Nov. 25, 2003
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Site: Alumni Hall (5,710), Annapolis, Md.
Radio: KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs
Recent Results: Air Force defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 63-40, in its season opener on Nov. 22 at Clune Arena. Navy lost to Belmont, 88-71, at home on Nov. 24. The Midshipmen lost their first game of the season, 73-40, to South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., on Nov. 21.
Records: Air Force is 1-0 this season. The Falcons were 12-16 overall and 3-11 in the Mountain West Conference last season. Navy is 0-2 this season after going 8-20 overall in 2002-03.
Coaches: Air Force is coached by Joe Scott (Princeton, 1987), who is in his fourth season with the Falcons. He has a 30-56 record in his tenure at Air Force. Scott came to AFA from his alma mater, Princeton, where he was an assistant coach from 1993-2000.
Navy is coached by Don DeVoe (Ohio State, 1964), who is in his 12th season at the school. He has a record of 179-140 at the school and is 507-368 in his 31st season asa collegiate coach. DeVoe has coached at Virginia Tech, Wyoming, Tennessee and Florida.
Series: The series is tied 11-all. Air Force defeated Navy, 56-43, at Clune Arena last season. The Falcons lost to Navy in Annapolis two seasons ago, 71-53. The Midshipmen have won three of the last four games in the series.
This season marks the 48th year of varsity basketball for Air Force. This is Air Force's fifth season in the Mountain West Conference. AFA was a member of the Western Athletic Conference for 19 years before joining the MWC in 1999.
Air Force is now 18-30 all-time in season openers. The Falcons are 14-8 at home and 4-22 on the road. Other than a victory over Yale in 2001-02 and the win in 2000-01 over Houston, AFA's only season opening road wins came in 1976 at Merchant Marine (68-56) and in 1983 at U.S. International (72-71). Joe Scott is 3-1 in his four season openers.
Nine Tourney Teams on Schedule
Nine of Air Force's 20 opponents received a bid to either the NCAA or NIT Tournament last season. Three Mountain West Conference teams made the NCAA field of 65, while three others played in the NIT. Here is a breakdown of this year's opponents in the 2002-03 tournaments.
NCAA -- Auburn, BYU, California, Colorado State, Utah, Wisc.-Milwaukee
NIT -- San Diego State, UNLV, Wyoming
Last Time Out
Air Force 63, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 40
Nov. 22, 2003 at Clune Arena
Joel Gerlach and Antoine Hood each scored 15 points Saturday to lead Air Force over Arkansas-Pine Bluff 63-40 in the Falcons' season-opener.
The 23-point margin of victory is the largest in a season-opening win against a Division I school in the 48-year history of Air Force basketball.
The Falcons (1-0) took a 15-5 lead on a 3-pointer by guard Tim Keller with 12:36 left in the first period, and never led by less than 10 points the rest of the way. Keller finished with 12 points.
The majority of Air Force's points came on driving lay-ups down the post or along the baseline. Gerlach made five of six field goals, while Hood made four of five.
Air Force made 52 percent of its field goals in the first half, while limiting Pine Bluff (0-1) to four of 20 from the field.
Leading 61-27 with 8:25 left, the Falcons emptied the bench, and played with five freshmen on the court for the final six minutes.
Notes from the Ark.-Pine Bluff Game
-- Junior David Peterson recorded the first start of his career
-- Junior Caleb Buchanan scored the first points of his career and finished with six points in a career-high 18 minutes of play
-- Junior Tim Keller has made 18 consecutive free throws after making all four free throws against UAPB
-- Freshman Dan Nwaelele had a game-high four assists in his first collegiate game
-- Senior Joel Gerlach started his 77th consecutive game
-- Senior A.J. Kuhle's 21 minutes played were the fewest in a game since playing 18 against Fresno Stateon Dec. 1, 2001, a span of 50 games
-- Senior Marcus Jenkins collected a career-high two rebounds in a career-best 10 minutes
-- Air Force posted its largest margin of victory in a season-opening game against a Division I team in school history
-- AFA's 33 rebounds are the most in one game during Joe Scott's tenure as head coach and the most since the Falcons grabbed 38 vs. UNLV on Feb. 26, 2000
Welch Ready To Go
Sophomore Nick Welch, who sat out Saturday's game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, has been cleared to practice following knee surgery two months ago. Welch averaged 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game last year as a freshman.
Last Year Against Navy
Air Force 56, Navy 43
Jan. 4, 2003 at Clune Arena
A.J. Kuhle scored 16 points and Air Force committed only five turnovers in a 56-43 victory over Navy at Clune Arena.
Tim Keller added 12 points for Air Force (8-4), which won its fifth straight home game. Kuhle also led the Falcons with a career-high seven assists.
The Falcons entered the game leading the nation in 3-point percentage (46.4) but hit only 5-of-19. They compensated by hitting 16-of-25 layups. Most of those layups came in the second half, when the Falcons shot 58 percent (11-of-19).
The hot shooting was needed because Navy outrebounded Air Force 37-23. Navy's Scott Long led all rebounders with 12. Center Tom Bellairs led Air Force with seven.
Mitch Moore had 12 points off the bench for Navy (4-9), the only Midshipman to score in double figures. Long added nine points to his 12 rebounds.
With the victory, Air Force broke a three-game winning streak by Navy in the series.
New Long Range Records
Air Force set a new school and Mountain West Conference record with 18 three-pointers against UT-Pan American on Dec. 5, 2002. The previous school record was 16 made against Doane College on Nov. 22, 1997. The previous MWC record of 17 was shared by Utah and Colorado State.
The 18 three-pointers tied for the fourth-most in one game for Division I last season. The Falcons also tied for No. 12 with 16 three-pointers made vs. Georgia Southern.
Air Force has now made a 3-point shot in 326 consecutive games. The last time the Falcons failed to make a three-pointer was Dec. 4, 1991 in a 57-51 victory over Adams State College.
The Falcons travel to Nashville, Tenn., for a game against Belmont on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 1 p.m. (CT).
Highest Computer Rankings Ever
Air Force's RPI ranking of 135, according to collegeRPI.com, on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2003 was the highest ever for a Falcon team. The team's final ranking of 158 last year is its best at the end of a season in the 10 years that college RPI has existed.
Keller Preseason All-MWC
Tim Keller was selected to the preseason All-Mountain West Conference team at the league's media day in Denver, Colo.
The Austin, Texas product earned third-team All-MWC honors last season after averaging 14.8 points per game. He led the MWC in three-point percentage (41.3 percent) and was second in the league in free throw percentage (conference games only) at 87.3 percent.
Keller became the second Air Force player to earn an All-MWC selection, as Jarvis Croff was a second-team pick in 2000.
2003-04 Preseason All-MWC
Tim Keller, Jr., G, Air Force
Rafael Araujo, Sr., C, BYU
Mark Bigelow, Sr., F, BYU
Matt Nelson, Jr., C, Colorado State
Tim Frost, Sr., F, Utah
Nick Jacobson, Sr., G, Utah
Tops in NCAA Stats
The Falcons finished the 2002-03 season ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 57.0 points per game. AFA finished the season ranked in the top 20 nationally in the following categories:
Category, #, Rank
Scoring Defense, 57.0, 1st
Turnovers per game, 11.4, 8th
Field-goal percentage, 48.1, 18th