Hats off to first-place Air Force

Air Force hasn't had much to celebrate of late, but the Falcons downed Utah last night 77-69 last night, marking only the program's second Mountain West Conference win in the past three seasons.

The Falcons are 10-4 after going through a mid-November overtime loss to Division III Colorado College that one local writer called "a catastrophe." To make matters worse for coach Jeff Reynolds, athletic director Hans Mueh didn't disagree that it was a catastrophe and essentially put Reynolds on the hot seat in an interview with The Gazette.

"I don’t like changing coaching staffs once a season has started, midway through or whatever," Mueh said. "I just don’t believe in that. I don't think that's good for the players, I don't think that's good for the coaching staff, etc.

"Having said that, we're just going to have to watch this. And watch it from the standpoint of, I want these players to go out and have fun playing the game. If it starts to get to a point where this is affecting morale and their heads are hanging, then we're going to have to do something. Because that’s not fair to them."

Reynolds' team responded by winning six of its next seven games and last night surprised a struggling Utah team that was without coach Jim Boylen due to a family issue.

The injury-plagued Falcons matched the win total of each of their previous two seasons, getting career-high performances with Michael Lyons' 26 points and Evan Washington's 11 assists.

"I don't know if it tells us anything but that we've grown," Reynolds told The Gazette after the game. "I don't know if it tells we’re going to win any more games or not."

But at least the usually bottom-dwelling Falcons are putting up a fight.