If we learned anything from this past week of basketball, it is that the Air Force Falcons are for real and they’re here to stay.
On Saturday, they won the Silver Star by dominating Army by a score of 76-58. They led by 32 at halftime and never trailed. The win was its seventh straight, tying the longest win streak in Colorado Springs since 2007.
Another winning streak was extended to five as Navy took care of business on the other side of the country, beating William & Mary by 19 on Tuesday. Every single game in that stretch has been a comfortable double-digit win for the Midshipmen.
Heading into finals week, the academies will play five games. Let’s see how the academies do with multiple tests on hand.
- Siena 83, Army 67
- Navy 75, William & Mary 56
- Air Force 76, Army 58
- SUNY Purchase vs Army — 6 p.m. (ESPN+)
- Navy vs George Mason — 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
- Air Force vs Montana — 9 p.m. (ESPN+)
- Army vs NJIT — 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
- Navy vs Marist — 2 p.m. (ESPN3)
The Falcons squeezed out a couple of close results out over the last couple of weeks to win six straight, but Saturday was nowhere near that. They dominated Army from start to finish, 76-58 to push to its best start since the 2007 season.
It was like they were playing with a fire lit under their asses. They started the game on a 9-0 run, but a 23-0 run going into the 6:30 mark of the first half was what told the story.
At halftime, the Falcons led by a score of 45-13. They would lead by as much as 33 in that first half.
A.J. Walker had 21 of his 23 points in that half, as they held the Black Knights to 4-25 from the field.
“He’s always known he’s a good player, but now it’s like, he knows he’s a good player,” Air Force head coach Joe Scott said postgame, “It’s so efficient, there’s no rushing of anything, there’s no forcing of anything.”
Ethan Taylor would follow that with 15 points in the Falcons' second straight win against Army. Taylor was two rebounds and two assists away from the first double-double in Air Force basketball history.
When asked if he’ll ever do it for the Falcons, he said, “We gonna make it happen.”
The Falcons look to continue its their win streak as they visit one of the favorites in the Big Sky, Montana, on Wednesday.
Navy took care of business again, keeping another opponent under 60 points. They beat William & Mary on Wednesday by a score of 75-56. It was the Mids' fifth win in a row.
The first half was close, but the big difference that gave the Midshipmen a slight lead at the break was capitalizing off turnovers. They scored 18 points off 10 Tribe turnovers, taking a 36-18 lead at the break.
Out of the break, Navy would take its first double-digit lead of the game with a 12-0 run. They excelled from there, winning by 19 and leading by as much as 21.
“I am happy we have won five (straight) games, sure. I’m trying to improve every game. We have a chance to be a really good basketball team long-term,” Navy head coach Ed DeChellis said.
They played their patented defense once again, as the Tribe only made 19 shots from the field while shooting 5-of-18 from behind the arc.
“One of the keys coach has been focusing on is defense,” said Jaylen Walker, “Some games our three-ball is not going in and sometimes we have stretches where we might struggle to score, but we can always come back to our defense. We don’t let our offense dictate our defense. We pride ourselves on our defense anchoring us.”
Navy will continue to try and drop the anchor as they visit George Mason and Marist this week.
George Mason, as many people in the DMV know, upset Maryland earlier this season. Marist is coming off a battle with Iona, who upset Alabama.
It will be a week of tests before they put pen-to-paper next week.
For the first time this season, the Army Black Knights have lost consecutive games.
It began on Tuesday, but it began well for the Black Knights. They went on a 19-3 run in the first half, taking a 33-28 lead over the Saints at the break.
They shot an amazing 52% from the field, but the three-point ball was absent as they went 0-3 from behind the arc. They would finish the day 3-13 from that area.
Out of the break, Siena would go on a 13-0 run, taking a double-digit lead, as the Black Knights offense became absent. The Saints would outscore Army by a tally of 55-34 in the second half, as the Black Knights would ultimately lose the game by a score of 83-67.
“We didn’t do a very good job defensively. They were able to spread us out and we got away from our principles. They got momentum (in the second half) and we didn’t shoot the ball well when that happened,” Army head coach Jimmy Allen said.
On Saturday, the offense just seemed to get worse for Army. They scored a total of 12 first-half points against Air Force and would finish the day shooting 34.7%.
“They came out ready to go, and we were not. Air Force was comfortable, and we didn’t put the d pressure on them that we needed to. Offensively we did a poor job sharing the ball and making them have to defend us,” said Allen.
It was a strong second-half finish for the Black Knights, winning it by a score of 45-31, but no cigar. Jalen Rucker followed up his 19-point performance on Tuesday with a 17 point performance on Sunday.
The Black Knights will look to break their slide with a game against Div. III SUNY Purchase on Tuesday. On Friday, they will travel to Newark to play NJIT. The Highlanders are coming off a double-overtime victory over Lafayette where Dylan O’Hearn scored a school-record 42 points.
It seems like another good week for some quality wins. Ken Pomeroy has the academies going 2-3 this week, with the only win outside of the Army victory over SUNY Purchase being Navy against Marist. I personally think they could do much better than that.