It’s been fun to hear Mountain West coaches find new ways of praising Michael Lyons through this Air Force basketball season.
Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy tossed out names like Dominque Wilkins and Charles Barkley when trying to find a comparable performance to Lyons’ 45-point outing against his team. Boise State coach Leon Rice simply said he became a fan of Lyons after watching his improvisational style.
On Monday it was San Diego State coach Steve Fisher’s turn. While Fisher didn’t drop any of the names from his storied past – remember, he coached the Fab Five – he did offer glowing praise of the Air Force senior.
“Michael Lyons has led that ballclub,” said Fisher, who will face Lyons for the last time on Wednesday. “When they came in as freshmen they struggled, and now that they’re seniors they’ve been competitive and have been in every game they’ve played. He’s been their lynchpin; he’s the No. 1 guy. He can score in a lot of different ways. He has grown his game and the team and the program has improved significantly.”
Fisher also downplayed Air Force’s recent slide as a symptom of playing in the difficult Mountain West more than any regression with the Falcons.
“I think it’s an unforgiving league,” Fisher said. “Anybody in this league can go on a one, two, three-game losing streak. New Mexico is the only team that hasn’t. I think it’s just the nature of the difficulty of this league from top to bottom. You better be ready to play, home or away.”
San Diego State hosts Air Force at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The game is being televised by Time Warner Cable Sports Net, which airs in West Coast regions but is available only through satellite sports packages here. There’s a strong chance that sports bars will have it. Otherwise, the game can be heard at 740 AM.