Pierce Hornung and Colton Iverson should both graduate from Colorado State later this year, and Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich may be in attendance.
“I may go up there just to make sure those guys leave,” Pilipovich said.
It's no wonder, as there may not be a better forward/center combo in the nation.
Hornung had a dream stat-line Saturday: 13 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, zero turnovers.
“He’s the energizer bunny,” Pilipovich said. “He just goes and gets it.”
Iverson played just 24 minutes because of foul trouble, but he scored 15 points with five rebounds, a blocked shot and made 6-of-6 from the field.
“Their parents fed them well when they were children, that’s for sure,” Air Force guard Todd Fletcher said. “I’m a little mad at my parents. They’re a great duo, that’s for sure. Shoot, it’s just difficult playing them.”
The inside presence helped the Rams to an 18-4 advantage in second-chance points and a 39-23 edge in rebounding. They also attempted 22 more free throws.
“We always rebound wherever we go,” Hornung said. “When you do those things you put yourself in a good position to win.”
The blue and the green
Air Force announced attendance at 5,826. The game was sold out but not filled to capacity as there were several no-shows.
The crowd largely carried a pro-Air Force bias, but there were plenty of times that the Colorado State fans were every bit as vocal.
“Their fans were nuts, as always,” said Hornung, who was right next to the cadets in Section 8 while on the Rams’ bench. “Credit our fans, they came out and did a great job. They were loud and we did a good job of not letting the environment affect our game.”
Lyons said the crowd helped energize him during a 45-point performance, at least when he noticed it.
“I kind of tune everything out except what’s on the court,” he said. “I know I saw too much green.”
Air Force’s task of combating CSU’s size was complicated when Taylor Broekhuis suffered a sprained toe when Iverson stepped on it midway through the first half.
Broekhuis returned, but played just 17 minutes and was limited in what he could do, particularly on offense. Air Force hoped to have Broekhuis drive the ball on Iverson a few times to wear him down and potentially draw some fouls.
The injury changed that plan as Broekhuis couldn’t push off that foot.
The teams combined to start nine seniors, and that doesn’t count Air Force’s Kyle Green, who played 20 minutes off the bench.
Seniors scored 152 of the 175 points, and are a major reason both programs are as good as they’ve been in years.
“When you have experience that can take a team a long way,” Air Force’s Michael Lyons said.