GAME NOTES: Coming off a rather historic win, the Air Force Falcons now set their sights on the Fresno State Bulldogs as the two Mountain West Conference foes meet up at the Save Mart Center.
One of two MWC teams to start off the league slate with a pair of wins, Air Force pulled off the unthinkable on Saturday night as it not just defeated UNLV, 75-68, it did so on the road at the Thomas & Mack Center. The victory was the second in a row and the fifth in six tries overall for the Falcons, not to mention just their second in 22 chances at UNLV all-time.
As for the Bulldogs, they've been spinning out of control since their last win over a Division I program (Northern Arizona in overtime) back on Dec. 1. The squad does have another tally in the win column since then, but it came against UC Merced (104-43) a few days after Christmas. Last Saturday, the Bulldogs dropped to 0-2 in league play as they suffered their fifth setback in six games with an 86-79 loss at Boise State.
The Bulldogs lead the all-time series with the Falcons by a count of 10-5, posting a 56-41 win in the most recent meeting last March at home.
The teams will complete their season-series on Feb. 5 when Air Force hosts Fresno State at Clune Arena.
Tre' Coggins scored 20 points, leading four starters in double figures, as the Air Force Falcons stunned the UNLV Runnin' Rebels by seven points in Mountain West Conference play at the Thomas & Mack Center. Max Yon accounted for 13 points for the Falcons, followed by Marek Olesinski and Kamryn Williams with 11 points apiece, the latter clearing nine rebounds in the rare series road win.
Playing close to 35 minutes per game, Coggins leads the Falcons in scoring with 16.7 ppg, thanks in large part to his 43.2 percent accuracy behind the 3- point line, not to mention 81.3 percent effort at the free-throw line. Yon (13.5 ppg) and Olesinski (13.0 ppg) also supply a good portion of the offense for a group that is generating 73.7 ppg and is not being tossed around on the glass like has been the problem with the Falcons in past years.
The Bulldogs scored a hefty 54 points in the second half against Boise State over the weekend, but that was only after FSU was limited to a meager nine field goals and 25 points over the first 20 minutes of action. Tyler Johnson produced a team-best 22 points and eight rebounds, as well as five assists, followed by Marvelle Harris with 19 points, Cezar Guerrero and Allen Huddleston with 16 and 13 points, respectively.
On a team that is producing a healthy 75.5 ppg, Marvelle Harris is the leading scorer with his 16.8 ppg, and he is also one of the better players on the glass with 5.4 rpg. Guerrero checks in with 14.3 ppg and is by far the most unselfish performer with his 66 assists, helping to keep Tyler Johnson (13.0 ppg), Paul Watson (10.7 ppg) and Huddleston (10.1 ppg) on the right track as much as possible.
Now with a more reliable presence in the paint, the Falcons may not be as much of a pushover as in previous years. However, the euphoria of knocking off UNLV in a hostile environment will have surely worn off by tonight and that will knock Air Force down a few pegs.
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