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Air Force (12-17) vs. Fresno State (16-15)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 12, 7:30 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas & Mack Center (18,500) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: MWN. Home Record: Air Force 8-9, FSU 11-5. Away Record: Air Force 3-8, FSU 5-9. Neutral Record: Air Force 1-0, FSU 0-1. Conference Record: Air Force 6-12, FSU 9-9. Series Record: Fresno State leads, 12-5.

GAME NOTES: Shooting for back-to-back wins for the first time in more than two months, the Air Force Falcons give it their best shot when they match up against the Fresno State Bulldogs in the opening round of the 15th annual Mountain West Conference Tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center.

As has become all too often the story for the Falcons, the 10th seed in this year's tournament, they performed well during the non-conference portion of the schedule but then struggled down the stretch. The team tallied just four wins since the second week of January and two of those were against San Jose State, a program which finished only 1-17 in conference.

Over the weekend, the Falcons did manage to snap a brief two-game slide with a 64-61 overtime victory versus Boise State, but still the team finished near the bottom of the league standings.

As for the seventh-seeded Bulldogs, they suffered through a stretch when they won only twice in 12 attempts, but they turned it around at the right time. Fresno State, which is one of the latest schools to join the MWC from the Western Athletic Conference, posted eight wins in the last 10 games of the regular season, generating positive momentum at just the right time.

The Bulldogs own a 12-5 advantage in the all-time series, sweeping the season series thanks to a 71-65 triumph at the Save Mart Center in California and a 68-51 blowout on the road at Clune Arena.

This is just the second year in this tournament for the Bulldogs, who lost in their first game a season ago. As for the Falcons, they've been here since it all began in 2000 and have a grand total of just two wins in 16 opportunities. Needless to say, Air Force has never come close to making it to the title game.

Whichever squad comes out on top this evening, it will have a quick turn- around as it goes up against second-seeded and nationally-ranked New Mexico in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.

Tre' Coggins was responsible for a team-best 15.9 ppg for the Falcons, knocking down a team-high 69 3-pointers, but you have to wonder how much better his numbers would have been had he not been suspended for disciplinary issues during one brief stretch. Despite being out of action for several games, Coggins was still recognized by the rest of the league as he found a spot on the All-MWC Third Team. Helping to carry some of the offensive load for Air Force was Max Yon with his 12.9 ppg, handing out a team-high 75 assists along the way. Providing the squad with some toughness along the front line were Marek Olesinski (10.7 ppg) and Kamryn Williams (10.3 ppg) as they combined to clear more than 11 rebounds per game.

Fresno State turned into one of the better offensive teams in the league once the squad put behind it some very shaky play, finishing with an average of 73.6 ppg. Tyler Johnson, a member of the All-MWC Second Team, led the way with 16.4 ppg, shooting 43.0 percent behind the 3-point line, not to mention pacing the group on the glass (7.4 rpg) and placing second with 85 assists. Marvelle Harris (15.1 ppg) also gave a strong effort on the glass with 5.6 rpg, but in the end the Bulldogs ranked last in the MWC with only 37.0 rpg allowed. Directing the FSU offense was Cezar Guerrero (13.2 ppg) with his 116 dishes, while Paul Watson (10.0 ppg) and Alex Davis tried to provide some support in the paint, but between the two they fouled out of 14 games. For his efforts, Watson was named the MWC Freshman of the Year.

The Bulldogs already have the book on how to shoot down the Falcons and when you add in the fact that historically, Air Force has had almost no success in this event, you can understand why FSU should be favored.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 67, Air Force 59

03/12 10:35:23 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
2nd
CHA 27
LAL 30
 
1st
GT 15
UNC 34
 
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
Final
DET 15
BAL 2
 
Final
MIA 7
MIAFLA 1
 
Final
PHI 5
NYY 5
 
Final
BOS 2
NEASTERN 1
 
Final
TOR 7
PIT 8
 
Final
CIN 10
CLE 0
 
Final
OAK 9
SFG 4
 
Final
BOS 1
BOSTONCOLL 0
 
8th
ARI 2
ASU 0
 
1st
CLE 27
BOS 16
 
2nd
CHA 27
LAL 30
 
1st
NYK 13
SAC 20
 
7:30pm Tonight
ATL
HOU
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
UTA
8:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
MIL
1st
UMO 15
AKR 13
 
1st
NAVY 18
ARMY 17
 
1st
BST 15
EMICH 24
 
1st
BUT 20
GEOR 18
 
1st
IND 19
IOWA 19
 
1st
FLGC 21
JVU 19
 
1st
USCU 23
KNST 10
 
1st
BGU 21
KSU 18
 
1st
NKENTUCKY 16
LIP 16
 
1st
HC 9
GHND 4
 
1st
RUTG 18
MD 21
 
1st
GT 15
UNC 34
 
1st
BUF 31
OHIO 25
 
1st
ALA 22
MISS 22
 
1st
DAY 20
RIU 20
 
1st
CMICH 19
TOL 24
 
1st
DET 19
YOUNG 22
 
7:30pm Tonight
UNF
STET
 
8:00pm Tonight
ABCHRIST
HOUB
 
8:00pm Tonight
NDAK
NEOM
 
8:00pm Tonight
NILL
WMICH
 
8:00pm Tonight
ILLCH
WRST
9:00pm Tonight
MIZZ
AUB
9:00pm Tonight
UGA
KENT
9:00pm Tonight
NW
MICH
9:00pm Tonight
CLEM
NCSU
9:00pm Tonight
UF
TEXAM
9:00pm Tonight
KU
WVU
9:15pm Tonight
CREI
VILL
1st
PHI 0
CAL 1
 
1st
NJD 2
NAS 0
 
1st
CLB 0
WAS 1
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
BUF
7:30pm Tonight
FLA
TOR
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
OTT
8:30pm Tonight
DAL
NYI
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
ANA
9:30pm Tonight
EDM
LOS
10:00pm Tonight
VAN
SJS