Nov. 14, 2005
SEATTLE (AP) - Antoine Hood scored seven of his game-high 22 points in the last three minutes and Dan Nwaelele drilled a pair of clutch free throws with one second left to rally Air Force, down by as 12 points down in the second half, to a 57-53 upset of Miami Monday night in the semifinals of the Black Coaches Association Classic.
Air Force (2-0) beat an ACC team for the first time in seven tries since the program began in 1956 to advance to Tuesday night's championship game against host Washington, a 87-54 winner over Wisconsin-Green Bay in Tuesday's earlier semifinal.
Miami (1-1), considered a contender for an NCAA tournament, if not the top of the ACC, falls into the third-place game against Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Hurricanes preseason All-ACC guard Guillermo Diaz scored 15 points for Miami but missed a desperate, deep three-point shot inside the final minute. Anthony King also had 15, including 11 in the second half that kept the Falcons at bay - but only briefly.
Air Force, returning three starters from an 18-12 team last season and debuting former Denver Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik, played its game: Slow tempo and three-point shots. The Falcons, who led the nation in scoring defense the last three seasons and held foes to an average of 54.3 points per game in 2004-05, took 25 three-pointers Monday.
They made only eight. But Hood was 4 for 6 from deep. His three-point basket from four steps behind the experimental 21-foot, six-inch arc with 2:07 left gave his team a 49-47 lead after it had trailed since the first minute of the game.
Center John Frye's basket underneath with 1:01 remaining pushed Air Force's edge to 51-47. Frye posted career-highs of eight points and six rebounds.
Air Force had trimmed an eight-point Hurricane lead to one late in the first half on a three-point play by Jacob Burtschi. But Diaz's rainbow three-pointer at the halftime buzzer pushed that lead back to six, 27-21.
That lead doubled at the 15:18 mark of the second half, when Denis Clemente nailed a three-point shot to put Miami up 35-23. But then Hood zoomed Air Force to the upset with 18 of his 22 points in the second half.