Air Force Falls to Roddy and the Rams, 73-53
Veteran Colorado State team too much for Joe Scott’s Falcons
Falcons Fall to 5-2 on the season at Clune Arena
The Falcons faced a tall order when 15-1 Colorado State arrived for their 12 o’clock matchup on Saturday; despite that, Air Force came in confident off a solid win against UNLV earlier in the week and a chance to keep the ball rolling against a team they nearly beat last time out. Ultimately, Niko Medved’s squad proved too much for the young Falcons team to bear, losing 73-53.
Initially, the game looked close as Air Force’s superstar freshman Ethan Taylor popped off for two of Air Force’s early scores. In fact, game management by the Air Force squad had kept the combined score of both teams to 20 into the first ten minutes of the game, but the Falcons soon fell behind and stayed behind following a 13-1 point span led by the Rams just before the half.
Unsurprisingly, the brunt of the offensive barrage for the Rams was the combined play of David Roddy and Isaiah Stevens. It was clear that defending Roddy was a point of emphasis for the Falcons as they doubled him on multiple occasions, but Roddy’s vision allowed him to dump the ball to prolific scorer Stevens with success. Stevens led the team in scoring with 19 points, shooting an impressive 8-10 from the field. Roddy, not to be outdone, contributed in other ways besides his 14 total points with 9 rebounds, 3 steals, and a block. To put it plainly, Roddy is a bad man. At one point, he rose up and slammed down a dunk in front of Air Force’s 6’10” center, Lucas Moerman. The dunk was thrown down with such ferocity that Moerman clearly entered into fight or flight mode, and emerged much the wiser for choosing flight. If it were to have been witnessed by a friendlier crowd, the dunk would have been received with a riot rather than the utter silence a shocked Falcon crowd had to offer. Additionally, John Tonje’s 15 points showed why many consider him to be the best sixth man in the Mountain West. As a team, the Rams shot an admirable 57% from the field.
Where the Rams shone shooting the ball, the Falcons floundered. The key difference in the game came down to not turnovers, not rebounds, but a 33% field goal percentage. The most condemnatory stat line for Air Force, however, is shooting 8-18 from the line. Saturday’s shooting for Air Force was uncharacteristic to say the least; on the season the Falcons have shot nearly 45% from the field and 62% from the line. Freshman guard Jake Heidbreder arose as the Falcons’ lone silver-lining from the day, logging 16 points. Heidbreder played with staggering confidence and vision for such a young player, making several hard drives to the basket and picking up 3 assists as well. The loss brings Air Force to 9-8 on the year and 2-4 in conference play, but should have a nice chance to bounce back against a struggling San Jose State team on Tuesday.
Currently, Colorado State sits amongst Auburn and Arizona as one of the only three remaining one-loss teams in NCAA Div-1 basketball. Next up for the Rams is a chance to continue their 4-game win streak against prolific scorer, Grant Sherfield, and the Nevada Wolfpack. Keep an eye on CSU, they have the looks of a team that could achieve great things in and for the Mountain West later this spring.
Hunter Zaniewski is a rookie reporter for MW Wire. He covers Air Force Hoops and is an avid champion of Mountain West Athletics.
Air Force Basketball, Colorado State Basketball