Air Force scores 79-68 win over Army

 Photo by P. Casey-USA TODAY Sports
Photo by P. Casey-USA TODAY Sports

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LEXINGTON, Va. – The Army men’s basketball team started its 2013-14 season with a 79-68 loss to Air Force in the first game of the All-Military Classic presented by USAA at VMI. Freshman Tanner Omlid made his career debut with a team-high 18 points, including four three-pointers.

The Black Knights could not overcome a rough afternoon from the field, shooting 33.8 percent (23-68) overall and 27.3 percent (12-44) from behind the three-point line. Army’s 44 three-point attempts were a program record. The previous mark was 36 set on Nov. 22, 2011 versus Bryant.

Army led by two points at the half and by as many as nine with just more than 13 minutes remaining, but Air Force used a 32-10 run to take a 13-point lead, its largest of the game, with 3:36 left. Army got as close as eight for the remainder of the game.

Kyle Wilson joined Omlid in double figures with 10 points. Larry Toomey had a team-high nine rebounds, while Wilson, Maxwell Lenox and Tanner Plomb each had three assists.

Tre Coggins led the Falcons with 20 points, while Kamryn Williams posted a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Max Yon scored 12 points, including a run of nine straight, during the decisive run. Darrius Parker also added 12 points. The Falcons outrebounded Army 40-30 to help overcome 18 turnovers.

Air Force jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead on a pair of three-pointers less than two minutes into the game. Army answered with a 13-3 run to claim a 15-9 advantage with 12:16 left in the half. Omlid scored four during the run which was capped by Herbeck’s first three-pointer of the game. After an Air Force basket ended the Falcons’ three-minute, 44-second scoring drought, Omlid buried his first career three-pointer to push Army’s lead to 18-11 with 9:13 showing on the first-half clock.

Three-pointers by Coggins and Jorgensen bookended a 13-2 Air Force run that flipped the lead back to the Falcons at 24-21 with 6:02 to go in the opening stanza. Air Force led 26-23 with 5:32 left when Omlid tied the game with a three-pointer that jumpstarted a 702 Army run to end the half. Toomey’s layup with 1:04 left were the final points of the half, sending Army into the locker room with a 30-28 edge.

The Black Knights held the Falcons without a field goal during the final six minutes, two seconds of the first half. Air Force scored its last four points before halftime from the free throw line.

Army’s defense helped overcome the Black Knights’ tough half from the field.  The Black Knights forced 10 Air Force turnovers to help offset a 12-for-35 (.343) half that included a 6-for-22 (.273) showing from behind the three-point line. Omlid led the Black Knights with 10 points in his first collegiate half.   Coggins paced the Falcons with 10 points as well.

Plomb opened the half with a three-pointer to stretch Army’s lead to five points and start a 15-8 spurt to start the half. Lenox’s career-best second three-pointer put Army on top 45-36 with 13:18 to go. Two free throws by Parker ignited the Falcons’ game-winning run. Army still led 47-40 when Yon converted a four-point play, broke free for a fastbreak dunk and drilled another three-pointer that tied the game at 49-49. Williams’s basket with 10:08 left gave the Falcons the lead for good.

A three-pointer by Omlid pulled Army within five points with 7:40 left, but Air Force scored seven of the next nine points to push their lead to double figures for the first time.

Army will play in the consolation game on Saturday evening. The Black Knights will face either the host Keydets or The Citadel at 6 p.m. The game will be streamed live by ESPN3.

Game Notes: Friday’s game represented a homecoming for juniors Maxwell Lenox and Mo Williams … both players hail from Fairfax, Va., approximately 175 miles from Lexington … Army assistant coach Jimmy Allen attended Emory & Henry, which is located roughly 165 miles from Lexington in Emory, Va. … Friday’s game marked Army’s first game at VMI since Zach Spiker’s first game as head coach on Nov. 13, 2009 … Dylan Cox started his team-high 32nd straight game … Toomey’s nine rebounds were a career high … Ferguson blocked four shots to move into a tie for 10th place with David Aardayfio on Army’s all-time list (39) … Army defeated VMI in last season’s All-Military Classic consolation game.

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