Air Force (9-5) at Colorado State (13-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Moby Arena (8,745) -- Fort Collins, Colorado. Television: None. Home Record: Air Force 6-1, CSU 9-0. Away Record: Air Force 2-3, CSU 2-3. Neutral Record: Air Force 1-1, CSU 2-0. Conference Record: Air Force 1-1, CSU 0-1. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 68-31.
GAME NOTES: Two teams that are both coming off overtime defeats versus nationally-ranked Mountain West Conference programs get together on Wednesday night, as the Air Force Falcons face off against the Colorado State Rams in league action at Moby Arena.
Against 24th-ranked UNLV last Saturday, the Falcons tried to make it a sweep of Silver State foes, having defeated Nevada three days prior, but it just wasn't in the cards. Granted, Air Force did get the game into overtime at the Thomas & Mack Center, but in the end the Academy was handed a 76-71 setback. The loss was the third in the last four games for Air Force.
Meanwhile, the Rams were pitted against 16th-ranked San Diego State at Viejas Arena last Saturday and just like the Falcons, CSU was able to get the game into overtime before being sent packing in a 79-72 final. The defeat snapped a seven-game win streak for the Rams, but still the team owns a 22-game home win streak heading into action on Wednesday night.
This meeting marks the 100th in the all-time series between these two squads, with the Rams owning a 68-31 advantage. The Falcons are scheduled to host Colorado State a month from now.
Air Force was overmatched even before it hit the floor against the Runnin' Rebels because the hosts finally had Mike Moser back in the starting lineup, making the UNLV front line tough to stop. Nevertheless, the Falcons were able to get the game to overtime before taking the loss. Mike Fitzgerald led the AF offense with 22 points, followed by Michael Lyons who tallied 19 points and cleared a team-best seven rebounds, but as expected the Falcons were beaten on the glass by a 49-32 margin. DeLovell Earls contributed 10 points in the setback as well. Lyons continues to be the go-to guy on offense for the Falcons with his 18.4 ppg, his 5.0 rpg also leading the way for a group that, aside from the meeting with UNLV, has been holding its own against the competition on the glass for the most part. Taylor Broekhuis, shooting 56.3 percent from the floor, is second in both scoring (10.1 ppg) and rebounding (4.0 rpg) entering play this week.
Presumably, with just nine field goals in the first half and an 18-point deficit at the break, on the road against a nationally-ranked team, the Rams should have assumed a loss just from those facts, yet they made it to overtime before taking the hit. Colton Iverson stepped up with a double-double consisting of 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Daniel Bejarano had a double- double of his own off the bench with 13 points and 11 boards as well. Wes Eikmeier accounted for 22 points and Pierce Hornung seven points to go with 14 boards and four assists in 40 minutes of action. In a game that featured four ties and five lead changes, CSU posted a 54-38 rebounding edge, which makes sense since the squad is one of the top rebounding programs in the country with a margin of plus-14.1 rpg. Iverson (14.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg) and Hornung (9.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg) are both on the cusp of averaging a double-double as the team also outscores opponents by 14.0 ppg.
After battling through tough losses, both of these teams might be due for a let down, but assume that the Rams will exert their strength on the glass where they have been so dominant and Air Force has historically been lacking.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado State 71, Air Force 64
01/16 10:34:49 ET