The Fresno State men's basketball team needs to win one of its final two games for a chance at the No. 7 seed and an automatic spot in Quarterfinals of the upcoming Reese's Mountain West Basketball Championships.
Garrett Johnson is one of four of the Bulldogs' seniors, who will play their final game at the Save Mart Center on Saturday night.
Game 28 Air Force (16-10, 7-6 MW) at Fresno State (9-18, 3-11 MW) March 2, 2013 7 p.m. PT Fresno, Calif. (Save Mart Center - 15,596)
TV: None Live Video/Audio: www.GoBulldogs.com/allaccess
Radio: KMJ 580 AM (Paul Loeffler & Randy Rosenbloom - English)
ESPN Deportes 1600 AM (Spanish)
Series record: Fresno State leads 9-5 (overall) & 5-2 (games played in Fresno)
Last Meeting: AFA 62, FS 50 - Jan. 30, 2013 (USAFA - Clune Arena)
This is the 15th meeting between Fresno State and Air Force.
Bulldogs' junior guard Tyler Johnson is averaging a team-best 13.2 points in Mountain West play, and 12.0 points per game for the season.
Fresno State is second in the Mountain West in steals/game (7.4 spg), 3-point field goal defense (30.0%) and total steals (201).
Inside the Numbers
This season, Fresno State has a +64 (+2.4/gm) steal margin (201-137).
Under Terry, Fresno State has a +162 steal margin (444-282) by averaging 7.4 steals per game and a +2.7 steal edge per contest over 60 games.
This season, Fresno State owns a +68 points off TOs margin (393-325).
Under Terry, Fresno State has committed fewer turnovers than or the same number of turnovers as its opponents in 48 of 60 games.
Fresno State Hosts Air Force In Last Home Game
Fresno State (9-18, 3-11 Mountain West) hosts Air Force (16-10, 7-6 MW) on Saturday night at 7 p.m. PT inside the Save Mart Center. The game will be broadcast live on KMJ 580 AM and available for viewing online through www.GoBulldogs.com/AllAccess (subscription required).
Stretch Run Gives 'Dogs Chance at No. 7 Seed
With the 2013 Reese's Mountain West Basketball Championships quickly approaching, the Bulldogs' final regular season games will be crucial for seeding as the No. 8 and 9 seeds open on Tuesday, March 12, while the top seven seeds begin Quarterfinal play on Wednesday, March 13. The tournament champion receives the league's automatic NCAA Tournament bid. Fresno State needs to win at least one of its last two games for a chance to pass Wyoming and Nevada for the No. 7 seed.
About The Air Force Falcons
Air Force is tied for fifth in the Mountain West standings with a 7-6 record against MW opponents, but AFA owns just a 1-5 road record in league play. The Falcons can still enter the MW Basketball Championships as high as the No. 2 seed with AFA just two games back of Colorado State (currently 2nd). Air Force, who is 16-10 on the season and received votes in both national polls earlier in the year, will more than likely need to win the MW's automatic bid to reach the NCAA Tournament, but appear headed to postseason play in either the NIT, CBI or CIT in late March. The Falcons' Mychal Lyons leads the MW in scoring (18.6 ppg).
Against The Air Force Falcons
Fresno State leads the all-time series with Air Force 9-5 with a 5-2 advantage in games played in Fresno. This is the first meeting in Fresno between the schools since the Bulldogs beat the Falcons 68-52 in a non-conference game at Selland Arena in 2001. The Bulldogs have won three consecutive home games versus the Falcons. The teams squared off earlier in MW play on Jan. 30 when Air Force soared to a 62-50 victory at the USAFA.
Senior Night Recognizes Four Bulldogs
Prior to Saturday's game, Fresno State will honor its four graduating seniors in a pre-game ceremony: Jerry Brown III, Brad Ely, Kevin Foster and Garrett Johnson. The four have combined to play in 264 games, earn 100 starts, score 1,442 points, grab 874 rebounds, record 51 double-digit scoring games and post eight double-doubles.
Jerry Brown III (Redshirt Junior, Forward, 4 Years at Fresno State)
Brad Ely (Senior, Guard, 2 Years at Fresno State)
Kevin Foster (Senior, Forward, 2 Years at Fresno State)
Garrett Johnson (Senior, Guard, 4 Years at Fresno State)
Terry Turns Up the Pressure, Exploits Takeaways
The relentless defensive pressure that Terry expects from his squad has held opponents to just 41.9 percent shooting (563-of-1343) from the field and 30.0 percent 3-point shooting (120-of-400). Fresno State has forced an average of 13.7 turnovers per game (369 total) and own a +68 points off turnover margin (393-325), as well as a +64 steal margin (201-137).
Bulldogs Play with Aggressive Defensive Tenacity
Fresno State has held opponents to an average of 61.8 points per game, The 'Dogs have limited 20 of their 27 opponents under 70 points and kept opponents under 60 points 12 times, and two opponents under 40 points.
Valuing the Basketball
One of Rodney Terry's points of emphasis is the importance of valuing the basketball. Since Terry's arrival, Fresno State has not committed more turnovers than its opponents in 48 of the 60 games, including 43 of those 60 games where the 'Dogs made fewer turnovers than its opponents.
'Dogs Second MW in Guarding the 3-point Arc
Fresno State is second in the Mountain West and ranks in the Top 30 nationally in 3-point field goal defense by limiting opponents to a 30 percent clip from the beyond the 3-point arc this season.
Fresno State, Nevada and New Mexico have each played two overtime games in 2012-13. Air Force and UNLV share the Mountain West record (five) for most overtime contests in a single season (both in 2001-02). The MW record for most overtime games in Conference-only contests is four, shared by UNLV (2001-02) and New Mexico (2006-07).
Mountain West RPI Ranks as One of the Best in the Country
The Mountain West is ranked second in conference RPI through games of Feb. 24, marking the third straight year the league has been among the top five. The Mountain West has ranked fifth in each of the last two seasons. Seven of the nine Mountain West teams are ranked in the top 75 of the Feb. 25 NCAA RPI rankings, marking the highest percentage (.778) of any conference in the country. In addition, the MW is the only conference with all of its teams ranked in the top 160 of the RPI, and joins the Big East and Big Ten as the only three conferences with at least three teams in the RPI top 15.