Rams lose fifth in a row

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Feb 012006
 
Authors: Trevor Edy

Colorado Springs- A 17-4 scoring run in the closing minutes of the first half by the Air Force Falcons proved to be too much for the Rams, as they lost their fifth straight game 71-56, moving them to a 12-9 (1-7 Mountain West Conference) record. The defeat pushed head coach Dale Layer's career conference road record to 5-37, including a current 20-straight road losses to conference opponents.

"We played well in spots, but they hit crucial shots late in possessions that hurt us down the stretch," Layer said.

The Rams had a 28-27 lead with less than five minutes left in the first half, but that would be the last time the Rams tasted a lead in sold out (5,769) Clune Arena.

Junior forward Jacob Burtschi fueled the Falcons to their third straight win with a team-high 21 points, including 15 in the first half.

"Jake was the catalyst tonight," Air Force head coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Jake is tough to cover, he was able to get to the rim.

Air Force shot an impressive 60 percent in the first half and 53.3 percent for the game. They also made eight of their 20 attempts from beyond the three-point arch (40 percent).

"It's very key to get the best [shots] we can, we are very unselfish," said senior guard Antoine Hood who finished the game with 15 points. "It's great to get a win like that and play Air Force basketball.

Ram forward Jason Smith had a game-high 27 points, on 9-of-12 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds in the loss. The only other player in double figures was freshman guard Stephan Gilling who chipped in 11 points, making three of his four attempts from 3-point land.

"Stephan hit some shots that got us going early, but then we went cold and couldn't make a shot," Layer said following the game. "They didn't miss enough shots for us to seriously make a run at the end of the game.

The Rams weren't able to pressure the Falcons much on the defensive end either, forcing only eight turnovers all game.

"Our goal was not to allow the press to get to us; we accomplished that goal," said Bzdelik, whose team created 15 Ram turnovers.

Air Force moves on to 38-1 in their last 39 home games, and 18-3 (6-2 MWC) on the season, tying their best start in school history.

"They are good at home, but I think its going to be different when they play at our place," said guard Stephan Gilling.

The Falcons will visit Fort Collins on March 4 for a rematch.

Things won't get any easier for the Rams as they face off Saturday with the conference-leading San Diego State Aztecs at Moby Arena at 7 p.m.

 

Name, FGM-FGA, Pts, Rebounds, Assists

CSU Smith 9-12 27 7 2, Harrison 0-1 0 3 0, Lewis 1-7 7 3 5, MMorris 1-2 2 0 1, Gilling 4-8 11 3 0, Clark 0-0 0 0 0, SMorris 1-2 3 0 0, Harris 0-0 0 0 1, Robinson 1-3 4 5 0, Patterson 0-1 0 0 0, Brown 0-3 0 0 0, Creason 1-1 2 1 0

AF Burtschi 7-11 21 6 3, Nwaelele 4-7 14 3 1, Frye 0-0 1 4 0, McCraw 3-6 11 5 3, Hood 7-11 15 3 3, Henke 0-1 0 0 0, Anderson 1-3 2 1 1, Teets 0-0 3 1 0, Kenzik 1-3 2 1 0, Maren 1-3 3 1 2

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