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Air Force holds D-III Colorado College to 6 first-half points in rout

12/9/2006 - Air Force Falcons

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) -- If the mission was a test flight
over token resistance, Air Force may have exceeded all
expectations.

Air Force (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today; unranked AP) held Division III Colorado College to an NCAA-record
six points in the first half and went on to an 82-31 victory
Saturday.

The previous low for a half since the shot clock was introduced
for the 1985-86 season was the seven scored by Central Michigan in
trailing Ohio University by 28 points on Jan. 14.

Even with veteran point guard Matt McCraw sidelined after
injuring an ankle in practice last week, the Falcons led the Tigers
50-6 at halftime.

The Falcons (10-1) forced 13 turnovers and raced to a 30-point
lead with 9:30 remaining in the first half before Nate Brodman
finally put the Tigers (1-9) on the board with a 3-pointer.

"In our last two games and our last two losses, there's a story
line," Air Force coach Jeff Bzdelik said, noting that his team had
shot well enough to win against Illinois
in the NCAA Tournament last season but lost. He also said
that wins against IPFW and Texas-Pan American during the past week
were closer than they should have been.

Bzdelik said the plan was to work on defense Saturday. "We
wanted to have a sense of urgency throughout. In the first half we
did, and in the second half, playing some players who hadn't really
played before, there were some holes, but those are correctible,"
he said.

Air Force starters remained on the bench the entire second half,
but the Falcons maintained up to a 50-point lead.

"I liked, especially in the first half, the intensity, the
awareness, the stances, the awareness on the weak side, the
awareness on the strong side, the pressure, catching the move,
funneling people correctly, defending situations. That was there in
terms of the fundamental skill," Bzdelik said. "So that was
good."

Starting forward Jacob Burtschi led Air Force, scoring 10 points
in 10 minutes before the bench took over.

"I think it was very important just for us to get the
experience and exposure," said Anwar Johnson, a sophomore forward
who came off the bench for 24 minutes of playing time.

Senior starting center Nick Welch agreed.

"We attacked this game with the mentality that we're trying to
get better and this was a great experience for those guys to get in
there," Welch said. "Whether you're playing against Colorado
College or if you're getting in against Wake Forest, you're still
getting that experience and that's key for those guys.

"I think we came out with a great mentality of we're not going
to overlook anybody," Welch said. "It doesn't matter who we're
playing, we're going to come out with that fire. Coach has really
challenged us to play 40 minutes and we try to come out right off
the bat and basically just come out and play our game and have that
game intensity that we needed against a couple of teams earlier in
the year. We need to attack every game like that."

Lance Jacobs led Colorado College with 11 points, all in the
second half.