Air Force left home starting point guard and leading scorer Tre Coggins at home as they departed on a road trip that will take them to Boise State and Nevada. The news was first reported by Brett Briggeman of The Gazette.
Coggins was suspended by head coach Dave Pilipovich for failing to live up to the “standards that we expect out of our cadet athletes”, although he is not kicked off the team and is expected back at practice on Monday.
“It was not an academy decision; it was a men’s basketball program decision,” Pilipovich said. “Sometimes players just have to mature and get through some things and this was for the betterment of the team right now and where we’re at.”
Coggins leads the team in minutes played and averages 17.4 points.
In recent years there have been many examples of servicemen and women surprising family members at sporting events, with their loved ones unaware of the fact that they’ve returned home from active duty. Master Sergeant Chris Campbell, who’s stationed in Tucson at Davis Monthan Air Force base, surprised his wife and two children during a first half media timeout in No. 1 Arizona’s 69-43 win over Southern.
Videos like these will never get old. Welcome home and Happy Holidays, MSgt. Campbell.
Once leading scorer Michael Lyons went down in the early minutes of Air Force’s game Wednesday against UNLV, there wasn’t much the Falcons could do. Lyons injured his knee less than two minutes into the game after turning the ball over, falling to the ground and not getting up for the remainder of the play.
Without Lyons in the lineup, Air Force lost his 18.3 points per game and was unable to contain the Anthony Bennett-led UNLV offense in a 72-56 loss at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
Air Force sports information director Jerry Cross said Lyons had sprained his knee, as reported by SI.com, which kept him out for the game.
The loss officially seals Air Force out of the NCAA tournament, but they will likely make an appearance in the NIT. According to Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com, it is possible that Lyons tore his meniscus, an injury that would keep him sidelined for any sort of postseason play if the injury is ultimately shown to be that severe.
If he is out for the rest of the season, the Falcons would be left with a massive offensive hole that would be difficult to fill. No other player on the team averages double figures in scoring and without Lyons in the lineup for the most part Wednesday, Air Force mustered just 53 points. That was well off its season average of 71 points per game.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_