The Falcons entered the game with the fifth-best free throw shooting percentage in the nation at 76.2 percent. However, they were just 1-of-4 in the first half. They finished the game just 6-of-14, which is 42.9 percent.
"You're not going to win big games if you don't make foul shots," Air Force coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Between free throws and not enough defensive rebounds, we dug ourselves a hole."
Tyler Hansbrough, Part 2
The game was stopped almost 10 minutes with 5:57 left to play in the first half after Air Force center Nick Welch took an elbow squarely on the nose from Trevor Booker.
The elbow, which was unintentional and had no foul accessed, opened up Welch's nose so much that it looked like someone was pouring red wine straight from the bottle onto the court.
After he left the court, the crew tried to mop up the pool of blood, but they didn't have enough towels. After retrieving some more from deep in the bowels of Madison Square Garden, it took another couple of minutes to get it all up.
It was taking so long that finally, Air Force forward Jacob Burtschi grabbed the broom with the towel wrapped around it and started sweeping it up, too, which drew a massive cheer from the crowd.
Welch came back in the second half and actually played and did so well. He scored 11 points in the second half. Booker said after the game that Welch told him that he was going to have to have surgery.
Odds and ends
Clemson ended the first half with two of its stars finding it difficult to score, with James Mays scoring four points and K.C. Rivers just three. They finished with six and 19 respectively. …
For the second straight game, the Tigers shot extremely well from beyond the arc, as they went 9-of-20 from 3-point range. For the game, they shot an incredible 59.1 percent from the field and still only won by one point. … As good as 3-point shooting has been, Clemson was awful again from the free throw line, making just 7-of-17 attempts.
NIT Notebook: Air Force Fails at Line
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