Wagner (8-3) vs. Air Force (6-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, December 29th, 9:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavey Center (4,700) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: None. Home Record: Wagner 4-1, Air Force 6-1. Away Record: Wagner 4-2, Air Force 0-2. Neutral Record: Wagner 0-0, Air Force 0-0. Conference Record: Wagner 1-1, Air Force 0-0. Series Record: Air Force leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Wagner Seahawks and the Air Force Falcons have made their way to Santa Clara, California to begin play in the Cable Car Classic
Wagner is off to an 8-3 start and has matched the single-season school record of seven non-conference victories, achieved during the 2005-2006 season. The Seahawks recently received their first-ever vote in the Top-25 poll after posting one of the most shocking upsets of the college basketball season to date. Last Friday, the club marched into Pittsburgh and defeated the nationally-ranked Panthers in a 59-54 final.
As for Air Force, it suffered a 70-60 loss to Gonzaga last Thursday which halted a three-game win streak. The Falcons are now 6-3 on the season and they are set to play their first neutral-site affair tonight.
Air Force won the only previous meeting between these two programs by a 70-58 final way back in 1983.
Against Pittsburgh on Friday, Wagner was a considerable underdog, but the club held a four-point lead at intermission after holding the Panthers to 34.8 percent shooting from the field in the first half. Over the final 20 minutes, the Seahawks did a tremendous job of guarding the perimeter, limiting Pitt to 1-of-10 success from three-point range. Wagner forced 18 turnovers in the affair and got 18 points from Latif Rivers. Kenneth Ortiz registered 12 points and seven assists, while Tyler Murray pitched in 10 points. The Seahawks are generating 73.4 ppg this season while holding opponents to 64.5 ppg on 40.2 percent shooting from the floor. Rivers is scoring 13.4 ppg to pace the club despite his 37.2 percent field goal efficiency, and Jonathon Williams is second with 13.2 ppg. Williams, who leads the club with 5.2 rpg, is shooting 52.4 percent overall, while Murray, a 50.5 percent shooter, rounds out a trio of double-digit scorers with 13.1 ppg.
The go-to guy at the offensive end of the court for Air Force has been Michael Lyons, as he provides 16.3 ppg on 50 percent shooting from the field. The only other double-digit scorer in the fold is Mike Fitzgerald, as he nets 10.7 ppg on 53.6 percent field goal efficiency. The Falcons are generating 66.9 ppg, a rather mediocre output, but they have shined at the defensive end by limiting foes to 58.4 ppg on 38.1 percent shooting from the floor. Todd Fletcher came through with 17 points for Air Force in the 10-point loss to Gonzaga, while Fitzgerald registered 14 points in that affair. Unfortunately, Lyons suffered an ankle injury just three minutes into the contest and will be out indefinitely. Without him, the Falcons still managed to shoot 52.4 percent from the field against the Zags, but deficits in both points from the foul line (20-10) and rebounding (30-20) led to the defeat.
Without Lyons, Air Force will have a tough time against Wagner, which enters with a world of confidence. Expect the Seahawks to score yet another victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wagner 70, Air Force 66
12/29 10:45:05 ET