next Fresno State at Air Force, 7 p.m. Tuesday, ATT, 740 AM
Air Force briefly climbed the mountain at San Jose State on Saturday, only to stumble back down in a 90-81 loss.
The Falcons trailed by as many as 13 before a Chris Joyce 3-pointer tied it with 5:49 remaining. Lavelle Scottie, who scored a game-high 25, later put the Falcons up 74-73 with 4:35 left.
Then, it all fell apart.
The Falcons (9-12, 3-6 Mountain West) had the ball with the lead, but a Ryan Swan turnover after an offensive rebound gave possession back to San Jose State (7-14, 3-6). Seneca Knight then made two free throws to put San Jose State back up by a point, and a four-point play from Richard Washington — he hit a 3 and drew a foul from Scottie — quickly stretched the lead to five. The Falcons then gave up a pair of offensive rebounds in the final minutes and made just one of their final seven shots.
“Little mistakes, lack of focus,” Air Force senior Caleb Morris told KVOR 740 AM’s Jim Arthur after the game. “That one hurts.”
The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for Air Force against San Jose State and gives the Falcons a three-game losing streak. The first half of the conference season ends with Air Force sitting at 3-6, and the next four games come against teams that beat the Falcons by at least 15 points on one occasion last season.
Air Force hit eight second-half 3-pointers to climb back into the game. Caleb Morris broke out of a slump with 13 points, hitting 4-of-9 3s. Joyce went 4 of 5 from 3, scoring 12.
Sid Tomes had six points, seven rebounds and six assists in 22 minutes. He picked up two early fouls and his absence was felt. The Falcons led by three when he went to the bench and trailed by nine when he returned.
The Spartans outscored Air Force 34-5 in fast-break points.
“They’re hurting in the locker room right now, and they should be,” Falcons coach Dave Pilipovich told Arthur, noting that his team stiffened up a bit late in the game.
“We all should be.”
Knight scored 20 points to pace San Jose State, which improved to 3-2 at home in conference play with wins over the Falcons, New Mexico and Nevada.