GAME NOTES: The weakest team in the Mountain West Conference at the moment is also one of the newest additions to the league, as the Fresno State Bulldogs try to snap a three-game slide when they meet up with the Air Force Falcons at Clune Arena on Wednesday night.
All alone in last place in the MWC standings with just one win in six chances, the Bulldogs have dropped five of their last six outings, the lone win coming in a surprising upset of Wyoming at home two weeks ago, 49-36. More recently, the team suffered a 74-63 loss to Colorado State at home last Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Falcons have entered the week tied with both Colorado State and UNLV for third place in the MWC at 3-2. The Academy held a second straight opponent to just 48 points over the weekend, as it slipped by Wyoming in Laramie by nine points. The victory was the third in a row for the Falcons who are back home this week where they have won eight of nine games in 2012-13.
Fresno State leads the all-time series with the Falcons, 9-4, winning the most recent meeting back in 2001 by a score of 68-52.
Tyler Johnson scored a game-high 23 points for the Bulldogs over the weekend at the Save Mart Center, but his efforts were not enough as Fresno State again came out on the wrong end of a conference battle, this time against Colorado State. Allen Huddleston and Marvelle Harris both added 15 points for the Bulldogs, as the group shot just 38.5 percent from the floor and 6-of-17 behind the 3-point line. For Tyler Johnson, it marked the fourth straight game and seventh time in eight outings that he reached double-digits in scoring and is now putting up 11.9 ppg as a result. In conference games, Johnson is producing 15.0 ppg, followed by Kevin Foster with 11.0 ppg, but still this is a unit generating only 57.8 ppg in league bouts and is being outscored by seven points per game at the moment.
Anytime a team suits up against the Falcons, points tend to be at a premium and that was especially true for Wyoming, which has also been strong at the defensive end of the floor this season. As a result, Taylor Broekhuis led the way for the Academy with 16 points, shooting 3-of-4 behind the 3-point line while also working hard enough in the paint to come up with nine rebounds. Michael Lyons responded with 11 points and DeLovell Earls another 10 points for the visitors in the victory at Arena Auditorium over the weekend. In terms of the season overall, Lyons has been the key offensive threat with 18.2 ppg, but in MWC bouts he has dropped to 15.6 ppg and is actually trailing Mike Fitzgerald (15.8 ppg) for the top spot. Fitzgerald is in the lead thanks to his 61.5 percent accuracy beyond the arc and 87.1 percent at the free-throw line.
If both of these teams are willing to slow the pace to a crawl, we could be in-store for an epically, low-scoring affair. But regardless of how many points are put on the board, expect the Falcons to be the ones who come out on top.
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