Saturday, February 16, 2013 7:23 pm
Green lifts No. 24 Colorado St. past Air Force
By NEAL REIDAssociated Press
The Rams led 82-72 with 1:05 remaining, but the Falcons pulled within four twice in the final minute. Michael Lyons hit a 3-pointer for Air Force with 2 seconds left, but Colorado State inbounded the ball without incident to close the game.
The Rams (21-4, 8-2 Mountain West) have won eight of nine and dropped the Falcons to 11-2 at Clune Arena. All five starters finished in double figures for CSU, with Pierce Hornung getting 13 points and 16 rebounds.
Air Force (15-9, 6-5) trailed 75-72 with 3:29 left, but the Rams used a 7-0 run during the next two minutes to pull away. The Falcons fell to 3-79 all-time against ranked teams after defeating 22nd-ranked San Diego State 70-67 on Dec. 2.
Lyons, the conference's leading scorer, had a career-high 45 points on 17-for-25 shooting - the highest scoring total in conference play this season, the most by a Falcons player in a league game, and the most in Air Force history since Bob Beckel had a school-record 50 against Arizona on Feb. 28, 1959. Todd Fletcher added 11 points.
Colorado State outrebounded Air Force 39-23 and had 18 second-chance points.
Wes Eikmeier had 19 points despite 3-of-10 shooting from 3-point range, but came through down the stretch for the Rams with seven points in the final 2:57. Greg Smith had 16 points, with Colton Iverson adding 15.
Air Force has lost three of its last four and dropped to 5-1 at home in conference play. Its 86 points were the most in a losing effort since a 114-87 loss to Texas Christian on Jan. 21, 2000.
Both teams shot over 53 percent from the field, and the Rams scored 26 points from the free-throw line while limiting Air Force to just 12 free-throw attempts.
Air Force led 23-19 midway through the first half, but the Rams used their size to build a 21-5 rebounding advantage in the first 20 minutes and took a 48-40 lead at the break.