A battle between a pair of unbeatens takes place in Boulder on Sunday, as the 23rd-ranked Colorado Buffaloes take on the Air Force Falcons in non-conference action at the Coors Events Center.
The Buffaloes earned themselves some praise just over a week ago with their 60-58 win over the Baylor Bears, a victory that pushed Colorado into the national rankings. More recently, the group captured the title in the Charleston Classic last weekend with an 81-74 victory against Murray State.
The Falcons are also unbeaten at the moment at 5-0, off to their best start since 2007-08 when the Academy also began with five wins out of the gate. The only Falcons squad to open a season 6-0 was three decades ago in 1982-83. Air Force began this season by winning the second annual All-Military Classic and has also rattled off victories against Western State, Regis University and most recently Montana State earlier this week by a score of 86-72.
The Buffs lead the all-time series between the squads, 18-3, and a 76-73 overtime victory by the team last season means Colorado has now won two in a row.
Air Force went from shooting a solid 51.7 percent from the floor in the first half against Montana State to lighting up the scoreboard with 66.7 percent accuracy after the break as it claimed the double-digit win yet again. Michael Lyons led the way with 29 points, adding seven rebounds and four assists, followed by Taylor Broekhuis and Todd Fletcher with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Before fouling out, Mike Fitzgerald accounted for seven points and nine rebounds as the squad actually won the battle of the boards, 39-28, which tends to be a rarity for the Falcons. Lyons has been huge for Air Force in the early going, scoring a team-best 22.2 ppg and also pulling down a team- high 5.4 rpg as well, not to mention placing second in assists with 13. Broekhuis (13.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg) is shooting 61.0 percent from the floor which has lifted the entire group to a very healthy 52.4 percent, compared to only 41.7 percent for the competition.
Ahead by two at the intermission against Murray State last weekend, the Buffaloes took it up another notch as they made good on 59.1 percent from the field and 20-of-25 at the free-throw line following after the break. Four of the five starters scored in double figures for Colorado, led by Askia Booker who tallied a career-high 23 points as he converted 10-of-18 shots from the floor and added four steals. Before fouling out, Andre Roberson accounted for 16 points and a team-best nine rebounds, followed by Spencer Dinwiddie and Josh Scott with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Booker paces the team in scoring through four games with his 17.8 ppg, getting the job done with 50.0 percent shooting from the floor and 42.1 percent behind the three-point line. But the Buffs are far from a three-point threat these days, the team shooting a respectable 39.6 percent on the perimeter but averaging just over five conversions per contest. Even though the group is shooting only 64.0 percent at the charity stripe, already Colorado has outscored the competition at the line by a 73-31 margin.