Air Force (9-9) at Boise State (14-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 29, 9:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Taco Bell Arena (12,480) -- Boise, Idaho. Television: ROOT-RM. Home Record: Air Force 7-5, BSU 9-2. Away Record: Air Force 1-4, BSU 3-3. Neutral Record: Air Force 1-0, BSU 2-1. Conference Record: Air Force 3-4, BSU 4-3. Series Record: Boise State leads, 3-2.
GAME NOTES: The Air Force Falcons aim for just their second true road win of the season tonight, as they tangle with the Boise State Broncos in Mountain West Conference action at Taco Bell Arena.
For Air Force, which registered a stunning victory at UNLV earlier this month, the team has been heading in the wrong direction since that upset. The squad has dropped two straight and four of the last five, the latest setback being a 66-59 defeat versus Wyoming a week ago. The Academy is now just 3-4 in league play.
Meanwhile, the Broncos seem to have regained their footing after opening the MWC schedule with two defeats in three tries. On Saturday, the squad took down visiting San Jose State in convincing fashion with a 76-55 decision, the third win in four opportunities for BSU.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Broncos are ahead by a count of 3-2. The home team won each meeting a season ago.
In addition to getting only two points from the bench, the Falcons also turned the ball over 16 times, which Wyoming converted into 22 points during the seven-point decision last week. Kamryn Williams led Air Force with 17 points, connecting on 3-of-4 behind the 3-point line, followed by Tre Coggin with 15 points as he dropped in three of his seven chances out on the perimeter. Justin Hammonds chipped in with 13 points and seven rebounds, but at the same time suffered five miscues.
In seven conference bouts, the Falcons are putting up 69.9 ppg as a group, but at the same time permitting 70.3 ppg as opponents head to the free-throw line an average of 24 times per outing. On offense, it is Coggins who leads the way with 18.6 ppg, converting an impressive 45.7 percent of his 3-point tries. Max Yon posts 14.4 ppg and Williams 12.0 ppg, the latter pulling in 7.1 rpg which gives the group an end of 2.4 rpg which is rather extraordinary given the program's weakness in that area for the last several years.
Like so many opponents that have clashed with San Jose State this season, the Broncos had little trouble putting the Spartans away, leading from the very start and building a lead as great as 24 points in the second half. Ryan Watkins had another massive game in the paint with 18 points and 16 rebounds, just days after putting up 15 and 22 versus New Mexico on the road. Derrick Marks accounted for 19 points, Mikey Thompson 11 and Anthony Drmic 10 points and six boards in the victory.
Against the rest of the MWC, Watkins has been punishing foes in the paint, scoring 14.0 ppg and capturing 14.4 rpg. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of his effort on the glass is the fact that Watkins has 44 offensive rebounds which in itself is more than any of his teammates has total at this stage of the schedule. Marks checks in with 15.6 ppg and Drmic 14.6 ppg, combining for another 9.7 rpg to help provide the group with a rebounding margin of 9.7 rpg.
Opponents are no longer crushing Air Force on the glass, but with Watkins the Broncos may have more than they need to put the Falcons in their place.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boise State 75, Air Force 67
01/29 10:35:43 ET