Air Force Beat In First Round

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It's back to the academic grind for Air Force, who loss 78-to-69 to Illinois in a first-round game of the N-C-A-A tournament last night.

Fourth-seeded Illinois was just too big and too talented for Air Force (24-7). The Falcons closed in on the Fighting Illini at times, scoring seven straight points -- including four by guard Antoine Hood -- to pull to 39-to-38 with 16-18 to play in the second half.

Illinois (26-6) responded with a three-pointer by guard Jamar Smith and a three-point play by Brian Randle to make it 45-38. The 13th seeded Falcons would never recover.

Smith had six 3-pointers among his 20 points. Randle scored 15 points, Carter 12 and Augustine ten for Illinois.

Hood scored 17 points for Air Force, while Jacob Burtschi, Nwaelele and Matt McCraw added 13 each.