Colorado State (13-10) at Air Force (9-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 8, 4 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Clune Arena (5,858) -- USAFA, Colorado. Television: MWN. Home Record: CSU 12-4, Air Force 7-6. Away Record: CSU 1-6, Air Force 1-6. Neutral Record: CSU 0-0, Air Force 1-0. Conference Record: CSU 4-6, Air Force 3-7. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 71-31.
GAME NOTES: Air Force tries to bring an end to a five-game slide this afternoon, as the Falcons entertain the Colorado State Rams in Mountain West Conference action at Clune Arena.
Tied with both Utah State and Fresno State for eighth place in the MWC standings with a record of only 3-7, the Falcons have gone from posting a solid non-conference record to falling off the map for the most part. Since the upset win over UNLV in Nevada back in early January, the Falcons have dropped seven of eight decisions, the lone win coming against a woeful San Jose State program.
Earlier this week the Academy was thumped by Fresno State at home, 68-51, as it continued to play without leading scorer Tre Coggins (17.4 ppg) who remains suspended for disciplinary issues.
Meanwhile, the Rams are only slightly ahead of Air Force in the conference standings with four wins in 10 opportunities. The squad managed to bring an end to a three-game slide on Wednesday night with an unexpected 75-57 blowout win over UNLV at home in Fort Collins.
The start of this current losing streak for the Falcons began on Jan. 18 with a 74-68 setback at Colorado State, a decision that boosted the advantage for the Rams in the all-time series to 71-31.
Daniel Bejarano registered a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds, as he guided the Colorado State Rams to a convincing 18-point win over the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in Mountain West Conference action at Moby Arena three nights ago. Bejarano, who was benched after only three minutes of play in the last game for the Rams, handed out seven assists as the team made it back into the win column. Also scoring in double figures for CSU were Jon Octeus and Carlton Hurst with 11 points apiece, followed by JJ Avila with 10.
In conference games, Bejarano is leading the way on offense with 19.0 ppg, although it should be noted that his numbers took a hit after his last game when he was benched. Bejarano is also bringing down 7.5 rpg and has handed out a team-best 28 assists against the rest of the MWC. Avila is responsible for 14.4 ppg, 9.3 rpg and 26 dishes, making it easy to see which players carry the most weight for the Rams.
The Falcons buried themselves against Fresno State as they converted a grand total of just six field goals, on 26 attempts, in the first half, resulting in a mere 19 points at the break and a 10-point deficit. Air Force did turn it around somewhat in the second half with 57.1 percent shooting, but by then it was too little, too late. Marek Olesinski was the only player to reach double figures for the hosts, as he dropped in 17 points, adding a team-best eight rebounds as well.
If you take Coggins and his 18.6 ppg against league foes out of the mix, it is clear that the Falcons are in need of some support on offense right now. Granted, Max Yon (13.8 ppg), Olesinski (13.4 ppg) and Kamryn Williams (10.9 ppg) are trying to pick up the slack, but without Coggins it means they have lost a player who can create his own shot and cut to the basket with regularity.
The depleted Air Force roster may have improved on the glass this season, but if Coggins doesn't get reinstated it's possible that winning basketball has come to an end for the Falcons.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado State 71, Air Force 60
02/08 10:19:23 ET