Air Force 83, Georgia 52

AIR FORCE ACADEMY (AP) - Jacob Burtschi scored 21 points and Air Force won its school record 25th game, a 83-52 blowout of Georgia in the second round of the NIT on Monday night.

The Falcons (25-8), whose NCAA bubble burst with four straight losses to end the season, surpassed last year's win total in surprisingly easy fashion against a more athletic Bulldogs team that was bothered by both the altitude and Air Force's relentless zone defense.

Air Force, the top seed in the West, advanced to the semifinals Wednesday night against DePaul at Clune Arena, where the Falcons have won 56 of their last 58 games.

Burtschi added 10 rebounds and Dan Nwaelele scored 19 points for the Falcons.

Terrance Woodbury's 16 points led the fourth-seeded Bulldogs (19-14), whose quest for their first 20-win season since 2002 ended.

Burtschi had 13 points and seven boards by halftime as the Falcons surged to a 43-24 lead, and he hit a 3-pointer to open the second half after Matt McCraw's save and assist while falling out of bounds.

The Bulldogs trimmed a 23-point first-half deficit to 15 early in the second half but the Falcons turned up the heat, breaking Georgia's fullcourt press twice with fullcourt passes for rim-rattling buckets. Tim Anderson's breakaway dunk after he picked up a loose ball at midcourt gave Air Force a 72-44 lead with 6:12 left.

McCraw's short jumper gave Air Force a 77-46 lead and the Falcons called timeout with 3:10 left to get the reserves into the game.

Air Force, which snapped a 17-game postseason losing streak with a 75-51 win over Austin Peay last week in the academy's first NIT appearance, allowed just one basket inside the arc in the game's first 13:35 and didn't commit a foul until 6:57 was left in the first half in building a 37-14 lead.

Georgia's 88-78 win over Fresno State was the first in the postseason for the Bulldogs since Dennis Felton took over a program four years ago that was hit with NCAA sanctions for infractions that occurred under former coach Jim Harrick.

Their strong season ended with a thud, however.

Anderson took the opening tip and scored just four seconds into the game and Air Force took the lead for good on Burtschi's 3-pointer two minutes later that sparked a 21-3 run that he capped himself with another 3 that gave Air Force a 25-8 lead over the stunned and already winded Bulldogs.

Georgia's only other game against a service academy came in 1963, a 57-52 loss to Navy.

Air Force coach Jeff Bzdelik, who has said he would listen to overtures from the University of Colorado after the season is over, improved to 49-15 in two seasons at the academy.

This year's team jumped out to a 17-1 start and rose to 13th in the poll, the school's highest ranking ever, before slipping out of NCAA contention losses to UNLV, TCU and BYU to end the regular season and a 67-62 loss to Wyoming in the Mountain West tournament in Las Vegas last week.

The crowd still had some NCAA celebrating to do, however. At halftime, the Falcons hockey team was honored for winning the Atlantic Hockey Association title and earning its first ever NCAA tournament bid.