Like I said in my game story that will appear in tomorrow’s edition of The Gazette, I thought Air Force played one of its best games in recent weeks tonight.
The Falcons had their best overall shooting night since the start of Mountain West Conference play, making 45.3 percent of their shots. They made more assists (11) that turnovers (seven) for the first time since their MWC opener. And they got a breakout game from Andrew Henke (18 points) who averaged just 7.0 points in the Falcons’ first five MWC games.
And, best of all, the Falcons didn’t back down throughout the game, and they played with some emotion. When Henke picked up a charge early in the second half, he pumped both fists and screamed. Good to see that out of these guys.
Still, there were some problems that don’t seem to be going away: Air Force was out-rebounded 34-26. The Falcons made just 5-of-9 free throws. And – most perplexing – they continued to struggle from 3-point range. Take away Henke’s 4-for-8 performance and Air Force was 2-of-12 from beyond the arc.
This might be one of those deals were the Falcons get better but the record doesn’t show it for a while. Especially with UNLV and BYU coming to town.
-Prediction: If the Falcons get a victory (or more) in MWC play, Henke and Matt Holland will have big nights. Seems like both will be cold, or when one’s hot, the other isn’t. So far in conference, here’s their scoring breakdown:
San Diego State: Holland 17, Henke 4
New Mexico: Holland 14, Henke 4
Utah: Holland 3, Henke 6
TCU: Holland 9, Henke 12
Colorado State: Holland 25, Henke 9
Wyoming: Holland 3, Henke 18
-The Falcons did benefit greatly from a smaller-than-usual and fairly passive Arena-Auditorium crowd. Maybe fans didn’t want to leave home because of the weather (it’s ridiculously cold up here) or the opponent. But bottom line is it wasn’t a very hostile environment.
-Liked the way Taylor Stewart played tonight. He was more aggressive and had nine points, breaking a stretch of four scoreless games. I also thought Shawn Hempsey played well.
-And finally, I used to put in bits and pieces of Troy Calhoun’s press conferences into the blog after football games. I thought I’d include the entire transcript of Jeff Reynolds’ post-game interview with the print media tonight.
Jake Schaller: Do you feel like you guys played one of your better games in recent weeks tonight?
Jeff Reynolds: Uh, yes.
JS: First 32 minutes especially, what was going right for you, or what were you doing right?
JR: Thought we shot the ball better tonight. Thought we played better for about probably 32 minutes. And that’s it.
Lindsey Korsick: What about the play of your freshmen, especially Taylor Stewart?
JR: He’s getting better.
LK: You think he found a rhythm tonight? He seemed to have more minutes.
JR: You know, he played better, so that got him more minutes.
JS: Was he more aggressive tonight, coach? It looked like he took the ball to the hole a little bit.
JR: I thought he was.
JS: How about Wyoming, coach, 32 minutes you were right with them, punch-for-punch, and then they got a little separation there. What happened there, was it their guys making plays? How would you analyze what happened there?
JR: We were missing shots we made in the first half.
JS: I’ve only talked with Drew and Anwar, but it seems like maybe the guys took something out of this positive. Do you feel that way yourself? And, if so, what did you take out of it?
JR: We’re getting better.
And … scene! Back tomorrow morning with links.