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Colorado State 67 – Air Force 49

February 5, 2012

I can’t remember the last time CSU had a laugher against Air Force. It certainly was before the Tim Miles Era in Fort Collins. I have come to expect closely fought games between these two teams. And today might have been the same.

Except for one guy.

Pierce Hornung.

On a day when leading scorer Wes Eikmeier couldn’t have put the ball in the ocean if he was standing on the end of a pier and Greg Smith was struggling offensively, Hornung went 8-10 from the field and 7-10 from the free throw line. He also delivered 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 1 block.

#4’s highlight reel included an offensive rebound off his own 3-point miss from the corner, a one-handed dunk, and a variety of finishes at the rim. Most of his work on both ends of the floor came at the expense of AFA’s 6’10” Taylor Broekhuis, a former high school rival.

Defense, Defense…

How cool was it to hear the students chant for defense? And how cool was it to watch the Rams defend their asses off for the entire game? The Rams ran under screens, over screens, and switched a little too. They were well-prepared for Air Force’s actions on offense and they were focused. Only two Falcons finished in double figures (Mike Lyons, Mike Fitzgerald) and most of Fitzgerald’s points came after the Rams had run out to a big lead.

For the game, the Rams held AFA to 40% from the field and 21% from beyond the arc, well under their season averages.

Carr Guts Out a Strong Performance From the Bench

Jesse Carr was not expected to play today. He’s had some foot problems and been wearing a boot. The Rams were hoping to rest him today. But then Kaipo Sabas was not able to play today because of an ankle injury he suffered at UNLV. Jesse told the coaches that the team needed him to play.

And play he did.

He came off the bench and delivered a nice pass off penetration to set up a Dorian Green three-ball. And then he delivered a three-ball of his own. At game’s end he had 8 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal.

I believe that deserves the title of Unsung Hero for at least a day or two.

Michael Lyons

Not your typical Air Force Falcon. This kid is great in the open court and has a variety of ways of scoring off the dribble. CSU did a great job against him today. And he still hit a series of tough, guarded jumpers in the 15′-18′ range.

The challenge Air Force faces offensively is that they need to run a lot of structured stuff to be successful but Lyons would thrive if given a little more freedom. Like in a motion offense like the one the Rams run.

A Needed Bye

By going from a 16-game to a 14-game schedule, the league basically created a mid-week bye for all teams. It couldn’t have come at a better time for CSU. Kaipo Sabas, Jesse Carr, and Dorian Green all have picked up knocks. And the Rams will also look to improve their collective shooting eye in preparation for the resumption of play at TCU next Saturday.

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