Falcons Open MW Championships vs. New Mexico on Thursday
March 7, 2012GAME #29#7 Air Force Falcons vs. #2 New Mexico LobosThursday, March 8, 20126 p.m. (PT) at Las Vegas, Nev. (The Mtn.)Quarterfinals - Mtn. West Championships SITELocation Las Vegas, Nev.Arena Thomas & Mack CenterCapacity 18,500 RADIONetwork Air Force / IMG Sports NetworkStation AM 740 KVOR, Colo. Spgs.Play-by-Play Jim ArthurAnalyst Matt Pauley TELEVISIONNetwork The Mtn.Play-by-Play Ari WolfeAnalyst Blaine FowlerSidelines Molly Sullivan INTERNETLive Stats goairforcefalcons.com COACHESDave Pilipovich (Thiel College, 1986)Air Force 2-5, First Season as Head CoachOverall Same Steve Alford (Indiana, 1987)New Mexico 122-45, Fifth SeasonOverall 430-228, 21st Season ALL-TIME SERIESOverall New Mexico leads 52-18Neutral Site New Mexico leads 2-1First Game Dec. 7, 1957Result Air Force won 68-50Last Game Feb. 29, 2012Result New Mexico won 86-56Current Streak New Mexico - 11 Falcons Face New Mexico at Mtn. West ChampionshipsAir Force finished the 2011-12 regular season with a 13-15 overall record and a 3-11 mark in the Mountain West following a 75-65 loss to Colorado State Saturday in the regular-season finale at Clune Arena. The Falcons finished in a tie for seventh place with Boise State in the final MW standings.The Falcons gained the No. 7 seed at the 2012 Conoco MW Basketball Championships over Boise State due to their win over MW regular-season champion San Diego State. They will face No. 2-seed New Mexico in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 8 at 6 p.m. (PT) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. 2012 Conoco MW Basketball Championship ScheduleThe 2012 Conoco Mountain West Championship schedule follows: Thursday, March 8Game 1: #1 San Diego State vs. #8 Boise State 12 p.m. (The Mtn.)Game 2: #4 Colorado St. vs. #5 TCU 2:30 p.m. (The Mtn., CBS Sports Network)Game 3: #2 New Mexico vs. #7 Air Force 6 p.m. (The Mtn.)Game 4: #3 UNLV vs. #6 Wyoming 8:30 p.m. (The Mtn., CBS Sports Network) Friday, March 9Game 5: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 6 p.m. (CBS Sports Network)Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 8:30 p.m. (CBS Sports Network) Saturday, March 10Game 7: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 4 p.m. (VERSUS)** All Times PST Conference Tournament HistoryAir Force is 6-25 overall in conference tournament play. The Falcons are 1-0 at home, 1-4 on the road and 4-21 in neutral site games.The Falcons have lost 13 consecutive conference tournament quarterfinal games, dating back to a 58-51 victory over #1 seed CSU in the Western Athletic Conference quarterfinals on March 8, 1990. That is still the biggest upset in WAC tournament history, as AFA entered the tournament as the #9 seed. Air Force is 0-2 against New Mexico in conference tournament action and 2-12 overall in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Air Force Loses Regular-Season Finale to Colorado StateWes Eikmeier scored 18 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to lead Colorado State to a 75-65 victory over Air Force Saturday at Clune Arena. Dorian Green added 16 points and Greg Smith pulled down a game-high seven rebounds as CSU clinched the fourth seed at next week’s MW Championships.Michael Lyons led the Falcons with 18 points and a career-high five assists. Mike Fitzgerald scored 16 points and Todd Fletcher had a team-high six assists. The Falcons tied their season-high with 13 3-pointers and shot 59.1 percent from 3-point range, AFA’s best percentage in one game since shooting 61.5 percent against Utah on Jan. 19, 2006. Dave Pilipovich Named Permanent Head CoachDirector of Athletics Dr. Hans Mueh announced on March 3 that Dave Pilipovich agreed to become the permanent head coach of the Air Force men’s basketball team. Pilipovich, the eighth head coach in program history, is in his fifth season on the Air Force coaching staff and was in his first season as associate head coach before taking over for Jeff Reynolds on Feb. 8.Pilipovich won his first game as a collegiate head coach on Feb. 15 when Air Force defeated Wyoming 58-53 in Laramie, Wyo., then led the Falcons to their first-ever win over a top 20 team with a 58-56 victory over San Diego State on Feb. 18 at Clune Arena. Air Force Wins First-Ever Against a Top 20 TeamMichael Lyons scored 27 points and had four steals to lead Air Force to a 58-56 upset of No. 13 San Diego State on Feb. 18, the Falcons’ first win over a top 20 team in program history. The Aztecs had a chance to steal the win but Xavier Thames’ 3-pointer was off the mark at the buzzer, sending San Diego State to its third straight loss. The Falcons are 1-64 against top-20 teams and 2-75 against ranked opponents. The only other time they beat a ranked team was Feb. 15, 1992, against No. 21 UTEP. Every Loss But One to Teams With a Winning RecordThe 11 teams that have beaten the Falcons this season have a combined record of 228-105 (.685 winning percentage) this season and 10 of the 11 currently have a winning record. Six of the teams, Wagner, Gonzaga, New Mexico, UNLV, San Diego State and Wyoming have at least 20 wins this season. Lyons Returns to Conference Stat LeadersAfter playing against San Diego State on Jan. 18, junior Michael Lyons has played in 75 percent of Air Force’s games this season, once again making him eligible for the Mountain West statistical charts. Lyons is currently No. 3 in scoring in the league (15.5 ppg), No. 5 in field-goal percentage (45.8%) and No. 6 in 3-pointers made per game (1.95) for all games.In conference games only, he finished second in scoring (15.0 ppg), third in 3-point percentage (42.5%) and sixth in field-goal percentage (43.2%). Third-Fewest Points Ever in a VictoryAir Force’s 42 points against Eastern Michigan on Dec. 30 were the third-fewest in a victory in school history and the fewest since a 39-36 win over Cornell on Dec. 29, 1981. The school record for fewest points in a victory is a 30-19 win over Regis on Dec. 12, 1978. AFA Overcomes Largest Deficit Of Season at WyomingAir Force’s rally from a 14-point deficit against Wyoming on Feb. 15 was the largest this season and the largest since overcoming an 18-point deficit against Sam Houston State (W, 76-65) on Dec. 28, 2010.It was also the largest deficit Air Force has overcome against a Mountain West opponent since Jan. 9, 2007, when Air Force rallied from a 21-point first-half deficit to beat New Mexico, 65-57, at Clune Arena. Fletcher Tied For 10th on Career Assist ListWith his two assists against Texas-Pan American on Jan. 9, junior Todd Fletcher became the 22nd player in school history to dish out 200 career assists. The school began keeping assists as a season total in 1972. He his currently tied for 10th with Greg Lewis (1982) on the school’s career list with 247 assists. Lyons Named Second-Team All-MWCJunior Michael Lyons was named to the all-Mountain West second-team on Monday. The league’s eight head coaches, along with a selected media panel, picked the all-conference teams.Lyons, who has appeared in 22 games and started 21 this year, finished the regular season No. 3 in scoring in the MW at 15.5 points per game and fifth in field-goal percentage (45.8%). He is the first Falcon to earn a spot on at least the second team since since Tim Anderson was a second-team selection in 2007-08. Falcons Shoot Season-Best From 3 Against CSUThe Falcons shot a season-best 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from 3-point range and tied their season-high with 13 three-pointers on Saturday against Colorado State. It was the best percentage from long range for Air Force since shooting 61.5 percent (8-of-13) against Utah on Jan. 19. 2006.Conversely, Colorado State was the first opponent this season to shoot better than 50 percent from 3-point range. The Rams shot 56.3 percent (9-of-16) on Saturday. It was the best percentage against the Falcons since BYU shot 60 percent (12-of-20) on Feb. 13, 2010. Broekhuis, Williams Each Pick Up First Career Double-DoubleJunior Taylor Broekhuis played arguably the best game of his career in the championship game of the All-Military Classic on Nov. 12 against VMI. The 6-10 center from Colorado Springs scored 18 points, two shy of his career high, and pulled down a career-best 12 rebounds to post the first double-double of his career. His 12 rebounds were the most by a Falcon in one game since Jacob Burtschi hauled down 12 at Stanford on Nov. 15, 2006. Broekhuis collected his second career double-double on Jan. 14 at Boise State with 15 points and 10 boards.Kamryn Williams posted his first career double-double on Jan. 9 against Texas-Pan American with 11 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end. His seven offensive rebounds were the most by a Falcon in one game since Burtschi had seven vs. IPFW on Dec. 31, 2005. Lyons in Search of 1,000 PointsJunior Michael Lyons is on track to become the 23rd player in Air Force history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Lyons, who has appeared in 84 career games, has 980 career points and is 24th on the school’s career scoring list. The last Falcon to join the 1,000-point club was Matt McCraw in 2007. The last junior to join the club was Otis Jones in 1994. Jones is No. 2 on the school’s career list with 2,003 points. Fitzgerald No. 8 on AFA’s Career 3-Point Percentage ListJunior Mike Fitzgerald attempted his 150th career 3-pointer on Jan. 3 against Johnson & Wales, making him eligible for Air Force’s career list for three-point percentage. Fitzgerald is shooting 39.3 percent (81-for-206) for his career, placing him No. 8 on the list. 60 Points Seems to be the KeyAir Force is 9-8 this season when it scores 60 points or more and 4-7 when scoring less than 60. The four wins are against Wright St. (55-34), Eastern Michigan (42-37), Wyoming (58-53) and SDSU (58-56).Defensively speaking, the Falcons are 10-2 when allowing less than 60 points and 3-13 when allowing 60 or more. Still a Solid Record at CluneIncluding their 10-7 record this season, the Falcons have been hard to beat at Clune Arena the last eight seasons. Since the beginning of the 2003-04 season, Air Force has won 105 of its 142 home games, good for a .739 winning percentage. In addition, the Falcons have won 41 of their 71 Mountain West games at Clune during that same stretch (.563 pct). No Offensive Boards, Not a ProblemAir Force had zero offensive rebounds against Wyoming on Feb. 15, the first time that happened since Feb. 15, 2003. Interestingly, Air Force won that game as well, 80-75 over Colorado State. In fact, Air Force had just three offensive boards the next game against San Diego State and had zero second chance points combined in those two games. Most Assists in Over a DecadeAir Force recorded 25 assists in the season-opener against Army, the most in one game by an AFA team since dishing out 25 against Long Beach State on Nov. 21, 2000. The Falcons added 20 assists the next day against VMI.Air Force recorded 22 assists on 23 field goals Saturday against Colorado State, the most against a Mountain West team and the fifth time this season with more than 20 assists. Lyons’ Three Straight 20-Point Games, First Time Since ‘97-98With his 27-point performance against #13 San Diego State on Feb. 18, Michael Lyons became the first Air Force player to score at least 20 points in three consecutive games since Jarmica Reese during the 1997-98 campaign. Lyons scored 24 points against Boise State on Feb. 11 and Wyoming on Feb. 15.In addition, Lyons’ 75 points in those three games are the most by a Falcon in that span since Ty Wright scored 78 in three games towards the end of the 1998-99 season. Carter Ties School Record for Steals in First Career GameFive freshmen saw action for Air Force during the opening weekend, but none had a better start than Chris Carter. The 6-3 guard from Port St. Lucie, Fla., had nine points, seven rebounds and seven steals in his first career game against Army. His seven steals tied the school record for one game and were the most by a Falcon since Tim Anderson, the 2007-08 Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, had seven against San Diego State at the Mountain West Tournament on March 13, 2008.