Updated: December 2, 2009 at 12:00 am
Air Force didn’t get much scoring from anyone other than Grant Parker, Evan Washington and Taylor Stewart on Wednesday night.
But that was fine. Those three out-scored North Carolina Central by themselves.
Parker, Washington and Stewart combined for 56 of the injury-depleted Falcons’ points and 12 of their 17 assists to lead Air Force to a 61-49 victory in front of an announced crowd of 1,093 at Clune Arena.
“I think each of us got to the basket, and we got a couple shots to fall in the beginning,” said Parker, who had a game-high 24 points, marking the third time in five games this season he’s scored 24 or more. “Each of us, we got to the rim and got some buckets, and I think that just gave us some confidence to get into the lane and get some points.”
Perhaps more impressive than the trio’s 56 points was the economical manner in which it scored them.
Parker, Washington and Stewart combined to shoot 22-of-30 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, and 9-of-11 from the line. The rest of the Falcons shot 2-of-11 from the field (0-for-5 from 3-point range) and 1-of-3 from the line.
Washington scored a career-high 19 points, and Stewart, who made his first start of the season, chipped in with a season-high 13.
“It was really good to see Taylor Stewart give Evan and Grant some support in the scoring column,” Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said.
Stewart buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key on Air Force’s second possession and moments later took a pass from Washington and scored in transition to give the Falcons a 5-0 lead. Washington then scored 10 straight for the Falcons, and Parker followed with their next four to give Air Force a 19-6 advantage.
Air Force held a commanding 37-17 lead at the half and led 54-34 with 6:35 to play.
But Reynolds went to his bench — which was depleted with starting center Sammy Schafer, reserve center Taylor Broekhuis and reserve forward Tom Fow all out with injuries — and the Eagles went on a 13-3 run to cut the lead to 10.
“That was my fault,” Reynolds said. “I tried to play as many guys as I could. We had four freshmen in there at one point. … I thought for 30 minutes of the game we were in total control. But then I had too many substitutions.”