Air Force MBB Unable To Overcome Utah State In 79-62 Setback

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LOGAN, Utah Air Force men’s basketball (5-9, 0-2) dropped a 79-62 contest at Utah State (11-4, 1-1) Saturday night in a Mountain West contest at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Sophomore Keaton Van Soelen led the Falcons with 16 points.

A high-scoring first half by the Aggies, highlighted by a 12-0 run, had the Falcons trailing 44-28 at halftime. Air Force fought back in the second half, getting to within nine points with under 12 points to play. The early Utah State lead was too big a hurdle to overcome however.

The Falcons, playing even more undersized with forward Ryan Swan sitting out the game due to injury, were out-rebounded 39-19 on the night. Utah State also shot 55.8 percent from the field, making 11 three’s.

Van Soelen went 6 of 8 from the field and 4 of 5 from three point range, setting career-highs in points and three’s made. The guard also led the team with four rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

Junior Lavelle Scottie added 14 points and three rebounds. Scottie went 5 of 19 from the floor, giving him 46 shot attempts in his last two games.

Freshman AJ Walker and Chris Joyce were inserted into the starting lineup after primarily playing reserve roles most of the season. Walker scored nine points and dished out three assists. Joyce scored six points and added two rebounds.

Senior Pervis Louder led the bench with eight points and a team-high five assists. Louder shot 3 of 4 from the field, adding a three point bucket.

Guard Sam Merrill and center Neemias Queta recorded double-doubles to lead Utah State. Merrill scored 18 points and dished out 12 assists. Queta scored 13 and pulled down 10 rebounds.

Air Force shot 39.3 percent from the field on the night and a respectable 80 percent from the free throw line. The Falcons did a good job of taking care of the ball, committing a season-low nine turnovers.

Air Force returns to action Tuesday, Jan. 8 at Colorado State. Tip time at Moby Arena in Fort Collins is 7 pm MT. The game will be televised by AT&T SportsNet.