LIVE COVERAGE: Air Force scores first 25 points and blows past Wyoming in MW Tournament

March 8, 2017 Updated: March 8, 2017 at 4:35 pm
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Air Force head coach Dave Pilipovich calls a timeout with 12 seconds left after the Falcon forced a turnover down 87-85 during the second half at Clune Arena at Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. San Jose State won 89-85. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Scroll down for live tweets from Air Force's Mountain West Tournament game against Wyoming.


LAS VEGAS – Air Force scored the first 25 points and never let Wyoming back in the game, winning for the first time away from home this season when it mattered most.

The 10th-seeded Falcons finished off the No. 7 Cowboys 83-68 and will play No. 2 Colorado State at 7 p.m. Thursday as it will seek its first-ever semifinal appearance at the Mountain West Tournament.

This game wasn’t without its tension for Air Force. A lead that grew as large as 28 points in the first half dwindled to 16 points. Given the team’s implosion in losing a 13-point lead to Fresno State in this tournament three years ago, that was too close for comfort.

Air Force kept Wyoming at arm’s length by making 29-of-34 free throws, which helped it survive 27 percent shooting in the second half.

Jacob Van, who scored 37 points in his Mountain West Tournament debut last year, led Air Force with 18 points.

Wyoming’s first points didn’t come until the 11:23 mark in the first half.


Air Force scores first 25 points in stunning start vs. Wyoming at MW Tournament

LAS VEGAS – No. 10 Air Force spotted itself a 25-point head start and leads No. 7 Wyoming 48-27 at halftime at the Mountain West Tournament.

The Cowboys’ first points didn’t come until 8 minutes, 37 seconds into the game after Air Force had built a 25-0 advantage.

The lead grew to 28 points at several points for the Falcons, a stunning development for a team that is 3-17 all-time in this tournament and entered the game having lost 9 of 10.

The Falcons led 16-0 in points off turnovers at one point, hit 10-of-12 free throws and held Wyoming to 32 percent shooting while knocking down 53.5 percent of their shots.

Hayden Graham has 11 points for Air Force and Jacob Van has 10. Zach Kocur leads with six rebounds, as the Falcons lead Wyoming 19-14 on the glass.

Wyoming is 2-0 vs. Air Force this season, winning the games by a combined 21 points. Through 2 ½ games, the total score is now even.


Air Force coach's tenure won't end with MW Tournament

The big question surrounding Air Force’s basketball season has been answered.

“This will not be his last game,” someone close to the program said of coach Dave Pilipovich. “It will not.”

A second source later confirmed that Pilipovich will return.

It wasn’t revealed if Pilipovich has been offered an extension or if he’s given assurance that he’ll be brought back next season for the final year of his contract, but his tenure with not conclude with the run at the Mountain West Tournament. That event begins for the Falcons (11-20) with a 2:30 p.m. tip against Wyoming (18-13).

With that question seemingly answered, we can move onto other questions. Such as, will Air Force flip its lineup today and go with its younger players. And, is this the year the team finally finds some success in this event.

The Falcons are 3-17 all-time in the conference tournament. Today they face a Wyoming team that has defeated it twice this season by an average of 10.5 points.

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