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Service Academy basketball roundup: Air Force men get signature win at Fresno State

The Falcons won at Fresno State for the first time since 1995. Air Force is in a position to finish above .500 in the Mountain West.

NCAA Basketball: Utah State at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Air Force Falcons men’s basketball team did something this week that it hadn’t done in more than two decades: Win at Fresno State.

Behind 17 points and four rebounds from Caleb Morris, and 15 points, six rebounds and four assists from Scottie Lavelle, the Falcons hung on for a 64-61 victory. It is easily the most impressive win of the season for the Falcons, who are now 11-15 overall and 6-8 in a tough Mountain West.

Consider this: Fresno State is 93rd in the NET rankings, 68th in KenPom, and our friends at Mid-Major Madness ranked them ranked 19th in their latest poll. The Bulldogs had won six of their last eight games.

For head coach Dave Pilipovich, it was the first time his Falcons had beaten a team that was second or better in the Mountain West standings.

Air Force accomplished the feat in part due to smothering defense. The Falcons held the Bulldogs to just 20 points in the first half, which is the fewest scored by the Bulldogs in a half this season. In all, Fresno State shot just 35.1 percent from the floor and 38.7 percent from three-point range. Fresno also coughed up possession 15 times.

With four conference games remaining, Air Force has the chance to reach the .500 mark in Mountain West play. Three of those teams — San Jose State, Wyoming and Boise State — Air Force has already beaten this season. Getting a win against the fourth team, Nevada, will be a tall order.

But if Air Force wins two or three games remaining on its schedule, the Falcons have an opportunity to roll into the Mountain West tournament with some momentum.

Men’s Basketball

Navy: 9-17; 6-9 Patriot League
Last time out: 70-79 loss to Loyola (Md.)
Stats leader: George Kiernan – 18 points, 8 rebounds
Next up: at Colgate, Feb. 23

Army: 12-16; 7-8 Patriot League
Last time out: 81-91 loss to Lehigh
Stats leader: Tommy Funk – 26 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds
Next up: vs. American, Feb. 24

Women’s Basketball

Air Force: 8-17; 4-10 Mountain West
Last time out: 70-77 loss to Fresno State
Stats leader: Kaelin Immel – 22 points, 3 rebounds
Next up: at San Jose State, Feb. 23

Navy: 10-14; 5-9 Patriot League
Last time out: 65-53 win over Lafayette
Stats leader: Jennifer Coleman – 16 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists
Next up: at Boston, Feb. 23

Army: 11-14; 6-8 Patriot League
Last time out: 60-53 win over Holy Cross
Stats leader: Madison Hovren – 21 points, 12 rebounds, 2 assists
Next up: at Lehigh, Feb. 23