Michael Lyons scored a game-high 26 points to lead Air Force to a 65-49 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff Saturday afternoon at Clune Arena. With the victory, Air Force improved to 7-2, while the Golden Lions fell to 1-8.
Lyons began an 18-0 Falcon run with one of his three 3-pointers to cut UAPB's lead to 35-33 with 17:01 remaining in the second half. At the 14:51 mark, Kyle Green sank a 3-pointer to give Air Force its first lead at 37-35 and DeLovell Earls capped the run with two free throws that put AFA ahead 48-35 at the 10:46 mark.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff cut the lead to 48-43 with 7:20 remaining on a jumper by Davon Haynes, but the Falcons reeled off six straight points to put the game out of reach.
The Golden Lions jumped out to an early 12-0 lead, sinking five of their first seven shots. The Falcons, meanwhile, missed their first five shots, four of the from 3-point range, and finally got on the board at the 15:33 mark thanks to a Todd Fletcher jumper.
"I think we came in seeing their record and seeing where they have been and thinking we could just walk out there and perform," said Air Force head coach Dave Pilipovich. "We get down 10-0 and call a time out and told them there is no reset button. This is not a video game, you can't restart. We need to get after it."
Lyons kept Air Force in the game, scoring 15 of his team's 25 points in the first half. The Golden Lions held a 31-25 lead at the break thanks to eight points from Mitchell Anderson and Lazabian Jackson. Neither player scored a point in the second half.
"I told him (Lyons) I need you," said Pilipovich. "We need you to step up and lead this team. He's always going to give you points, but he was very aggressive defensively and he was active on the ball. He made some scoring opportunities for other guys."
Mike Fitzgerald added 13 points for Air Force while Taylor Broekhuis pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Marek Olesinski tied his career-high with six boards and Todd Fletcher posted game-highs of five assists and four steals.
Haynes led UAPB with 18 points and nine rebounds. The Golden Lions committed 21 turnovers and shot just 33 percent from the field in the second half.
The Falcons are idle for two weeks before traveling to UC Riverside on Saturday, Dec. 22 beginning at 1 p.m. (PT). >