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Air Force Basketball versus UNLV: A Tale of Two Games

Two games, two very different results. As the Air Force Falcons prepare to take on the UNLV Runnin' Rebels in the opening round of the Mountain West Tournament, we look at the previous two match-ups and what the third game might hold.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

It was the best of games, it was the worst of games.

To steal a line from the Charles Dickens classic, the Air Force Falcons men's basketball team have seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in their two match-ups with the UNLV Runnin' Rebels this season. Where the third game will take the two teams is anyone's guess, but it is sure to be somewhere in the middle of the two match-ups they played this year.

January 16th was the low mark in the Air Force season. The Falcons were smack in the middle of what would end up an eight game losing streak, and UNLV would dish out an embarrassing 100-64 drubbing of Air Force. Derrick Jones Jr. would be the top Rebel with 22 points and 10 rebounds, followed closely by Jerome Seagears with 17 and Stephen Zimmerman Jr. adding 14 points and 12 rebounds. The game was over quickly as UNLV jumped out to a 20-5 lead early and never looked back in the game. UNLV would capitalize on 20 offensive rebounds with 26 second chance points.

One month later would bring the Rebels to Colorado Springs and this time a different Air Force team awaited the UNLV team. The Falcons were starting two new guards in C.J. Siples and Jacob Van, and they would join mainstay Zach Kocur to lead the Falcons to a 79-74 victory. Van would lead the Falcons with 21 points, with Kocur adding 19 and Siples 17. Newly starting center Frank Toohey would add 14 points and nine rebounds as the Falcons would complete a 41-point turnaround between game one and game two.

So, what will game three hold. Unfortunately for the Falcons, the game is back in Las Vegas and the Rebels are a lot healthier than they were in February. Zimmerman is back in the mix for UNLV and Air Force is riding another three-game losing streak. Air Force on the road has struggled, and this game will be an uphill battle for the visitors from Colorado Springs.