AFA basketball: Three things to watch vs. Northern Arizona

December 17, 2009
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Three things to watch as the Air Force men's basketball team hosts Northern Arizona.

Michael Lyons wasn’t the only freshman guard to have a breakout performance in last Saturday’s 75-68 loss to Washington State. Fletcher, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Lee’s Summit, Mo., scored a career-high 13 points in a career-high 29 minutes against the Cougars after scoring five points total in the Falcons’ first seven games. Fletcher made 5-of-7 shots from the floor and both of his free throws and chipped in three rebounds, three assists (against just one turnover) and a steal. “It was nice to get to play a lot last Saturday, and I felt like I finally got to show what my game consists of,” Fletcher said.

Northern Arizona’s Cameron Jones and DeAngelo Jones (no relation) scored 17 points apiece in the Lumberjacks’ last victory – on Dec. 13 over UC Riverside. Cameron Jones, a 6-4 junior guard, was a second-team All-Big Sky selection and was named the Lumberjacks' most valuable player last season. He currently leads Northern Arizona in scoring with 15.6 points per game and ranks second on the team in assists (3.0 per game). Forward DeAngelo Jones, a 6-5 junior transfer, averages 8.8 points per game, fourth-best on the team.

Without both starting center Sammy Schafer (6-11) and starting forward Grant Parker (6-8) last Saturday against Washington State, the Falcons were outrebounded 36-24 and the Cougars held a 13-6 advantage in second-chance points. Air Force will not have Schafer on Saturday for the sixth straight game, and Parker is doubtful, so all the Falcons on the floor will have to make a concerted effort to crash the boards. Air Force is unbeaten when it outrebounds its opponent and 0-3 when its opponent grabs more rebounds.

Quote to note: “We’re all getting experience, so I think it will all just help in the long run once we get everyone back.” – Air Force freshman guard Todd Fletcher on the Falcons’ rash of injuries

Note to quote: Facing Northern Arizona should give Air Force a good read of how it will fare against teams in the top half of the Mountain West Conference. The Lumberjacks were stomped by San Diego State 89-48 on Nov. 28 and were blown out on Wednesday at New Mexico 96-57. Northern Arizona will play its fourth game against an MWC team on Sunday when it meets Colorado State in Fort Collins.

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