The Air Force Academy led nearly the entire game, but goes scoreless in the final minutes, and loses to Fresno State, 64-63. This was the second one point loss to the Bulldogs in as many meetings.
Fresno State defeated Air Force 56-55 January 23,2016. The Falcons came out on fire, particularly from the three point line, shooting 69% in the first half, going 9 of 13.
Air Force pulled out to a 22-11 lead, behind the shooting of Zach Kocur, who scored 17 points in the first half, including three for three from the three point line. Jacob Van added nine points in the first half as well. The Falcons were up 41-33 at the half, while Fresno State's Marvelle Harris was held to just two points at the half. \ "To me, Marvelle is the best player in this league, but I'm a little biased because I'm his coach." Fresno State Head men's basketball coach Rodney Terry said "He's been really poised.
He had two points in the first half, because he was sharing the basketball and wasn't trying to be overly aggressive. He trusts his teammates right now. This team has really bought into doing whatever it takes to win." Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry
Air Force seemingly had the win, they played great throughout the night. The Falcons had a 63-54 lead with under two minutes remaining. "We give Air Force a lot of credit. Dave Pilipovich is a great Coach; he's done a great job with his program. Since we've been in the Mountain West conference we've only had one game against them that hasn't been a one-possession game." Fresno State head Rodney Terry.
Then the top dog and perhaps the Mountain West player of the year Marvelle Harris took over, and essentially put the team behind his back. After his slow start in the first half, he went on to finish with 20 points, three boards, four steals, three blocks, and went 5 for 5 at the free throw line. Oh and yes, I forgot. Mr. Harris scored the last 12 points for the Bulldogs, two clutch free throws with 4.7 seconds remaining.
"Like coach said, my teammates believed in me. After Nevada, which was a hard loss, I remember I missed 2 free throws and we talked about it in the locker room. Nobody put their head down, nobody got down on me, and they just patted me on the back and said I would do better next time. Today was the same opportunity and that support helped me a lot."
Fresno State State senior guard Marvelle Harris. Karachi Edo had a solid outing on his second game back from a wrist injury. Edo scored 12 points, four boards, and two blocks.
Fresno State's defense came to life in the second half. After shooting nearly 70% from beyond the arc, the Falcons only made one from three-point land in the second half. Fresno State also turned up the heat on Zach Kocur who scored two points after a hot first half, including going 0 for 4 on three-point attempts. Jacob Van, also had a solid first half, only to manage two points in the second half.
Another key component in Fresno State's victory over Air Force was the bench scoring. Fresno State had 22 points off the bench. The Air Force academy goes back home, and rest for a few days, as they have a bye on Saturday. The Falcons host Utah State on March 1.
As the Fresno State Bulldogs are off to Albuquerque, New Mexico. In a matchup on national T.V (ESPN 2, 7P.M.) The matchup will for all intents and purposes be for the two seed in the upcoming Mountain West Conference basketball championships.