Falcons land in San Diego to challenge 16th-ranked Aztecs

Heading out for just their fourth true road ranked San Diego State in Mountain West Conference play.

The Falcons have a record of 11-5 overall and nine of those victories have come at home, which means only triumphs versus Eastern Michigan and Boise State have taken place elsewhere. On Wednesday night, the team was pitted against Wyoming at home in Clune Arena and came up short in a 64-53 final, snapping a five-game win streak in the process.

As for the Aztecs, they are tied with Colorado State for first place in the MWC standings as they are the only two teams to begin 2-0 in league play. San Diego State has just two defeats on the season and both have come against nationally-ranked programs (Baylor and Creighton), but since that two-point setback versus the Bluejays the Aztecs have reeled off nine straight wins. Three nights ago, the team handed New Mexico a 75-70 loss, four days after topping nationally-ranked UNLV in the conference opener.

The Aztecs lead the all-time series with The Academy by a count of 46-20, dating back to the early 1970's. San Diego State won the most recent meeting last season by a score of 70-58 which means the team has now put together a seven-game win streak versus the Falcons. The last six games have all been decided by double figures and during that stretch SDSU has won by an average of 19.0 ppg.

With limited scoring opportunities, the Falcons took just 17 shots from the floor in the first half and 41 over the course of 40 minutes, Air Force was fighting an uphill battle against a strong Wyoming defense. The Falcons were limited to just four offensive rebounds and 26 boards overall while turning the ball over 16 times in front of the hometown fans. Mike Fitzgerald accounted for 13 points and Justin Hammonds had 10 off the bench for the hosts in the losing cause. Michael Lyons returned to action and dropped in nine points and cleared four rebounds in a reserve role. Lyons, who missed six games with high ankle sprain, is still recognized as the top scorer for the Falcons with his 15.6 ppg and also has performed admirably in the paint where he has captured almost five rebounds per contest as well. Fitzgerald contributes 10.9 ppg to the attack, thanks to his 44.8 percent accuracy behind the three-point line. As has been the case for several years now, the Falcons focus much of their energy on controlling the pace of games and limiting scoring opportunities for opponents who are posting just 57.2 ppg heading into the weekend.

The Aztecs trailed 10-0 right out of the gate against New Mexico earlier this week, but SDSU showed tremendous resolve as it battled back and trailed by just a single point at the break. In the second half, the visitors made their move and it paid off as they put together a 15-0 run that gave them the lead for good. Xavier Thames carried San Diego State with his career-high 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor, while Jamaal Franklin and Chase Tapley dropped in 12 points apiece and combined for 12 rebounds as well. In just 13 minutes off the bench, LaBradford Franklin responded with nine points, three boards and two assists. Tapley leads the team in scoring overall this season with his 16.7 ppg, getting the job done out on the perimeter where he has knocked down 47.4 percent of his field goal attempts. Jamaal Franklin checks in with 15.5 ppg and 6.4 rpg and seeing as how he plays so well in the paint, it might not be a bad move for him to refrain from leaking out to the perimeter on offense where he has connected on just 29.6 percent of his long- distance shots.