Nevada (12-15) at Air Force (10-14)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 22, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Clune Arena (5,858) -- USAFA, Colorado. Television: NevadaWolfPack.tv. Home Record: Nevada 6-7, Air Force 7-7. Away Record: Nevada 6-6, Air Force 2-7. Neutral Record: Nevada 0-2, Air Force 1-0. Conference Record: Nevada 7-7, Air Force 4-9. Series Record: Nevada leads, 2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Air Force Falcons try to climb above .500 at home this afternoon, as they welcome the Nevada Wolf Pack to Clune Arena for a Mountain West Conference battle.
Air Force, which is just 1-7 in the last eight outings, is currently 7-7 at Clune Arena in 2013-14 but hasn't won there in over a month. The Academy has had a full week to prepare for today's outing, after coming up short against fifth-ranked San Diego State on the road, 64-56. With the setback the team fell to 4-9 in league play, and that has the Falcons next-to-last in the standings.
As for the Wolf Pack, they have simply hit the skids even though they have split 14 MWC bouts. Earlier this week, the team hosted San Jose State and became the first league foe to bow to the Spartans, 66-64. The loss was the fifth in a row for the program
Nevada leads the all-time series by a 2-1 count after slipping by Air Force in overtime during the first meeting of the season earlier this month at home.
Against a team that had not won in about two months and had yet to capture a single MWC victory, the Wolf Pack figured to have the advantage both in terms of player talent and venue, but in the end it wasn't enough. Deonte Burton and Cole Huff both dropped in 14 points, followed by Michael Perez and Jerry Evans Jr with 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Pack as the group shot just 33.9 percent from the field and 5-of-21 behind the 3-point line.
A starter in all 125 games he has suited up for Nevada in his career, Burton's average this season has dipped to 19.9 ppg as he shoots only 31.9 percent behind the 3-point line. The guard does do more than score however, contributing with 4.2 rpg and 4.1 apg, but clearly he and the rest of the Nevada players are not giving it enough effort to get over the hump in the last few weeks.
After losing by 12 at home to Colorado State a week earlier and barely getting by San Jose State by three points on the road, the Falcons figured to have their hands full against San Diego State, yet still made things interesting in the hard-fought battle. Max Yon led all scorers with 20 points, Kamryn Williams posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds and DeLovell Earls delivered 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists off the bench. Had leading scorer Tre' Coggins done better than a mere 2-of-14 shooting from the floor, 0-of-9 beyond the arc, the outcome could have easily been more favorable.
Nevertheless, in conference play this season the Falcons are being paced by Coggins with his 16.1 ppg, even as his perimeter accuracy begins to dip at 36.6 percent. Yon is now up to 13.8 ppg, followed by Marek Olesinski and Williams with 11.9 and 11.5 ppg, respectively, the latter also clearing 6.9 rpg, which means the Falcons are far from being crushed on the glass as is typically the case as seasons wear on.
Nevada has been simply falling apart and no matter how much you think Burton and Evans will be able to battle back and pull the Pack through, it is just not happening right now. While the wins have been hard to come by for the Falcons as well, what should be noted is that Air Force just doesn't roll over and die against the competition.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Air Force 66, Nevada 61
02/22 10:59:18 ET