Nov. 30, 2002
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Date: Sunday, Dec. 1, 1:00 p.m. CST
Site: Eblen Center (10,250), Cookeville, Tenn.
Radio: KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs
Notes: Air Force has won two games in a row, defeating Stetson at home, 72-43, on Nov. 26, then beating Arkansas State on the road, 57-52, on Nov. 29. Tennessee Tech defeated Cumberland University, 85-57, at home on Nov. 27.
Records: Each team is 2-1 this season.
Coaches: Air Force is coached by Joe Scott (Princeton, 1987), who is in his third season with the Falcons. He has a 18-41 record in his two-plus years at Air Force. Scott came to AFA from his alma mater, Princeton, where he was an assistant coach from 1993-2000.
Tennessee Tech is coached by Mike Sutton (East Carolina, 1978), who is in his first season with the Eagles. He took over for Jeff Lebo, who left to take the head coaching job at Tennessee-Chatanooga.
Series: The series is tied 1-1. Tennessee Tech defeated the Falcons, 64-44, at Clune Arena last season. AFA beat the Eagles, 88-68, in the first round of the Montana State Tournament on Dec. 28, 1996.
Scouting Tennessee Tech
Tennessee Tech is 2-1 after defeating Cumberland University, 85-57, at home on Nov. 27. The Eagles lost their season-opener at Cincinnati, 54-48, on Nov. 23, then beat Milligan College, 99-67, at home on Nov. 25.
Senior Damien Kinloch leads the team in scoring, averaging 13.7 points per game. He led the Eagles with 18 points and eight rebounds against Cumberland. He also paces the team by averaging 8.1 rebounds per game. Senior Greg Morgan follows with a 13-point per game average after scoring 10 points against Cumberland. Junior Cameron Crisp added 15 points against Cumberland and is averaging 12.1 points per contest. He leads the squad with 18 assists.
The Eagles advanced the the final eight of the NIT last season. They defeated Dayton (68-59) and Yale (80-61), before falling to the University of Memphis, 79-73, in the quarterfinals.
Tennessee Tech currently holds the second longest home court winning streak in Division I, with 31 consecutive victories at Eblen Center.
Last Year Against Tennessee Tech
The Falcons fell to 5-6 with a 64-44 loss to Tennessee Tech at Clune Arena last Saturday. The 44 points represented the lowest scoring output for Air Force during the 2001-02 season.
Tennessee Tech raced out to a early lead as Air Force made just one of its first eight field goal attempts. The Falcons fell behind 20-4 in the first 13 minutes of the game before mounting a 10-7 run to end the first half trailing 27-16. That tied the lowest total for points in a first half this year, matching the first half output against Fresno State on Dec. 1.
Air Force did not gain any ground in the second half, as TTU's Brent Jolly made two 3-pointers early in the stanza. Damien Kinloch led the Eagles with 17 points. Jolly and Jason Harrell added 11 points apiece.
Senior Lamoni Yazzie led the Falcons with 11 points, followed by freshman David Peterson with a career-high nine points. Tom Bellairs pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.
Air Force has now made a 3-point shot in 300 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.
Kuhle's Hot Streak Ends
Junior A.J. Kuhle had his string of consecutive games with a three-pointer made halted at 17 against Arkansas State. He attempted just one trey in the game. He made a three-pointer in each of Air Force's final 15 games last season, and the first two games this year.
Kuhle also played 40 minutes for the first time in a game this season. He averaged 40.1 minutes per game in conference games last year, and played every minute of the team's final eight games.
Big Monday Matchup
For the first time since Feb. 1, 1992, Air Force will host a nationally televised game when ESPN shows the AFA-Wyoming game on Monday, Feb. 17 as part of its "Big Monday" tripleheader. Tip-off is scheduled for 10:00 p.m.
The Falcons have three other games on television this season, two on SportsWest (March 1 vs. BYU and March 8 vs. New Mexico) and one on ESPN-Plus (Feb. 15 vs. Colorado State).
st Time Out
Air Force 57, Arkansas State 52
Nov. 29, 2002 at Jonesboro, Ark.
Joel Gerlach scored 24 points and Tim Keller added a career-high 19 for Air Force as the Falcons defeated Arkansas State in men's basketball, 57-52, Friday night.
Gerlach, a sophomore forward from Littleton, Colo., hit 7-of-12 shots from the field and 8-of-10 free throw attempts to help the Falcons (2-1) claim their second straight win of the season. Paris London led ASU with 13 points on the night.
The Indians led as late as 2:26 left to play in the game, when London hit the tail-end of a pair of free throws to give the Tribe a 50-49 advantage. But that is when Tom Bellairs, plagued all evening with foul trouble, re-entered the game with four fouls after sitting for 14 minutes hit a five-footer to give the Falcons the lead for good.
"The key play of the game was when Timmy Keller got a pass on the right side and Tommy Bellairs cut back door right down the middle, and Keller caught it and zipped it to him and it was 50-49 at that time,"said Air Force head coach Joe Scott. "That gave us a one point lead."
But despite the outcome of that play, Gerlach was the man for the Falcons on this night.
With the Falcons trailing 44-39 with 7:43 left in the game, Gerlach was fouled by ASU's Lucious Lenear. Gerlach nailed both attempts, then blocked a shot on ASU's next possession and then scored the next six points for the Falcons to help out the sputtering offense.
For the Indians (1-2), London led the way in scoring, with 13 points, but hit just 4-of-13 shot attempts on the night. The Indians got outrebounded in the game as well, mainly due to Kim Adams being in foul trouble all evening. Odie Williams, starting for the first time this season, dropped in 12 points for the Indians.
Notes from Arkansas State Game
-- Sophomore Tim Keller scored a career-high 19 points on 4-of-8 shooting from the field, including 3-of-6 from three-point range, and was perfect on all eight of his free throws ... He also tied his career-high with four assists
-- Joel Gerlach scored a season-high 24 points ... He made 7-of-12 shots from the field and 8-of-10 free throws
-- Gerlach and Keller combined for 43 of Air Force's 57 points ... They had 25 of the team's 26 points at halftime (Gerlach 15, Keller 10) ... David Peterson had AFA's only other point at the break
-- For the second consecutive game, the Falcons had 10 or fewer turnovers
-- Sophomore backup center David Peterson played a career-high 27 minutes, and tied his career-best with four rebounds
-- Air Force outrebounded an opponent for the first time this season, and for the first time in its last 13 games, dating back to Jan. 21 at home against BYU (27-23) ... The Falcons outrebounded their opponent just three times last season
The Falcons host Texas-Pan American on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7:05 p.m., before traveling to Statesboro, Ga., for a game against Georgia Southern on Sunday, Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. EST.
Bellairs Reaches Milestone
Tom Bellairs became the 12th player in school history with 500 points and 500 rebounds in a career last season. He has 764 career points and 587 rebounds. Bellairs is 32nd on the school's career scoring list and seventh in career rebounds. Bellairs posted the 11th and 12th double-doubles of his career during the 2001-02 campaign. He leads all current Falcons in career points and rebounds.
This season marks the 47th of varsity basketball for Air Force. This is Air Force's fourth season in the Mountain West Conference. AFA was a member of the Western Athletic Conference for 19 years before joining the MWC in 1999.