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Gazette Premium Content One last chance for Air Force to find the missing Clune magic

By Brent Briggeman Updated: March 7, 2014 at 8:01 pm

If nothing else, the Air Force basketball team has generally been able to rely upon two things - shooting the 3 and an extra boost on its home floor.

In the team's current 2-10 skid, neither has been there.

Air Force is shooting 28.1 percent from 3-point range in this stretch (after shooting 38.1 percent in the first 16 games) and has lost its past five home games. Only one of those home losses was by single digits, and in the past two the Falcons have never held a lead.

This is a team that last year went 7-1 in league games at home. It was an environment that was clearly agreeable to that senior-laden group and one that hasn't yet suited this crop.

The shooting, of course, is a whole other story; and one that hasn't gone away.

"It's a slump," guard Tre' Coggins said. "It's just strange for a whole team to go through it at the same time."

Taking away Air Force's two biggest strengths has left it to rely on rebounding, defense and luck. That was enough for road wins against San Jose State and a reeling Wyoming team, but it hasn't come close against anybody else. It's like asking Clayton Kershaw to win a game without his fastball OR curveball. Or telling Shakespeare he can't write tragedies OR comedies. Or telling Sports Illustrated it can only photograph Kate Upton from the neck up.

It's not that the home schedule, which concludes with Saturday's noon game against Boise State, hasn't seen at least some highlights, but it's sure been a while.

The obviously high mark had to be a 73-72 victory over Utah State to open conference play on Jan. 1. Other than that, the Falcons are 4-9 against Division I opponents at Clune Arena, and all four victories - vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff, South Dakota, UC Riverside and San Jose State - came against teams with RPIs no better than No. 249.

With Boise State, ranked No. 71, coming to town, an opportunity for that signature home victory remains there for the taking.

But if Air Force's primary strength - its 3-point shooting - doesn't resurface, the home woes seem sure to follow.

 

Lone senior's goodbye

Center Chase Kammerer will be the lone Air Force senior making his Clune Arena farewell on Saturday.

Kammerer, who is 6-foot-7 and from Montgomery, Texas, has been a reserve for most of his career. He has appeared in 26 games this season, starting six times and averaging 1.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in 8.3 minutes.

He was awarded the team's Rob Marr Sportsmanship Award as a junior and he has twice been on the dean's list and was on the commandant's list the first semester of his junior year. A management major, his first assignment will be in acquisitions at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida.

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