Marek Olesinski scored 20 points and Max Yon added 14 points and a career-high seven assists to lead Air Force past Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 67-64, Sunday afternoon in a non-conference game at Clune Arena.
The Falcons struggled to get started for the second straight game and found themselves down by as many as 12 points in the first half and trailed 38-29 at halftime. An 11-1 run midway through the second half gave the team its first lead, 51-49, with 7:44 remaining. The lead was Air Force’s first since the opening minutes of the game. The game featured six lead changes and two ties from that point until the Falcons took the lead for good, 62-61, on two free throws by Yon, who scored eight of the team’s final 11 points. He later added a dunk and a pair of free throws with 16.5 seconds left to put the Falcons up 66-62. Arkansas-Pine Bluff scored with 4.7 second left to cut the lead to two, but a free throw with 1.8 second left by freshman Darrius Parker sealed it.
Parker tied his career high with 12 points and pulled down a career-best seven rebounds while Justin Hammonds added 11 points and six rebounds for the Falcons. Parker logged a career-high 26 minutes while Olesinski played all 40 and finished hitting seven-of-10 field goals, including a six-of-eight clip from 3-point territory. Air Force finished the game hitting 42.2 percent from the field, including nine-of-21 from 3-poing range. The team also hit 20-of-26 from the free throw line, including five of the last six in the final 1:29 of the game.
Marcel Mosley scored 16 points to lead Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Davon Haynes added 13 points and Jaylon Floyd 10. Arkansas-Pine Bluff hit 43.4 percent from the field and forced 15 turnovers while collecting 12 steals.
“They didn’t attack as much in the second half and we wanted to drive the ball and it helped us out,” said Air Force head coach Dave Pilipovich. “We were just kind of stuck in sand there at the start of the game, but we got better energy in the second half. Max driving the ball was the key for us getting going.”
The Falcons improved to 2-2 with the win while UAPB falls to 2-2. The Falcons return to action Wednesday at 7 p.m. vs. Colorado Christian.