Walker leads Air Force into Mountain West Quarterfinals, Beat Fresno State 77-70

LAS VEGAS, Nev. Sophomore guard A.J. Walker scored a career-high 24 points as Air Force defeated Fresno State 77-70 to advance in the 2020 Air Force Reserve Mountain West Men’s Championship Wednesday afternoon at Thomas & Mack Center.

Air Force (12-19) survived Fresno State’s 3-point barrage to advance to the 2020 Air Force Reserve Mountain West Men’s Championship quarterfinal against top-seeded San Diego State. Walker connected on 5-of-7 from 3-point range, while senior forward Lavelle Scottie moved into fourth-place in the school’s all-time career scoring list with 21 points in the contest.

Air Force-Fresno State quick hitters below:

With the win, Air Force advances to the quarterfinals of the 2020 Air Force Reserve Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championship and will take on top-seeded San Diego State. The Falcons are seeking their first-ever quarterfinal win.

For the first time since the MW tournament expanded to its current format in 2014, the Falcons have advanced to back-to-back quarterfinals.

Air Force was led by a career-high 24 points from sophomore guard A.J. Walker, surpassing his previous best of 21 points vs Nevada on Dec. 7, 2019.

Walker was 5-of-7 from 3-point range, setting a new season-high for 3-pointers in a game.

Along with Walker, senior forward Lavelle Scottie had 21 points and six rebounds on 9-of-18 shooting.

With his 21 points, Scottie moved into fourth all-time in school history for career points, passing Michael Lyons (2009-13). Scottie now has 1,540 career points, and is 10 points shy of Tim Harris (1977-81) for third on the school’s all-time list.

Air Force is now 10-0 this season when leading at the half.

Fresno State shot lights out from 3-point range, making 16-of-36 from beyond the arc, including 10-of-21 in the second half. The 16 made 3-pointers are tied for the second most in Mountain West tournament history, which Fresno State also accomplished vs. Air Force in the 2019 tournament.

The Bulldogs hit five-straight 3-pointers, including a four-point play, on five-straight possessions spanning from 8:09 to 4:33 left in the second half. Fresno State trailed Air Force 58-50 before the run began and led 66-64 by the end of it.

Leading the way from 3-point range was senior guard New Williams, who registered 21 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the 3-point line. It was the third time this season that Williams has made at least six 3-pointers in a game.

Fresno State senior forward Nate Grimes recorded his 11th double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds.