GAME NOTES: Coming off their best shooting effort in several years, the Air Force Falcons get back to their Mountain West Conference schedule on Saturday night as they challenge the Wyoming Cowboys at Arena Auditorium in Laramie.
On Wednesday night, the Falcons were pitted against New Orleans at home in Clune Arena and used the opportunity to shoot a sizzling 64.3 percent from the field, en route to a 90-48 thrashing of the Privateers. The victory was the second straight for the Academy.
As for the Cowboys, they were just in action two nights ago against UNLV on the road at the Thomas & Mack Center where they were taken out by the Runnin' Rebels in a 62-50 final. The defeat was the second in the last three outings for a team that opened the campaign on a wildly successful 13-game win streak.
The Cowboys lead the all-time series with Air Force by a wide margin, 73-31. The Pokes are 36-12 on their home floor over the years, although it was the Falcons who won the most recent meeting last season in a 58-53 final in Laramie.
The Falcons spread the wealth during the onslaught against New Orleans, with a total of 11 players landing in the scoring column. Mike Fitzgerald accounted for 16 points, Todd Fletcher and Michael Lyons 14 apiece and Kamryn Williams 10 points in 17 minutes off the bench as the team not only made better than 64 percent from the field, it also connected on 10-of-18 attempts behind the 3- point line as well. Since scoring a mere 40 points in a 39-point loss against Colorado State on the road on Jan. 16, the Falcons have now scored at least 90 points in back-to-back outings, raising their overall average to 74.6 ppg in the process. Lyons is clearly the offensive leader for the group with his 18.6 ppg, while Fitzgerald accounts for another 10.2 ppg as the squad makes good on 40.1 percent beyond the arc and 48.5 percent from the floor right now.
For the 11th time this season, Larry Nance scored in double figures on Thursday night for the Cowboys with a team-best 16 points, but his effort was not enough to keep the Pokes from landing in the loss column yet again. While Nance connected on 7-of-10 shots from the floor for his points, Leonard Washington was limited to 4-of-13, including 2-of-8 behind the 3-point line, as he tallied his 13 points as the only other double-digit scorers. Washington also accounted for seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Currently the active scoring leader for the Cowboys with 14.3 ppg, Washington is also first on the glass (9.1 rpg) and has logged 38 of the unit's 69 rejections thus far. Nance steps up with 10.9 ppg and 7.2 rpg, but still this team is having a hard time moving forward without Luke Martinez (14.5 ppg) who has been suspended.
Considering how well the offense operated for the Falcons in the last game and the fact that Wyoming has lost a crucial piece of their starting lineup, this is certainly a game that Air Force can steal on the road.
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