MWC action.

    Marcus Bailey and Chris McMillian scored 16 points each to lead a balanced Wyoming attack as the Cowboys defeated Air Force, 71-56, Jan. 27 in a MWC game in Clune Arena.

    The Cowboys opened the second half with a 20-6 run to take its biggest lead of the game, 50-32, with 12:49 remaining. Wyoming then used good defense and took advantage of cold Air Force shooting and were never seriously challenged after that.

    The closest Air Force came after the run was nine points, 61-52, with 1:11 remaining, but Wyoming sealed the game by hitting eight of 10 free throws from that point.

    Josh Davis added 11 points, while Brett McFall and Paris Corner chipped in with nine points each for Wyoming. The Cowboys finished the game hitting 46.8 percent from the field and out-rebounded Air Force, 39-31.

    The Falcons hit just 33.3 percent from the field, including a 21.9 clip on 7-32 shooting from three-point range. Air Force also hit just 56.5 percent from the free throw line.

    Freshman Joel Gerlach led the Falcons with 15 points. Jarvis Croff and Tom Bellairs added 12 points each. Bellairs also had a game-high 13 rebounds to record his second consecutive double-double and 10th of his career.

    Texas-Pan American
    John Braxton scored 14 points and Mire Chatman added 13 off the bench as Texas-Pan American defeated Air Force, 66-60, Jan. 24 in a nonconference game in Clune Arena.

    Texas-Pan American closed the first half on a 16-0 run to erase a nine-point deficit and take a 35-28 halftime lead. The run spilled over into the second half, as UTPA scored the first four points of the second stanza to take its biggest lead of the night, 39-28, with 18:37 remaining. The Falcons would have to play catch up the rest of the night.

    Robert Todd and Tom Bellairs each scored three points during an 8-2 Air Force run to cut the lead to 49-48 with 5:33 remaining in the game, but the Falcons could never overtake the visitors. UTPA countered the run with a 9-2 spurt to take a 58-50 lead with 3:41 left. UTPA hit six of eight free throws in the final 37 seconds to secure the win.

    Texas-Pan American finished the game hitting 75.0 percent from the free throw line. The team only hit 43.5 percent from the field, but forced 13 turnovers while turning it over just seven times.

    Air Force was led by Lamoni Yazzie, who scored 16 points. Bellairs recorded his first double-double of the season and ninth of his career with 12 points and a team-high 12 rebounds. Vernard Jenkins chipped in with 11 points and Joel Gerlach added nine. Air Force's leading scorer Jarvis Croff, who entered the game with a 14.8 average, was held scoreless for the first time in his career. The senior forward missed all four field goal attempts in 19 minutes of action.

    Shooting woes
    Since entering conference play, the Falcons have struggled with their shooting.

    The team is hitting just 35.3 percent from the field, including a 24.5 clip from three-point range the last five games, including a nonconference tilt vs. Texas-Pan American. Those numbers are down considerably from the 43.6 overall mark and 36.0 long-range percentage. Air Force headed into conference play hitting 46.6 percent from the field and 40.5 from beyond the arc. In four conference games, the Falcons are shooting 33.5 percent from the field and 22.8 from three-point land. The breakdown of the last five games follows:

    Opponent        FG      Pct     3FG     Pct
    UNLV            18-45   40.0    5-20    25.0
    New Mexico      16-44   36.4    7-27    25.9
    San Diego State 13-51   25.5    7-35    20.0
    UT-Pan Am.      18-41   43.9    8-25    32.0
    Wyoming         18-54   33.3    7-32    21.9
    Totals          83-235  35.3    34-139  24.5

    50s the key to winning
    Keeping the opponents under 60 points per game this season has been the key to winning for Air Force. The Falcons are 0-10 this season when the oppoent scores 60 or more points. The team is 5-3 on the year when holding its opponent under 60 points per game.

    Facts and figures
    To say the Joe Scott era at Air Force has started with a bang would be an understatement. It has brought about some significant accomplishments already this season. The list follows:

  • Scott picked up his first collegiate win as Air Force defeated Houston, 59-53, in the season opener at the Black Coaches Association Classic at Wake Forest. The win is Air Force's first on the road to open a season since 1983 and just the third ever. The win away from home against a team from a major conference is the first since Air Force beat Auburn, 48-46, in 1980.

  • Air Force overcame a 20-point second half deficit to beat Central Connecticut State, 63-56, in overtime Dec. 12. The deficit is the largest overcome by an Air Force team in 15 years. Incomplete Air Force records prevent a further search.
  • The Falcons' victory over Cornell Dec. 29 was the team's third consecutive win. Air Force had not had three straight wins over Division I teams since 1990. In fact, the last time AFA posted back-to-back Division I wins was 1995.
  • Air Force has three wins away from Clune Arena this season which is already more more than all of last season. The three away wins are the most since 1998.
  • Air Force finished second at the Gossner Foods Classic at Utah State. The second place finish is the second in two tournaments for the Falcons this season. Air Force has just seven second place finishes and one championship all-time in school history.
  • Air Force defeated Liberty, 82-57, Jan. 6 to record two more impressive milestones. The 25-point win is the biggest for the Falcons over a Division I team since beating San Diego State, 81-53, in 1995. The victory is the largest over a Division I non-conference team since beating Portland, 96-65, in 1993. Air Force placed six players in double figures in the game which is the most in 25 years. Incomplete records prevent a further search.

    The long and short of it
    Air Force carried a strange streak into the second half of the Denver game Dec. 22. The Falcons had gone 117:50 game minutes with all their field goals being either three-pointers or layups. It wasn't until a hook shot by Josh Wallace at the 12:25 mark in the second half that the string was broken. Wallace also hit the last one before the string, a hook with 5:15 left against Lehigh Dec. 5. In the little over 2.5 games, the Falcons hit 48 field goals. The breakdown was 32 three-pointers and 16 layups.

    For the season, 84.3 percent of Air Force's field goals are layups or treys. The team hit nothing but three-pointers and layups in the South Carolina State and Central Connecticut State games earlier this season.

    Bring on overtime
    Air Force seems to like playing in overtime games. Counting the exhibition game over Lithuania, Air Force has played two overtime games this season. The team beat Lithuania, 100-97, and Central Connecticut State, 63-56. Air Force has out-scored its opponents 26-16, including 9-0 in the final minute. The Falcons have shot 63.6 percent (7-11) from the field, including 62.5 percent (5-8) from three-point range. Air Force has held its opponents to a 41.6 clip (5-12) from the field. The Falcons have also hit 70.0 percent (7-10) from the free throw line in the extra session.

    Defensive scoring average best since 1984
    Air Force's controlled tempo and emphasis on defense has posted numbers not seen in quite a while. Opponents are scoring just 63.1 points per game which is the lowest since 1984 when foes scored just 61.0.

    This is Air Force basketball
    It's a whole new ballgame at Air Force. There are several categories that key Air Force's style. A closer look at some of the trends to keep an eye on follow:

  • The Falcons average 7.0 layups per game and 36.7 percent of their field goals on the year are layups. A game-by-game breakdown follows:

  • Air Force has hit 163 three-pointers this season and 47.5 percent of the teams field goals have come from beyond the arc. The team had a season-high 82.4 percent of its field goals from long range at South Carolina State, hitting 14 of 17. The team has had 50 percent or more come from down town in seven games this season.

    l The team is assisting on 68.5 percent of its field goals on the season. The team has 235 assists on 343 field goals. Air Force assisted on 15 of 17 field goals vs. Houston and 25 of 29 at Long Beach State. Against South Carolina State, the team assisted on 14 of 17 field goals. Against Utah State, the Falcons assisted on 16 of 18. The team assisted on 20 of 25 vs. Liberty.

    Did you know ....

  • Air Force's 15 three-pointers at Long Beach State is the most by a team in the MWC this season.
  • Air Force's 25 assists at Long Beach State are the most by a team in the MWC this season.
  • Freshman Robert Todd's 90.9 percent shooting (10-11) vs. Long Beach State is the best in a single game in the MWC this season. Todd scored a career-best 25 points in the game. Todd's 90.9 percent ranks fourth in Air Force history.
  • Todd hit 5-6 three-pointers in the Long Beach State game. That 83.3 percent clip is the best in the conference this season.

    Todd's record-setting night
    Freshman Robert Todd scored a career-high 25 points at Long Beach State earlier this season. His 25 points are the most by an Air Force freshman since Raymond Dudley scored 28 vs. New Mexico in 1987. Todd hit 10-11 field goals in the game, including 5-6 three-pointers. His 10 field goals tie a MWC freshman record. Todd also set a new MWC rookie mark for three-point field goal percentage (83.3) in the game.

    Bellairs rebounds
    Sophomore forward Tom Bellairs is quickly becoming one of the top rebounders in Air Force history. The Denver, Colo., native has 10 career double-doubles and 17 career double figure rebounding games. He's posted double-doubles in each of his last two games with 12 points and 12 rebounds vs. UT-Pan American and 12 points and 13 rebounds vs. Wyoming.

    He was second in the conference last year with a 9.2 rebounding average. His second place finish is the best by a Falcon in school history.

    Bellairs' impact is even bigger this season. Since his return against Navy, Bellairs has posted five double-figure rebounding efforts while leading the team in rebounding in 11 of 13 games.

    Air Force seventh nationally in three-pointers made per game
    The Falcons average 9.0 made three-pointers per game to lead the Mountain West Conference and rank seventh nationally. The team has hit nine or more in eight games. Air Force has hit 10 or more six times this season, including a season-high 15 vs. Long Beach State which is a school record vs. a Division I opponent.

    #       Team          G       3's     Avg.
    1.      Duke          16      166     10.4
    2.      Samford       16      164     10.3
    3.      TCU           17      167     9.8
    4.      Georgia Tech  15      143     9.5
    5.      Wisc.-Milw.   16      151     9.4
    6.      Belmont       16      150     9.4
    7.      Air Force     16      148     9.3
    Stats are of Jan. 23 (Next update on Jan. 30)

    Youth served
    Air Force has started at least two freshman in nine of 18 games this season. Center Josh Wallace has started nine games, forward Joel Gerlach nine, Robert Todd five and guard A.J. Kuhle five. Kuhle make his first career start against Northern Arizona, joining both Wallace and Todd in the starting lineup.

    For the season, freshmen are averaging 35.2 percent of the team's total minutes. When you throw in sophomores Vernard Jenkins and Tom Bellairs, 65.8 percent of the team's total minutes are from freshmen and sophomores.

    Croff joins 1,000-point club
    Senior Jarvis Croff became the 15th Falcon to join the 1,000-point club at the Academy against Utah State Dec. 30. Croff is the first Falcon since Mike Freeman in 1998 to join the club. The Beaumont, Texas, native ranks 11th in school history with 1,086 points. Croff needs 14 points to break into the top 10 all-time.

    Career Scoring Leaders at Air Force
    #       Name               Years      Points
    1.      Raymond Dudley    1987-90     2,178
    5.      Jarmica Reese     1995-98     1,385
    6.      Cliff Parsons     1967-69     1,374
    7.      Rick Simmons      1980-83     1,320
    8.      Tom Schneeberger  1975-78     1,204
    9.      Maurice McDonald  1983-86     1,121
    10.     Randy Gricius     1976-79     1,100
    11.     Jarvis Croff      1999-Pres.  1,086

    Croff seventh in career scoring average
    Senior Jarvis Croff is seventh all-time in Air Force history in career scoring average with a 15.5 mark. Bob Beckel is Air Force's career leader with a 22.8 mark. A closer look at the career leaders follows:

    #       Name              Years     Gms     Avg
    1.      Bob Beckel       1956-59    67      22.8
    2.      Raymond Dudley   1987-90   109      20.0
    3.      Cliff Parsons    1966-69    71      19.4
    4.      Otis Jones       1992-95   110      18.2
    5       Tyron Wright     1999-00    54      15.9
    6.      Tim Harris       1977-81    99      15.7
    7.      Jarvis Croff     1999-01    70      15.5

    2000-01 Schedule Notes
    Air Force is playing the first all-Division I schedule in school history this season. The schedule features 10 teams that played in the post-season last year, including six NCAA teams and four NIT teams.

    The schedule also features nationally-ranked Wake Forest from the Atlantic Coast Conference. Utah has been ranked this season while Wyoming and Brigham Young of the MWC have also received mention in national polls.

    Air Force is one of just two teams in the MWC that has not played a non-Division I team. Brigham Young is the other. The Falcons are one of just three teams to play a nationally-ranked team. UNLV and Utah are the others. The Falcons are the only MWC team to play a team in the top 10.

    Todd could join elite company
    Freshman Robert Todd is second on the team in scoring with an 11.0 average. He and senior Jarvis Croff have exchanged the lead all year. Todd could become the first freshman since Raymond Dudley in 1987 to lead the team in scoring for the season. Dudley averaged 13.6 in 1987 and is the only freshman ever to lead the team in scoring.

    Todd has led the team in scoring three games this season and has hit double figures 12 times.

    Falcons picked eighth
    Air Force was picked to finish eighth in the conference at the Mountain West Conference Media Day in October by the league's media. Utah was picked first, followed by Wyoming, UNLV, BYU, New Mexico, Colorado State and San Diego State. The Falcons were also picked eighth in most national magazines. Only Dick Vitale's College Basketball had Air Force picked higher (seventh).



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