The series between Colorado State and Air Force has been a spirited one over the years, even with the Rams having won 73 of the 104 meetings. Saturday afternoon’s meeting at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs was an important one for both, with the Falcons looking to make a statement in Mountain West play and Larry Eustachy’s team having lost its last two conference games.
Colorado State looked to be well on its way to a convincing win in the early stages of the second half, leading by as much as 19 and holding a 52-36 lead with 17:35 remaining. However, the events following a Joe DeCiman missed three-pointer changed the tenor of the game. Senior forward J.J. Avila, who finished with 28 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, was called for an offensive foul as he went over the back of Air Force’s Zach Kosur…but that wasn’t all.
Avila lost his balance and fell on top of Kosur, subsequently putting the Air Force forward in a headlock (believing the Kosur brought him to the ground). At that point Air Force guard Matt Mooney came to his teammate’s aid and punched Avila in the back, earning himself an ejection. The officials were able to get the players separated and to their respective benches shortly thereafter.
The final count: four technical fouls (Avila, Mooney, Air Force’s Justin Hammonds and CSU’s Tiel Daniels), one ejection (Mooney) and a combined eight free throws (Max Yon made three of Air Force’s four attempts, and John Gillon did the same for Colorado State). And Colorado State won the game by the final score of 92-87, doing so without senior guard Daniel Bejarano (strep throat).
Video credit: CTV News