At home, the Spartans remained dogged in a close loss, even after the Falcon’s barrage of early 3-pointers helped put them up by 18 points over the Spartans at one point.
Air Force had to be coming in even more confident against the Spartans, after close, tough losses against Nevada and UNLV.
But the 78-71 score and subsequent loss against Air Force more reflects the Spartan’s resoluteness, as they continued to fight back until the last seconds of the game.
The FIRST HALF:
In the first 10-11 minutes of the first half, the Falcons were relentless on the 3-point attack; hitting over 60% from the perimeter. It was clearly the game plan to keep hoisting 3’s even with Falcons coming off the bench. Air Force starting forwards, Lavelle Scottie and Ryan Swan, led the way with 11 & 19 points respectively, as did guards, Pervis Louder and Jacob Van with near equal output from the bench.
As SJSU continued getting in the lane and posting in the paint to whittle at the Falcons big lead, the turnaround picked up speed when Ryan Welage, Jalen James and Noah Baumann came up with a sequence of 3-pointers at the 7-8 minute mark to eventually pull up to a 40-34 score; leaving the Spartans just 6 points behind by half-time.
The SECOND HALF:
As basketball cycles go, the Falcons were cold in the first 5 minutes of the second half, giving the Spartans the opening.
With the Spartans also successful on the offensive boards, they finally experienced pulling ahead and went through 6 lead changes until Falcons Ryan Swan and Pervis Louder came back to life with about 4 minutes remaining.
The Spartans then went through a 2-3 minute scoring drought towards the end of the half, but kept things close enough at the last seconds to force Falcon free-throws to get the ball back. Ryan Welage stepped up his attack with 11 of his 17 points in the second half but the Falcons held on.
On a GOOD NOTE:
The Spartans had 4 players in double digit scoring and were well above 40% in scoring in both field goals and 3-pointers. They ALSO kept their turnovers to less than half of what they’ve given up over the last few games with only 9. It’s all relative, of course.
The Spartans have the first place Nevada Wolfpack coming in this Wednesday, January 17th. It’ll be a “David vs. Goliath” matchup and all that can come with it.