Falcons Fall To BYU in MWC Tournament
Terrell Lyday scored 25 points to lead second-seeded Brigham Young past seventh-seeded Air Force, 69-54, Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev.
It was a game of two very different halves. Air Force scoredthe first five points of the second half to take its biggest lead of the game,36-25, with 18:08 remaining. BYU then exploded for a 24-5 run over the nextnine minutes to take a 49-41 lead with 9:09 left to play. BYU went on to leadby as many as 16 points, 66-50, with under a minute to play.
Lyday keyed the run for BYU, scoring 14 of his 18 second half points. BYU hit 58.3 percent from the field in the half and finished the game with a 51.2 clip. The Cougars also hit six of seven from three-point range during the half and finished the game at 60.0 percent.
"My hats off to BYU," Air Force head coach Joe Scott said."They are experienced and have won a lot of games. They are stronger and tougher than us and that's something we need to improve on next year."
The first half was a much different story for Air Force. The Falcons hit 11 of 17 field goals (64.7 percent) and held the Cougars to just two field goals in the final 11:27 of the half on their way to a 31-25 halftime lead. The lead was just AFA's second against a MWC opponent this season. Air Force held BYU to just 41.2 percent shooting and MWC Player of the Year Mekeli Wesley was held to just five points. He had burned the Falcons for 25 just five days before.
"We played like we had in the last several games in the first 20 minutes, but the game's 40 minutes," Scott said. "We didn't come out in the second half with the same kind of intensity."
Wesley finished the game with 13 points and four rebounds.Trent Whiting, who was held to just two points in the game five days ago, added 17 points. Brigham Young improves to 22-8 overall with the win.
Air Force finished the game hitting 52.8 percent from the field, but just 42.1 percent in the second half. The Falcons also tied a season-low with just five three-pointers, including one in the second stanza.
Lamoni Yazzie scored 12 points to lead the Falcons. Tom Bellairs and Vernard Jenkins each chipped in with 11 points. Bellairs was the team's top rebounder with six.
The loss is Air Force's ninth straight in conference tournament play and first on a neutral floor this season. The Falcons end the season at 8-21 overall.
"Tomorrow it doesn't matter if you lost by one point of whatever," Scott
said. "People just know you lost. We improved throughout the season with the
basketball stuff. Next year we need to improve on winning and having a winning
mentality in every game."