March 12, 2014 Updated: March 12, 2014 at 10:44 pm
To stop Fresno State's perimeter-based attack, Air Force's defense kept throwing different looks at Fresno State.
The Falcons switched from straight man-to-man to a sagging man-to-man to a zone look, and did to with great results, holding the Bulldogs to 33.3 percent from the field.
The problem with all those different looks, however, is that it took the Falcons out of the positioning they are used to for rebounding.
Fresno State capitalized by grabbing 12 offensive rebounds and taking a 16-8 advantage in second-chance points - obviously a big factor in a two-point game.
Slow shooting starts put Fresno State in hole
Fresno State shot poorly to start each half on Wednesday, going 1 of 14 to start the game and 1 of 8 in the opening minutes of the second half.
"We really didn't do anything special," Air Force guard Max Yon said. "We had a lot more energy. Being on this stage, being here, really fueled us up. We played with a lot of juice, a lot of energy. I think that frustrated them a bit."
The slumps allowed Air Force to build a six-point advantage in the first half before the Bulldogs came back and led by three at halftime.
The Falcons then stormed to a 15-point lead in the second half before losing that one as well.
Rough day for Colorado
Air Force wasn't alone in blowing a large, late lead on Wednesday.
Just before the Falcons let a 15-point lead get away in the final six minutes, Colorado State was eliminated by Utah State in a game the Rams led by nine points in the final two minutes.
"One of the most unusual, uncanny chain of events that I've coached in 20-some-odd years as a head coach," Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy said after his loss.
The events grew even more unusual shortly thereafter.
Air Force had three players - DeLovell Earls, Justin Hammonds and Kamryn Williams - foul out. . Earls went 0-for-5 from the free-throw line, with four in the final 2:54. . The Falcons failed to reach 60 points in 11 of their final 13 games.