AIR FORCE: Getting Inside

AFA Coach Jeff Reynolds        (AP)

The common theme about Air Force's season is that injuries and adversity never seem to stop. Taylor Broekhuis became the 10th player to start a game this season for the Falcons when center Mike McLain missed the Jan. 13 contest against Brigham Young due to a concussion.

By coach Jeff Reynolds' count, McLain is the sixth Air Force player to suffer a concussion this season. And he doesn't have a guess for why that many have occurred.
"Those are issues as a coach that you try to understand that it's part of the game," said Reynolds, "and you try to get your younger kids ready. With that many concussions in one year, and the year's not even over, at this point in time we're trying to focus on the kids that are available and try to put our best foot forward."
Concussions haven't been the only ailments to slow the Falcons. Leading scorer Grant Parker has been sidelined for a month with a groin injury, and starting forward Taylor Stewart suffered a broken wrist.
The disarray has kept Air Force from putting its complete team on the court at any one time, and the Falcons finally fell to .500 with an 18-point loss to BYU that dropped them to 8-8 overall and 0-3 in Mountain West Conference games.
In the first three conference games, the most points a Falcon scored in a contest was 11 -- twice by backup forward Mike Fitzgerald and once by Broekhuis. The only other Air Force player to reach double figures was backup forward Derek Brooks, who scored 10 against BYU.

--The Falcons have been consistently poor on offense during Mountain West play, averaging 49 points per outing. They scored 50 against Texas Christian and 48 against Colorado State before tallying 49 in the contest against BYU.
--Air Force has lost nine consecutive Mountain West home games over the past two seasons. The Falcons were 35-5 at home during the 2004-08 conference seasons.
ON THE SPOT: Junior G Evan Washington has to pick up his play if the Falcons are to be competitive during Mountain West Conference play. In three conference games, Washington has averaged 4.7 points, shot 26.1 percent from the field and committed nine turnovers. Washington averaged 12.5 points and shot 52.6 percent during Air Force's 13 nonconference games.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We had a lot of open looks, but the ball just didn't go down. Our effort was really good, but the ball just didn't go in the basket. When you shoot 22 percent (in the second half), you're not going to beat too many teams, particularly teams in the top 20." -- Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds, on his team's poor shooting during a 67-49 loss to then-No. 18 Brigham Young.

SEASON RECAP: Air Force has lost six of nine games since its schedule started including names like Washington State and Texas-El Paso and hasn't come close to winning any of its three conference games. It hasn't helped matters that the Falcons have been hard-hit by injuries to go with a dearth of overall talent.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Tom Fow, C Mike McLain, G Michael Lyons, G Todd Fletcher, G Evan Washington. Key Subs -- F Mike Fitzgerald, C Taylor Broekhuis, G Avery Merriex, G Shawn Hempsey, F Derek Brooks, F Zach Bohannon.
TCU 59, Air Force 50
Colorado State 70, Air Force 48
Brigham Young 67, Air Force 49

vs. New Mexico, Wednesday, Jan. 20
at Utah, Saturday, Jan. 23
at UNLV, Tuesday, Jan. 26
vs. Wyoming, Saturday, Jan. 30
at San Diego State, Tuesday, Feb. 2
IN FOCUS: Air Force plays three of its next five games on the road, which makes it harder to squeak out that first conference victory. The Jan. 30 home game against Wyoming looks like the Falcons' best chance of notching its initial league win.

--Senior F Grant Parker (groin) hasn't played since early December and has been sidelined for nine games entering the Jan. 20 game vs. New Mexico.
--Sophomore C Sammy Schafer has missed 13 consecutive games entering this week. Schafer hasn't played since suffering a concussion in late November.
--Senior C Mike McLain had started every game this season prior to missing the Brigham Young game with a concussion suffered on Jan. 9 against Colorado State. Recommended Stories