2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • FINAL: Air Force 75, Norfolk State 52

    Sun, November 30, 2008 by admin with no comments

    After watching his team give up 74 and 76 points in back-to-back losses, Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said he wanted to see players make “a commitment to defend.”

     

    Sunday’s game against Norfolk State was a good start.

     

    In a 75-52 victory in front of a sparse crowd at Clune Arena, the Falcons forced 12 turnovers and held the Spartans to 39.3 percent shooting, including 13.6 from 3-point range. Norfolk State’s 52 points are the fewest Air Force has allowed this season.

     

    “Much improved on the defensive end,” senior forward Matt Holland said, “which is a good sign.”

     

    Air Force, which improved to 4-2, also was much improved on the glass. The Falcons out-rebounded the Spartans, 37-25, as senior forward Andrew Henke grabbed a season-high seven boards and three other players got six.

     

    “I thought we boxed people out really well, and we went after the ball,” Henke said.

     

    Air Force was sloppy with the ball for the third straight game, committing 16 turnovers. But the Falcons made up for their carelessness by rediscovering their shooting touch from the perimeter.

     

    After making just 10 of 33 3-pointers in the previous two games, the Falcons drained 11 of 20 on Sunday. Henke led the long-range assault by hitting four of seven 3-pointers, while Holland made three of five. In all, five Falcons hit 3-pointers, including sophomore guard Evan Washington, who had missed his first 10 attempts this season.

     

    Anwar Johnson scored a game-high 17 points to lead four Falcons in double figures. Holland and Henke had 15 and 14, respectively, and Washington added 11 as Air Force made 51.1 percent of its shots from the floor.

     

    “That’s always been one thing we pride ourselves on is trying to get everyone involved and everybody scoring,” Henke said.

     

    Michael Deloach had 16 points to lead Norfolk State, which fell to 1-3.

     

    The start of Sunday’s game was delayed an hour as the referees were stuck in traffic on I-25. Players found out about the delay about a half hour before the scheduled tip of 3 p.m. Air Force, which had started to warm up, left the floor and went to its locker room. There Reynolds compared the situation to the Air Force football team’s game against Houston that was moved from Houston to Dallas because of Hurricane Ike.

     

    “We talked about, hey, we’re the home team like Houston was,” Reynolds said. “The hurricane affected them, let’s not let the snow affect us. Let’s keep our focus. And I thought from the outset of the game we had really good focus.”

     

    Indeed, the Falcons went on a 13-3 run mid-way through the first half to expand a four-point advantage to a 25-11 lead. Air Force led by 18 at the half after limiting Norfolk State to just 20 points – the fewest it has allowed in a half this season.

     

    “I think we made some progress and we took some growing steps tonight defensively,” Reynolds said.

     

     

     

     

  • Halftime: Air Force 38, Norfolk State 20

    Sun, November 30, 2008 by admin with no comments

    Air Force took a 38-20 lead into halftime of today’s game against Norfolk State at Clune Arena.

     

    Senior guard/forward Andrew Henke and senior forward Matt Holland had 11 and 10 points, respectively, to lead the Falcons, who are looking to snap a two-game losing skid.

     

    After making just 10 of 33 3-pointers in the previous two games, the Falcons made seven of 12 in the first half Sunday. Four players made 3-pointers, led by Henke, who made three of six. Holland made both of his attempts.

     

    The Falcons, however, committed eight turnovers.

     

    The opening tip was pushed back an hour because the game’s refs were stuck in traffic on I-25.

  • Jake’s Updated Ballot

    Sun, November 30, 2008 by admin with 5 comments

    Here it is.

     

    I did a lot of thinking about the OU-Texas debate. Yes, I watched OU beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater last night. Yes, I was impressed. Yes, I thought about moving OU up because I think that is one heck of a football team.

     

    But I don’t think Texas did anything but represent itself well on Friday. And, in the end, this is one of the few times where we have two teams with identical records that have played each other – on a neutral field.

     

    I know it was a while back, and I know Texas lost to a Texas Tech team that was subsequently annihilated by Oklahoma. But these teams have met. On a neutral field. Texas won. Texas gets the nod.

     

    1. Alabama

    2. Florida

    3. Texas

    4. Oklahoma

    5. USC

    6. Utah

    7. Penn St.

    8. Texas Tech

    9. Boise State

    10. Ohio State

    11. TCU

    12. Ball State

    13. Georgia Tech

    14. Cincinnati

    15. Oklahoma State

    16. Georgia

    17. Boston College

    18. Oregon

    19. Mississippi

    20. Pitt

    21. Michigan State

    22. Missouri

    23. BYU

    24. Northwestern

    25. Oregon State

  • Report: Tennessee, Kiffin Reach Deal

    Fri, November 28, 2008 by admin with 4 comments

    ESPN.com’s Chris Low is reporting that Tennessee has reached an agreement with former Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin to become the Volunteers’ head football coach.

     

    Low, who cites multiple unnamed sources, writes that an official announcement likely will come Monday.

     

    Check out the article here. Air Force coach Troy Calhoun had been considered a candidate.

  • Tennesse AD Shoots Down Report

    Thu, November 27, 2008 by admin with no comments

    According to several media outlets, Tennessee has yet to make a decision on a new football coach.

     

    Volunteers athletic director Mike Hamilton dismissed a report that former Oakland Raiders coach and USC assistant Lane Kiffin had been offered the gig as “incorrect information,” according to reports.

     

    Here’s the Chattanooga Times Free Press article on the situation.

  • Stanford Review

    Thu, November 27, 2008 by admin with no comments

    Well, save for the first 10 or so minutes, Air Force played Stanford pretty tough tonight.

     

    But, wow, those first 10 minutes were a disaster.

    And it’s hard to really get too excited about the last 30 minutes because Stanford probably took its foot off the gas a little.

     

    Give Air Force credit that it didn’t give up – it fought hard and accomplished coach Jeff Reynolds’ halftime goal of out-scoring the Cardinal in the second half (Air Force had 28 points to Stanford’s 25).

     

    “Thought we were better defensively in the second half,” Reynolds said. “And I thought the kids never quit competing. We play that hard, we’re going to win our share of games.”

     

    But if they start like they did tonight, they’re going to get creamed in their share of games too.

     

    Seven of the Falcons’ first 12 possessions ended with turnovers. And after Stanford’s 12th possession, the Cardinal led, 24-6.

     

    “We put ourselves in a big deficit, and that’s hard to overcome,” Air Force senior guard Anwar Johnson said. “We rushed through our offense and weren’t poised, taking our time through it. We did that in the second half and got a lot of open looks off of penetration and kicks.”

     

    I referred to the Falcons’ trip out here two seasons ago in this blog and in both my stories for tomorrow’s paper. But it was interesting how the teams essentially reversed roles. Air Force led the 2006 game by 24 at the half; Stanford led tonight’s game by 22. Air Force shot 17-for-24 in the first half of the 2006 game; Stanford shot 19-of-34 in the first half of tonight’s game.

     

    The Cardinal made 11 of its first 16 shots, including six of nine from beyond the 3-point arc.

     

    They were shooting the ball like we were shooting it two years ago,” Air Force senior forward Matt Holland said.

    Other Notes:

     

    -A bright spot for the Falcons was Johnson’s performance. Playing on a tender ankle that he injured in Sunday’s loss to Wofford, Johnson scored a career-high 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field.

     

    Johnson, who moved from forward to guard this season, seems to be getting more comfortable in his new role.

     

    “I thought he played well,” Reynolds said. “I thought tonight he was much more under control on his penetration. Not only did he score, but he distributed to our shooters better.”

     

    -Stanford’s band, which has carved out a rather notorious reputation through the years, was directed tonight by a guy dressed up like Elmo. Really. He was wearing one of those one-piece pajama deals that you wore when you were like five and a kind of red cloth helmet that had Elmo’s eyes and nose at about the forehead. Also had sunglasses on. I feel like you need to know these things.

     

    -Happy Thanksgiving. I wish you turkey-induced naps, football, cold turkey sandwiches and – of course – plenty of time with friends and family.

  • Final: Stanford 76, Air Force 57

    Thu, November 27, 2008 by admin with 2 comments

    During the 2006-07 season, Air Force went 4-0 in the San Francisco Bay area, winning a pair of games at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion in the College Basketball Experience Classic and two more in taking the Cable Car Classic in Santa Clara.

     

    “That year California was good to us,” Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said Wednesday morning.

     

    This season’s nonconference trip to the Golden State was far less pleasurable.

     

    A Stanford team picked to finish ninth in the Pac-10 by the media was sharp from the perimeter, tough inside and aggressive on defense, and it cruised to a 76-57 victory over the Falcons Wednesday night in front of an announced crowd of 6,836 at Maples. The Cardinal had an 18-point lead less than seven minutes into the game and enjoyed a comfortable advantage throughout to improve to 3-0. Air Force dropped its second straight game after a 3-0 start.

     

    “First 10 minutes of the game they really had us on our heels,” senior forward Matt Holland said.

     

    Against an Air Force team that allowed its first four opponents to average 11.5 made 3-pointers per game, Stanford hit 12 of 25 shots from beyond the arc. The Cardinal also grabbed 13 offensive rebounds leading to 15 second-chance points.

     

    The Falcons didn’t help themselves, turning the ball over a season-high 20 times.

     

    “They sped us up a little bit,” Holland said. “We dug a pretty good hole early, so we were running their tempo. They got us out of our game a little bit, sped us up and caused us to make a few turnovers that we usually don’t make.”

     

    Senior guard Anthony Goods and senior forward Lawrence Hill paced Stanford with 20 and 18 points, respectively. Five Cardinal players hit 3-pointers.

     

    Air Force senior guard Anwar Johnson, playing with a sore ankle, led the Falcons with a career-high 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the floor. Holland added 11 points, junior forward/center Grant Parker added eight and sophomore guard Evan Washington had seven.

     

    Air Force was competitive late in the first half and throughout the second but could not overcome a disastrous start.

     

    In the first nine minutes, Stanford made 11 of 16 shots, including six of nine from beyond the 3-point arc, and also scored five baskets in the paint – the first two after securing offensive rebounds.

     

    The Falcons, meanwhile, made seven turnovers and just two baskets in their first 12 possessions.

     

    “I thought the first six possessions was the key to the game,” Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said. “They missed some shots, they got offensive put-backs and set the tone right out of the box.”

  • Halftime Update: Stanford 51, Air Force 29

    Wed, November 26, 2008 by admin with no comments

    Stanford dominated play for most of the first half Wednesday night at Maples Pavilion and went to halftime with a 51-29 lead over Air Force.

     

    The Cardinal was too sharp from the perimeter and too big inside for Air Force and just 6 minutes 35 seconds into the game it had built an 18-point lead.

     

    Stanford made 19 of 34 shots from the floor in the first half, including 9 of 18 from 3-point range, and scored eight second-chance points. Air Force, meantime, had more turnovers (13) than baskets (12).

     

    Stanford senior guard Anthony Goods leads all scorers with 15 points, and senior forward Lawrence Hill has 14.

  • Greetings from Stanford

    Wed, November 26, 2008 by admin with 9 comments

    I’m up in the rafters at Maples Pavilion on the Stanford campus (that’s where they’ve got the print media guys).

     

    Pretty cool gym. Real small (7,329 capacity) and reminds me a bit of Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium.

     

    This is my first time here, as I missed the trip two seasons ago.

     

    Speaking of that trip … I was talking yesterday with Air Force hoops sports information director Jerry Cross and radio play-by-play man Jim Arthur about the Falcons’ 79-45 victory over Stanford that year. They contend that – during the Falcons’ run of success this decade – that was probably the pinnacle. (I wrote about this in my notebook for tomorrow’s edition of The Gazette).

     

    I didn’t see that game, but I’ve got to imagine it’s at or near the top of the list. I threw out the 94-58 dismantling of Wake Forest at World Arena two weeks later. That was as thorough a beating as I’ve seen and as crisp and smooth as I’ve seen the Falcons’ offense.

     

    What to people think? What was the pinnacle of Air Force hoops in the last five or so seasons?

  • Calhoun a Candidate

    Tue, November 25, 2008 by admin with 4 comments

    Air Force coach Troy Calhoun is a candidate for the head coaching vacancies at Clemson and Tennessee.

     

    Representatives from both schools contacted Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh last Friday to inform him they intended to contact Calhoun, according to an academy source.

     

    Whether Calhoun would be interested in either job is unclear. Calhoun declined to answer questions about possible job opportunities at other schools after last Saturday’s loss to TCU in both teams’ regular season finale. He is unavailable to the media this week.

     

    Mueh is on vacation.

     

    Calhoun signed a new five-year contract last January that paid him a base salary of $560,000 this season. It is structured as a rolling contract, meaning it can be renegotiated at the end of each season so Calhoun always will have five years remaining on his deal.

     

    Calhoun, 42, is 17-8 in two seasons at Air Force.