Lyons has an incredible shooting game. A kid with me asked if he has pro potential. Maybe with the right team and a good D-League effort. He is so much better than Antoine Hood who had a good look.
We looked dead with a minute and a half to go and down 8, but even if CSU packed it down like Jim Arthur said in post game USAFA still made their shots to make it very interesting.
It sounded like a CSU home game down the stretch though. 40% of fans were for CSU in this crowd.
MWC still has bad refs, to our benefit today. Lyons travels 2 out of every 3 times he drives to the hoop. There was a sequence around 5-6 minutes of the 2nd half were they had every call wrong. Seemed to even out, but still bad news. After 13 years still the weakest part of the conference. Commish do something.
David met Goliath tonight in Clune Arena, and while David gave it his all he did not slay the giant. Air Force hosted CSU tonight in the second meeting of the season for the two teams, after CSU won the first by 39 points. Even though CSU won the initial matchup in a lopsided manner, they knew better than to take Air Force lightly and indeed the Falcons made it a game losing at the end by three points. Although the MWC scoreboard lead story is that of CSU's win, the headline act of the night was Air Force's Mike Lyons who had a career high 45 points tonight, second in the AF record books to Bob Beckel in 1959 (more on Lyons below).
A look at the numbers for the game:
AF FG 53%. 3pt 42%. FT 59% 7-12. Reb 22. Ast 19. Stl 7. Blk 2 TO 7. PF 24
CSU FG 55%. 3pt 35%. FT 76% 26-34* Reb 39 Ast 13. Stl 4. Blk 1. TO 11. PF 17
This game was a physical game from the tipoff with both teams attacking the lane and both teams battling inside on defense. Credit goes to the starting lineup of the #24 CSU Rams who are now 21-4/8-2 MWC on the season. All CSU starters were in double scoring figures in the final stats. This makes it difficult for an opposing teams defense to "pick their poison" on who or what to defend. CSU as a team is the leader in offensive rebounding in the NCAA at the current time and it showed tonight having a rebounding edge 39/11offensive to AF's 22/5. AF did their best to combat the rebounding duo of Iverson and Hornung, but they still combined for 21 rebounds, 16 of them by Hornung.
The Falcons worked hard on both ends of the court. Running their offense and looking to penetrate versus the bigger CSU team. It seemed to be effective but the Rams still denied the Falcons good looks inside throughout portions of the game resulting in AF taking 31 3pt shots making 13. But with all said and done, AF competed inside with CSU scoring 32pts in the paint as compared to 34 for CSU. The biggest scoring differences and concerns for AF were second chance points and points from the free throw line. Due to the significant number of offensive rebounds, the Rams ended up with a 18 to 4 advantage in second chance points. Likewise, CSU shot 22 more FTs than did AF making 26pts from the line.....and Air Force lost by three.
While the Rams seemed to be in control of the game as the clocked clicked down in the second half by countering the different AF runs, there were moments and opportunities for the Falcons. It was a three point game with more than three minutes to play, but CSU makes one, AF misses two then CSU hits a three. The Falcons also missed four FTs down the stretch in the last 1:38 which just might have made the difference. Fans on both teams appeared to question the officiating, but from this one spectator, the Falcons were not allowed to play as physical as the ranked Rams were without getting whistled. Still, the Falcons had their opportunity to win in their own hands.
Hats off to Mike Lyons who finished with 45 points on 17-25FG/6-13 3pt/5-8FTin 33 minutes of play. It did not feel like he monopolized the ball at all, just one of those nights when he shot when it was there and they went in. In fact AF shot a total of 62FG (compared to 52 for CSU) with 37 attempts by Lyon's teammates. Todd Fletcher had 11Pts all in the second half on 4-8/3-5 3pt shooting plus 6 assists and no turnovers. Kam Williams solid again on 3-5 7pts shooting, 7 pts for Taylor Broekhuis who battled a foot injury all night and only play 17 minutes. The remaining Falcons were inconsistent shooting a combined 6-17 from the field, many on good looking shot opportunities.
While there are no moral victories, the Falcons did play tough and aggressive basketball for 40 minutes vs the #24 team in the nation. As with their loss to ranked Wichita State (also by 3 pts) at Clune Arena they know they can play with anyone. As Coach Pilpovich said in post game remarks, the team just needs to learn to do 'one more thing...one more offensive rebound...one more made shot...one more stop to get over the hump to secure a victory against this type of competition.
Notes: 14 points off the bench for AF in a good showing as compared to only 4 points off the bench for CSU. A shout out to Fitz's Grandpa Joe who closely follows Mike and the Falcons. And an equally or bigger shout out to the Cadet Wing and Section 8. Great attendance, great emotion, great noise. It was Section 8's energy that helped keep the Falcons playing to win. Thanks from all us 'older fans' and we cannot wait to see and hear you at the next home game vs Wyoming.
The MWC is now stacked up in thirds with the top two, the middle and the bottom. Current standings with Air Force in a three-way tie for 3d (but having the tie breaker over SDSU)
CSU has a very good team, in my opinion a sleeper to make the Sweet 16 at the Dance. And I can’t emphasize the word team enough. They’ve got all the pieces: a genuine “big”, play excellent defense, they shoot free throw well , and they’ve got who I think is the best player in the league on both ends of the floor, Pierce Hornung. The Falcons have nothing to be a shamed of for losing to CSU yesterday.
However, the 8 point advantage that CSU built at half time on 14 to 0 second chance points and going 13-14 from the Free Throw line (to the Falcons 2-3) proved to be too much to overcome in the last 20 minutes. The Falcons got the CSU lead to 3 with three minutes to go, but like LTC said, Eikmeier made at 2 to push the lead to 5, and then he made a 3 with 1:35 to go that made the lead 8. Even though the Falcons missed 4 FTs on their next two possessions, they never quit, and kept fouling and making big shots, but never got inside the final margin of three points.
What else can you say about Mike Lyons? Monster game! That was even more points than Jimmer scored a couple of years age. The Fans at Clune saw something special yesterday.
However, the rest of the Team played well, too and battled to the end. Todd Fletcher had an outstanding game at point, scoring all 11 of his points in the last 6 minutes when the Team really needed them, and he had 0 turnovers in 32 minutes.
It was nice to see Section 8 out in force, and to see a full house at Clune. Maybe for the last two games of the year, we’ll have Clune full of blue, not green, shirts.
The Falcons are playing very good basketball. If anyone would have said that they would be 6-5 and tied for third at this point of the season, I think we’d all have said, yeah baby! Wouldn’t it be great to start a five game win streak against a tough BSU team at Taco Bell this Wednesday? Wednesday is a very big game for both clubs!
Our Falcons played their guts out against an excellent team that should do well in the NCAA tourney. Meanwhile, our Falcons are capable of doing very well in post-season play too. Our Seniors are showing some real guts and determination to have a memorable season before they leave for their military careers. We had our opportunities to win this game. With the score 80-72 with little time left, our Falcons still played to win. And we almost did. For in that span of the game, we scored 14 points while CSU managed only 9. As Coach P said afterwards, we didn't lose; we merely ran out of time. Kudos to both coaching staffs and the players who gave us fans a superb game of basketball. Who knows, maybe we'll get to play CSU again in the MWC tournament. That would be great!
I think you are both right. The crew of Bob Staffen, KC Ely, and John Stigliano, definitely called the game in favor of CSU in the first half (14 FTs for CSU to 3 for the Falcons). But the calls (good and bad) seemed to even out in the second half.
Falcon, I concur that Mike does travel a lot, but so does almost every guard in the conference. At least the "no call" in that case is consistent, though frustrating, in most games.
And Gino, you are right about Iverson. Every time he got the ball on the left side of the lane on the block, he would spin to his right and push off with his right forearm. Taylor needed to take a couple of flops while he was making that move, since after he had made that spacing, he was at the rim at point blank range. Maybe our guys need to watch how Iverson flopped when he hit the floor in the second half after being "held" by D. Earls. If D. can really hit like that and knock a 270 pound guy to the floor with his left arm, then the Falcon Football Team needs him in the secondary as a safety!
After watching the second half of the game on replay last night, Go Falcs was right, that the game does look different on TV than at court side. You don't see nearly as much of the holding or traveling that is going on if you are watching the game on TV.
But even with all of that, the Falcons had their chance to win the game with 1 minute to go if they made their free throws.
Great summary by all. Thanks. Don't comment much anymore but thought I'd mention the 3 minutes of play by Chase Kammerer. I think Mr. Iverson met his match during that small period that Chase played him. Iverson is not used to being pushed around and became overly frustrated. Good job Chase!!!! And..........kudos to the team for a gutty performance and to ML for his outstanding game. Keep the tank full and roll on!!!!
AAF an excellent overlooked point about the play of Chase K. He did what he was supposed to do by musceling their big. His play was encouraging. Just maybe we can get some more out of him as the season plays out.
You're right about Chase and his play yesterday. I particularly liked how he came on the court and pushed Hornung into Section 8 on his first trip down the floor. He was like Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh in Bull Durham when he wanted to "give him the heat and announce my presence with authority!" Chase (Nuke), you did just that!