Falcons forward/center McLain has been solid of late

By: JAKE SCHALLER
December 17, 2009
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photo - Air Force forward/center Mike McLain looked to put up a shot against Dickinson State on Nov. 20 at Clune Arena. Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Air Force forward/center Mike McLain looked to put up a shot against Dickinson State on Nov. 20 at Clune Arena. Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS 

Air Force senior forward/center Mike McLain describes himself as “my biggest critic.”

So when he analyzes his performance in the Falcons’ last two games he finds fault in his 3-point shooting (1-for-5) and rebounding (just four total).

But that’s just nit-picking, as McLain has put together back-to-back solid games for the Falcons (5-3). He scored seven and a career-high 11 points, respectively, in the two games after not scoring more than six in any of Air Force’s first six games. And he recorded six assists against just one turnover in the two games after having six assists and 20 turnovers in Air Force’s previous six contests.

“I think the big thing is he’s playing under control, slowing down and letting the game come to him versus trying to do too much,” said coach Jeff Reynolds, whose team plays host to Northern Arizona at 7 p.m. Saturday at Clune Arena.

“My mindset going into games recently has been pretty simple – just be solid and not turn the ball over, and I think I’ve been doing a lot better job at that,” McLain said. “But I could still grab more rebounds, still make more 3s.”

McLain will need to grab more rebounds for a team missing its starting center (6-foot-11 sophomore Sammy Schafer) and leading rebounder (6-8 senior Grant Parker). After playing on the wing early in the season, the 6-8 McLain has started at center in recent games.

He also should start hitting more perimeter shots, as Reynolds said McLain is “a better shooter than what he’s putting up statistically.”

“I’m going to keep working on (shooting), and they’re going to start falling eventually,” McLain said.

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