Air Force is the ninth seed and will take on eighth-seeded UNLV on Wednesday, March 7, at 11 a.m. PT in the Thomas & Mack Center (18,500) in the opening round. If the Falcons win, they will take on top-seeded Nevada on Thursday, March 8, at Noon in the quarterfinals. The semifinals will be Friday, March 9, at 6 p.m. followed by the championship game on Saturday, March 10, at 3 p.m.
The opening rounds games will air exclusively Facebook. The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds will be televised on CBS Sports Network. The championship contest will be broadcast on CBS at 3 p.m. PT on Saturday, March 10.
Sports Animal 1300 AM (Jim Arthur)
THE AIR FORCE BREAKDOWN
Quick Facts Air Force
Conf. Record:... 6-12
Streak:............. W 1
Last Game:....... vs. San Jose State (3-3), W 83-61
Next:............... vs. #8 UNLV (3/7), 11 a.m. PT
- #1 Nevada (3/8), Noon PT
Location:.......... Colorado Springs, CO
Head Coach..... Dave Pilipovich
Alma Mater..... Thiel College, 1986
School Record.. 84-112 (6th season)
Career Record Same
AIR FORCE IN THE MW TOURNAMENT
Air Force is 4-18 in 18 previous appearances in the Mountain West Tournament. The Falcons are 4-2 in the opening round and 0-16 in the quarterfinals. Air Force is the ninth seed for the fourth time in tournament history. Air Force is 3-3 all-time as the ninth seed.
LAST SEASON AT MW TOURNAMENT
Air Force vs. Colorado State
(March 9, 2017)
Colorado State senior guard Gian Clavell scored 30 points to lead second-seeded Colorado State to an 81-55 victory over No. 10 seed Air Force in Thursday’s quarterfinal round.
Also scoring in double figures for the Rams were Prentiss Nixon with 15, Emmanuel Omogbo with 12 and Nico Carvacho, who had 10 points and led the team with nine rebounds.
After trading buckets over the first six minutes of the contest, and falling behind 16-12 early, the Rams went to work, paced by Clavell and sophomore Braden Koelliker. The pair combined to score the game’s next 11 points, pushing Colorado State ahead by seven, 23-16.
Air Force wasn’t done, though, and used an 8-0 run to move ahead 24-19. It would be the last lead the Falcons would see, as Colorado State closed the first half on a 16-2 run and take a 39-26 lead into halftime.
The Rams surged to a 20-point lead over the first three minutes of the second half, 46-26. The Falcons did their best to stay with Colorado State, which had the league’s second-best scoring defense during the regular season, but Clavell was clearly on a mission.
During a span of 6:23, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Puerto Rico scored 14 of Colorado State’s 20 points, as the Rams maintained their 20-point lead, and eventually extended it to 28, with 9:23 left in the game, at 69-41. The Rams’ lead swelled to 30 at one point.
Air Force vs. Wyoming
(March 8, 2018)
Air Force held No. 7 seed Wyoming scoreless over the first 9:36 to open a 25-0 lead, and cruised to an 83-68 victory Wednesday. The Jacob Van led four Falcons in double figures, with 18 points, including 10 of 10 from the free throw line. Hayden Graham had 15 points and six rebounds, Lavelle Scottie added 13 points and Frank Toohey had 11 points and nine rebounds for Air Force.
Air Force forced seven turnovers and got balanced scoring, with six different Falcons scoring during the run.
Air Force’s 25-0 run to start the game tied a Mountain West tournament record, set by Boise State against San Jose State in 2014. The Falcons’ 48 first-half points were the most they scored in a tournament half, eclipsing their previous high of 40.
Air Force is the lowest seed to advance to the quarterfinals, while it marks the first Mountain West tournament win by a 10-seed in four attempts.
The Falcons won away from Colorado Springs for the first time since a Dec. 19, 2015 victory at UC Davis (67-60), snapping a streak of 23 consecutive losses away from home.
Wyoming’s 27 first-half points were its second-lowest for the first half, and third-lowest for either half this season. The Cowboys shot just 8 of 25 (32 percent) from the field over the first 20 minutes, and 22 of 54 (40.7 percent) for the game.
Justin James led the Cowboys with 20 points, while Hayden Dalton recorded his 11th double-double of the season and 11th of his career, with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
AN AIR FORCE WIN WOULD.....
....give Air Force its second straight win in the opening round of the conference tournament.
....give Air Force it’s first win over UNLV in conference tournament play in three meetings.
....improved Air Force to 14-37 all-time vs. UNLV and would snap a two-game losing streak to the Runnin’ Rebels.
....would improve Air Force to 5-18 all-time in the Mountain West Tournament.
AIR FORCE’S LAST GAME
Senior Jacob Van scored a season-high 23 points, hit a career-best six 3-pointers and had a career-high seven assists to lead Air Force past San Jose State, 83-61, Saturday afternoon on Senior Day in Clune Arena at the Academy.
Air Force led the entire way and took control midway through the first half. Leading 11-10 early on, the Falcons used a 15-7 run to jump out to a 30-17 lead with 7:15 remaining in the half. Air Force extended the lead to as many as 24 before as it closed the half on an 11-2 spurt to take a 50-28 halftime lead. The 22-point halftime lead is the largest by the team in conference play this season.
San Jose State used an 11-1 run early in the second half to cut the lead to 58-41, with 14:14 left. Air Force responded with 15 straight points to take its biggest lead, 73-41, with 8:22 to play. Senior Ryan Manning started the run with a pair of threes. The closest the Spartans got from there was 20 points in the final moments.
Air Force shot 43.8 percent from the field, but hit 39 percent from three with school records in made threes and attempts on 16-of-41 shooting. The Falcons out-rebounded San Jose State, 44-36, and had 21 assists on 28 field goals with just seven turnovers.
Sid Tomes added 11 points while Trevor Lyons chipped in with nine points and a career-best 13 rebounds. He also had three assists and became the seventh player in school history to record 300 or more assists. He is seventh in school history with 302. He is also tied for 10th in games played with 115. Senior Frank Toohey added nine points and five rebounds while Ryan Swan chipped in with eight points. Lavelle Scottie added seven points and career bests of eight rebounds and five assists.
San Jose State was led by Keith Fisher, who scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Jaycee Hillsman added 10 points. The Spartans hit 38.3 percent from the field and 33.3 from three.