Updated: January 22, 2010 at 12:00 am
AIR FORCE at UTAH
3 THINGS TO WATCH
1. AIR FORCE’S ROTATION
The Falcons again will be without senior leading scorer Grant Parker (pelvic injury), sophomore center Sammy Schafer (concussion) and sophomore guard/forward Taylor Stewart (wrist). Freshman forward/center Taylor Broekhuis is expected to play despite not practicing on Thursday because of lingering leg and hip injuries. Freshman guard Michael Lyons, who has started the last six games, is questionable with a strained medial collateral ligament.
2. UTAH C DAVID FOSTER
The Utes lost 7-foot-2 center Luke Nevill to graduation but have replaced him with the 7-3 Foster, a sophomore who just returned from a two-year LDS mission. Foster leads the conference in blocks with 4.3 per game (the players tied for second average 1.4) and provides an intimidating presence inside with a wingspan of 7-8. “He’s a better pro prospect in a lot of ways than Luke Nevill because he can really move his feet,” Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds. “He doesn’t have Luke’s strength, but he’s a little longer and he’s good around the basket with either hand.”
3. AIR FORCE’S SHOOTING
In their last three halves – the second half against BYU and Wednesday’s game against New Mexico – the Falcons have made 23-of-77 shots from the field (29.9 percent), including just 6-of-40 (15.0 percent) from 3-point range. Against New Mexico, junior Evan Washington made 2-of-3 3-pointers and the rest of the team went 1-of-21. Air Force will have to make some 3-pointers to spread out the Utah defense.
Quote to Note: “Their size really concerns me, their rebounding. We’ve got to do a really good job on the defensive boards – better than we did against New Mexico.” –Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds.
Note to Quote: Air Force has lost 20 straight Mountain West Conference regular season games and has not won a league game on an opponent’s home floor since Feb. 23, 2008 at Colorado State. It has lost three straight at Utah’s Huntsman Center, the last two by 22 and 15 points, respectively.