Air Force shoots past Navy

Air Force 64, Navy 55


Air Force continued its command of Navy last night, as a veteran Falcons team got on top with its three-point shooting and then used a breakout game from a big man to post a 64-55 victory.

The Falcons (5-1) made sure that their seniors never lost to the Midshipmen, as they broke free from an early tie with three straight three-pointers and matched a school record by making 78.9 percent of their field-goal attempts in the second half.

It was never less than a two-possession game in the last 16 minutes, when Air Force repeatedly got free off screens.

John Frye, a 6-foot-10 junior from Fredericksburg, Va., had career highs of 26 points and 33 minutes. He entered with two three-pointers in his career and got three last night as the Mids paid for leaving him unguarded.

Frye played all of 29 minutes in his first two years with the Falcons, when he backed up Nick Welch, who will miss this season with an injury.

"That's a great lesson for players who don't get much time," Falcons coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "The last two years, practices were his games, and he always practiced hard against Nick Welch. He made sure he was ready."

Bzdelik spent the previous 17 seasons working in the NBA. His last college job was at UMBC, in 1988.

Antoine Hood, the only holdover starter from the 2003-04 team that earned Air Force's first berth in the NCAA tournament since 1962, had 14 points.

Army week began the way it will end for Navy, with a hard-nosed, physical contest. Coach Billy Lange lined up a 9 p.m. start with the intention of packing Alumni Hall, but the brass forgot to tell the Midshipmen, who didn't have to report back from Thanksgiving leave until 10 p.m. Attendance was listed at 1,025.

Lange started three freshmen and a sophomore. The Mids (0-3) were still in it midway through the second half before leading scorer Corey Johnson left with a banged-up knee and big man Matt Fannin fouled out. Johnson and Kaleo Kina, one of the plebes, had 14 points apiece.

The teams played nearly 15 minutes before a free throw was shot. Navy couldn't penetrate Air Force's zone for shots or second chances in the first 16 minutes, when it had just one offensive rebound.

The Falcons run a purer version of the Princeton offense than the one Navy saw Georgetown use in a season-opening, 23-point loss. Thanks to its patience, Air Force led the nation in scoring defense each of the past three seasons, when it allowed Navy an average of 45 points.

AIR FORCE-Burtschi 2-9 0-1 4, Nwaelele 2-4 0-0 6, Frye 9-12 5-7 26, McCraw 2-5 5-6 9, Hood 5-8 2-2 14, Henke 0-0 0-0 0, Anderson 2-4 0-0 5. Totals 22-42 12-16 64. NAVY-Green 2-4 0-0 4, Teague 1-3 0-0 3, Reed 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 5-13 2-2 14, Kina 4-8 4-6 14, Sprink 0-0 0-0 0, Colbert 0-0 0-0 0, Hooper 5-10 0-0 11, Brigham 0-1 0-0 0, Baldwin 0-0 0-0 0, Fannin 3-6 1-2 7, Bailey 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 21-47 7-10 55. Half: Air Force, 21-17. 3-point goals: AF 8-20 (Frye 3-6, Nwaelele 2-2, Hood 2-3, Anderson 1-3, Burtschi 0-3, McCraw 0-3); N 6-14 (Kina 2-3, Johnson 2-5, Teague 1-2, Hooper 1-4). Rebounds: AF 25 (Burtschi 10); N 26 (Green, Kina 5). Assists: AF 17 (McCraw, Nwaelele 4); N 12 (Johnson, Kina 4). Total fouls: AF 14, N 16. Fouled out: Fannin. A: 1,025.

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