Feb 032004
 
Authors: Vince Blaser

The Air Force Falcons have finally fallen.

Nevada – Las Vegas ended the Falcons’ 13-game winning streak and

handed the Falcons their first conference loss of the season Monday

night with a 63-50 victory at the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las

Vegas. However, the Falcons still top the Mountain West Conference

standings, despite being picked to finish last by the MWC media in

the preseason.

With three straight overtime wins at home, CSU is the hottest

team in the conference. Brigham Young is the coldest team,

suffering three straight losses, including a 64-56 loss to arch

rival Utah Saturday at Utah’s Huntsman Center, to drop into a tie

with Wyoming and New Mexico for last place.

Air Force (15-3 overall, 5-1 MWC)

The Falcons gave up more than 60 points for just the second time

this season in the loss to UNLV. The Rebels penetrated the Falcons’

zone defense and scored 22 second chance points.

However, head coach Joe Scott and his Princeton-style zone

defense and back-cutting offense are still in the MWC driver’s seat

as they head home for three straight games. AFA faces Wyoming

Saturday, CSU on Monday and New Mexico on Feb. 14.

Utah (16-5 overall, 4-2 MWC)

The Utes are riding their emotions as they wait for the return

of head coach Rick Majerus, who was hospitalized Jan. 28 with heart

problems. Majerus, who has a 320-95 record at Utah, has said he

will retire at the end of the season because of continual health

problems.

Under assistant coach Kerry Rupp, the Utes came back from a

15-point deficit to win one for Majerus against BYU. Utah hosts San

Diego State Saturday and UNLV Monday.

UNLV (12-6 overall, 3-3 MWC)

The Rebels’ big win against Air Force pulled them back into the

thick of the MWC race. Forward J.K. Edwards scored 19 points

against the Falcons.

The Rebels also seemed to quell the foul problems they had in a

loss against CSU, in which five players fouled out. On Monday, the

Falcons only shot nine free throws against UNLV.

The Rebels travel to Utah to face BYU Saturday and the Utes

Monday.

CSU (11-8 overall, 3-3 MWC)

The Rams officially climbed back into the MWC race with the

three straight overtime victories at home.

Center Matt Nelson, CSU’s leading scorer, is still out nursing

his sprained left knee, but the Rams have gained the confidence

they can win in close games.

Now they must prove the can win in MWC road games, where they

are 0-2 this season. The Rams travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to face

New Mexico Saturday and to Colorado Springs to face Air Force

Monday.

San Diego State (12-9 overall, 3-3 MWC)

The Aztecs suffered two crushing defeats in Laramie, Wyo., and

Fort Collins last week. But the Aztecs got back on track at home

with a 72-68 win against New Mexico Monday night.

SDSU travels this week to face Utah Saturday and BYU Monday

before traveling to Las Vegas to play UNLV on Feb. 14.

BYU (12-7 overall, 2-4 MWC)

The preseason conference favorites are falling fast and hard. In

one week they went from tied for first to tied for worst in the

MWC.

The Cougars will try to get back on track at home this week as

they host UNLV and SDSU.

New Mexico (11-8 overall, 2-4 MWC)

The Lobos entered into a tie for last place after road losses

against UNLV and SDSU. New Mexico hung in both games but was unable

to finish either one.

However, The Pit may have its magic back this season. New Mexico

has already defeated Utah and BYU at home. The Lobos will try to

continue their home court success against CSU and Wyoming over the

next week.

Wyoming (9-10 overall, 2-4 MWC)

The Cowboys could not hold a late lead against CSU during the

Border War clash on Saturday and fell into the MWC cellar.

To have a chance of making a run to get a decent seed in the MWC

tournament, the Cowboys will have to pull off an upset in road

games at New Mexico and Air Force over the next week.

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