Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich was disappointed at halftime, even though he led by 10 points. He demanded that his Falcons improve, and they responded.
The Falcons rolled to a 102-68 demolition of Western State at Clune Arena, outscoring the Mountaineers 55-31 in the second half after a sluggish start Thursday. Air Force is 3-0. Western State is 0-2.
After the game, everyone was happy. It was the first time Air Force had broken 100 points since a 111-88 win over Denver in 1999.
At halftime, Pilipovich was not happy. In the locker room, Pilipovich acted as if the Falcons were trailing by 10 instead of leading by 10. He, in essence, took 20 points away from his players.
“We gave up too many points,” Pilipovich said. “I didn’t think we were committed defensively. We’ve got to be better defensively.”
The Falcons responded with a 41-24 run in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Taylor Broekhuis, who played at Colorado Springs Christian School, led the Falcons with 23 points, a career high. Broekhuis dropped 8-of-12 shots, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range.
Broekhuis is a sleek 6-foot-10, 220 pounds, and he was defended for most of the night by Western’s rumbling Charles Joseph, who carries a 6-foot-8, 300-pound (at least) frame. Broekhuis used quickness to conquer size.
Freshman Cameron Michael was impressed with the offensive show by Broekhuis.
“When he’s scoring in the paint and knocking down the 3s, he’s nearly impossible to guard,” Michael said.
Michael caused considerable trouble for Western, too. He followed Broekhuis with 18 points while sinking 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
“He can shoot the basketball,” Pilipovich said, “and he has no fear.”
Michael has an unorthodox shooting style, which features a release from a lower point than most shooters. Pilipovich laughed and indicated he has no plans to alter Michael’s shot.
“I feel when you put in the work, you shouldn’t have any fear to shoot the ball,” Michael said.
Michael Lyons, who led the Falcons in scoring in wins over Army and The Citadel, scored 15 points. He’s averaging 22.3 points this season.
Pilipovich happy with Earls
DeLovell Earls, who played at Colorado Springs School, delivered the assist of the night, finding a cutting Max Von with a bounce pass midway through the second half. He later made a diving save of a loose ball.
As Earls departed the court, Pilipovich pulled him aside to offer thanks.
“I just love what he does,” Pilipovich said.
Joseph makes an impression
Western’s Joseph is one of the larger players in the college game. He scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dropped a few of the Falcons.
“I doubt he’s 300 pounds,” Pilipovich said. “He’s got to be little more. You see guys like that, they’re usually on the offensive line.”