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Emptying the notebook: Air Force basketball earns another shot at Colorado State

March 8, 2017 Updated: March 8, 2017 at 7:59 pm
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photo - Air Force players lift their arms at the conclusion of the Third Verse following a victory over Wyoming at the Mountain West Tournament on Wednesday in Las Vegas. (BRENT BRIGGEMAN, THE GAZETTE)
Air Force players lift their arms at the conclusion of the Third Verse following a victory over Wyoming at the Mountain West Tournament on Wednesday in Las Vegas. (BRENT BRIGGEMAN, THE GAZETTE) 

LAS VEGAS - Air Force will get a second shot at Colorado State after all.

By beating Wyoming 83-68, the Falcons will meet in the Mountain West Tournament quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The Falcons and Rams met just once during the regular-season, with Colorado State winning 85-58 for its 11th consecutive victory in the in-state rivalry.

“I haven’t beat them at the academy,” Falcons senior Hayden Graham said. “Everybody is going to be super excited about this game. And we’ll come out, try to do the same thing we did today and take care of business.”

Graham did not play in the first meeting, as he sat with hives.

Colorado State admitted to playing with extra emotion in the lone meeting this year, as it won at home to give coach Larry Eustachy his 400th career victory.

“He’s not going for 600 tomorrow, is he?” Air Force coach Dave Pilipovich jokingly asked. “We’re OK then.”

 

Free throw line success

Air Force’s top three scorers did exactly what you’d want them to do in an elimination – make their free throws. All of them.

Jacob Van (10 for 10), Hayden Graham (8 for 8) and Frank Toohey (6 for 6) paced the Falcons as they made 29-of-34 free throws. The performance at the line helped overcome 27 percent shooting in the second half, as they knocked down 19-of-22 free throws over the final 20 minutes.

“That wins games for you,” Graham said.

 

MWC Air Force Wyoming Basketball
Air Force's Jacob Van shoots during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Wyoming in the Mountain West Conference tournament Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in Las Vegas. Air Force defeated Wyoming 83-68. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken) 

Van’s Vegas ride continues

In the past three games in at the Thomas & Mack Center, Air Force junior Jacob Van has scored 37 points, 17 points and 18 points.

This was the first time, however, he helped the Falcons to a victory.

“I’ll take a win anytime,” he said. “It feels good to get a win. It feels good to get that confidence and really know we have the momentum now.”

Air Force’s game-opening 25-0 run

2-0, 19:18             Jumper, Lavelle Scottie

4-0, 18:41             Layup, Frank Toohey

7-0, 18:02             3-pointer, Toohey

9-0, 15:48             Jumper, Jacob Van

12-0, 15:15          3-pointer, Scottie

14-0, 14:10          Jumper, Hayden Graham

16-0, 13:54          Jumper, Van

17-0, 13:15          Free throw, Ryan Manning

20-0, 12:53          3-pointer, Graham

23-0, 12:23          3-pointer, Scottie

25-0, 11:43          Jumper, C.J. Siples

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