Ryan Manning's wandering shot seems to have found its way home.
The Air Force junior, who led the team in scoring in nonconference games, snapped a two-month stretch without a 3-pointer in Saturday’s victory over New Mexico when he hit a pair. He followed that with three first-half 3s against UNLV on Wednesday at a time when the Falcons desperately needed offense. He scored 11 points in 8 minutes in the first half.
The Falcons started 1 of 8 from the field and trailed by 15 midway through the first half before Manning brought instant offense off the bench. His contributions lifted Air Force off the canvas and opened the door for a competitive second half that saw the Falcons close to within one point several times before falling 81-73.
“Ryan’s been the ultimate professional,” coach Dave Pilipovich said of Manning last week. “Obviously his minutes have gone down, he was a starter and everything. But Ryan’s such a class kid and competitor and it comes from his family.”
Manning’s father, Rich, played in the NBA.
Air Force sends ‘Vegas Strong’ message
Air Force players wore shirts in the pregame with the words, “VEGAS STRONG” to show support for UNLV and the Las Vegas community after the Oct. 1 concert shooting from a room in the Mandalay Bay that claimed 58 lives.
In a sad turn, the crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center was asked to observe a moment of silence before the game following yet another massacre, this one occurring at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Wednesday.
UNLV’s 7-foot freshman Brandon McCoy, a potential NBA lottery pick, was better in his second turn against Air Force. In the first meeting at Clune Arena, McCoy had eight points and five rebounds before fouling out. On Wednesday he had 10 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks. … Air Force’s first free-throw attempts of the game came with 19:02 remaining in the game when Lavelle Scottie drew a foul and made 1 of 2 from the line.