Air Force guard Tim Keller hit four 3-pointers in the first half
and totaled 16 first-half points as the Air Force Falcons downed
the CSU Rams 52-44 Monday night if front of 5,763 screaming Cadets
at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs.
Keller hit three straight 3-pointers (the second from five feet
behind the line) in a 9-0 run that put Air Force up 22-11 with 5:30
left in the first period.
The Falcons jumped out to a 35-17 first-half lead, led by
Keller’s 16 points, and held off a charging Rams squad in the
second half, to up their overall record to 17-3 and 7-1 in the
Mountain West Conference.
Led by Freddie Robinson’s 15 points and Phillip Thomasson’s
eight points, the Rams fought their way back into the game, after
coach Dale Layer was charged with a technical foul with just over
16 minutes left in the second half, and cut the lead to four, but
the Rams’ inability to score a bucket, and the Falcons’ ability to
convert crucial free throw after crucial free throw, sent the Rams
(11-10, 3-5) home with yet another road loss.
“You have to win on the road to be successful in this league,”
said Layer during an interview with 1410 KIXX after the game. “We
just have to figure out a way to do that.”
It was a tale of two halves for the Rams, who were held to a
season low 17 points in the first half, but were able to come out
and put 27 points on the board in the second.
“We tightened up our defense in the second half,” said freshman
Phillip Thomasson on KIXX. “But we just broke down in the first
half and just could not come up with a win.”
Another downfall for the Rams was their inability to get to the
CSU only attempted four foul shots the entire game, setting a
new MWC record for fewest free throw attempts in a game, and made
just two out of the four.
“Free throws hurt us as well,” Layer said. “We have to find a
way to get to the stripe more often.”
Keller led the Falcons with 17 points, while Nick Welch chipped
in with 16, including six free throws down the stretch to cap the
game for the Falcons.
The Falcons set a school record with their seventh conference
victory and swept the season series against the Rams for the first
time since the 1990-91 season when both schools played in the
Western Athletic Conference.
The Rams were once again without the services of injured center
Matt Nelson and now have lost six of their last nine games.
CSU will now return home for a Valentine’s Day showdown with the
Utah Utes, who knocked off Nevada-Las Vegas 70-56 on Monday.
The good: The Rams were able to erase an 18-point first-half
deficit and pull within four behind the sharp shooting of Freddie
The Bad: Dale Layer was charged with a technical foul for
stomping and knocking over a dry erase board with 16 minutes left
in the second half.
The Ugly: The Rams were only able to score 17 first-half points,
and were almost outscored by Falcon guard Tim Keller, who posted 16
points in the first half alone.