9:05 PM ET, December 28, 2005
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- From the shortest guard to the tallest center, everyone at Air Force has to learn to shoot the 3-pointer.On Wednesday night, it was the center -- 6-foot-10 John Frye -- who made three 3s in the second half to put an stop to an awful shooting slump and help the Falcons to a 54-46 victory over Georgia Tech."We said if someone's going to beat us, let him be the guy," Yellow Jackets coach Paul Hewitt said. "We didn't want him to be that wide open, but they have a lot of shooters."Frye was clearly the wrong one to ignore on this night. He hit his first 3-pointer 3½ minutes into the second half to snap Air Force's 12-minute stretch without a field goal.He also made 7 of 8 free throws and finished with 18 points, as Air Force improved to 11-1 in coach Jeff Bzdelik's first season, the best 12-game record in program history."I was a little surprised, considering that's what I've done before," said Frye, who made three 3s in a 26-point game against Navy earlier this season, his only other game in double figures. "But you can't guard all five guys out there all the time."Jeremis Smith led Georgia Tech (5-4) with 12 points and Ra'Sean Dickey had 11 for the Yellow Jackets, who have only two upperclassmen on their roster and don't nearly resemble the team that made the Final Four two seasons ago.Of course, Air Force doesn't look anything like the program it was when it signed the deal to play Georgia Tech a few years back.Bzdelik has followed coaches Joe Scott and Chris Mooney in leading a revival of the long-struggling program. When this game was over, the Falcons screamed and yelled as they left the court, celebrating their second win this season over an Atlantic Coast Conference team -- Miami was the other -- an accomplishment this program wouldn't have dreamed about five or 10 years ago."People say, `Well, you've played a soft schedule," Bzdelik said. "Well, not really."And while the Yellow Jackets and their ACC players were surely more athletic than the Falcons, their youth showed. They committed 19 turnovers to only six by Air Force.They played good defense, holding Air Force to 29 percent shooting for the game with help from that long field-goal drought. Still, Hewitt looked at this as something of a step back for his team, which had been scoring in the 70s and slowly improving, winning three of four in December before the trip to Colorado."I'd be surprised if Air Force doesn't make the NCAA tournament, with the way they play and run their stuff," Hewitt said. "This is an opportunity lost for us. Now, we've got to try to build it back up and get to a point where we get this kind of chance again."The Falcons attacked Georgia Tech the way they go after many teams that have bigger players and better jumpers, shooting 24 of their 44 field-goal attempts from 3-point range. Frye's third 3 of the second half put Air Force ahead 38-32, a lead the Falcons didn't relinquish.Clinging to a three-point lead with 1:41 left, Jacob Burtschi scooped one in from the lane to push it back to five and essentially seal the game.Burtschi and Matt McCraw each had 10 points for the Falcons, whose strong start will make them a favorite in the Mountain West Conference when they start play there next week.
|FG Made-Attempted||20-42 (.476)||13-44 (.295)|
|3P Made-Attempted||2-6 (.333)||7-24 (.292)|
|FT Made-Attempted||4-7 (.571)||21-26 (.808)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||20 (0/0)||12 (0/0)|
|» Dec 28, 2005||@AFA 54, GT 46||Recap|