Falcons Beat CSU to Claim No. 2 Seed In MWC Tourney, Will Face Wyoming in First Round
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - Antoine Hood had 15 points and converted two clutch free throws as Air Force ended its regular season with a six-game winning streak and a 63-59 victory over Colorado State on Saturday. Hood added a career-high eight rebounds and five assists as Air Force beat CSU for the seventh time in their last eight meetings.
Matt McCraw led Air Force (24-5, 12-4 Mountain West Conference) with 18 points on a career-high six 3-pointers. In gaining a school-record 24th win, the Falcons also claimed the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament next week and will face seventh-seeded Wyoming in the first round on Thursday, March 9 at 7 p.m. at Pepsi Center in Denver.
With 1:34 left, Stephan Gilling's 3-pointer gave Colorado State (15-14, 4-12) a 59-58 lead, but Hood gave the Falcons the lead right back with two free throws. Seven-foot Stuart Creason missed badly on an uncontested 15-foot jumper with a minute left and Tim Anderson sealed the win with a 3-pointer with 11 seconds remaining.
Dan Nwaelele erased a five-point halftime deficit and tied the game at 41 when he converted two free throws awarded him when Colorado State's Freddy Robinson was ejected and assessed a technical foul for leaving the bench with 11:44 left. Robinson was coming to CSU coach Dale Layer's defense after Jacob Burtschi had a run-in with Layer. Burtschi said after the game that his contact with Layer was unintentional.
Three-pointers by Burtschi and McCraw put Air Force ahead 52-45, but the Rams trimmed the lead back to 52-51 on Jason Smith's layup 4:50 remaining.
Nwaelele's layup put Air Force ahead by 58-53 before a conventional three-point play, but 3-pointers from Cory Lewis and Gilling gave Colorado State its last lead with 1:34 left.
Smith led Colorado State with 17 points and nine rebounds. Creason added 13 points and had two free throws in the final 1:18 of the first half that put the Rams ahead 31-26 at the break.