LAS VEGAS, Nev. — The 8th-seeded Fresno State men’s basketball team saw its season come to an end Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the Mountain West Tournament, as No. 9 Air Force defeated the Bulldogs 77-70.
The Bulldogs got off to a slow start, and trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, but clawed their way back to within 31-28 at the break.
Early in the second half, after back-to-back 3-pointers from New Williams, the Bulldogs closed the gap to 35-34, but the Falcons would again stretch the lead out to 8 again at 58-50 with about 8 minutes left.
Fresno State made another run late. Senior New Williams made several more 3-pointers, and the Bulldogs briefly took a 66-64 lead on a Nate Grimes 3-pointer with 4:30 left.
Down the stretch though, the Falcons executed better than the Bulldogs, and closed the game on a 13-4 run to finish off the 7-point win.
Williams led the Bulldogs with 21 points, with all six of his made field goals coming from beyond the arc.
Guard A.J. Walker led the Falcons with a game-high 24 points, on 8-of-14 shooting. As a team, the Falcons shot 53.7 percent from the field, including a blistering 60 percent in the second half.
Fresno State made 16 three’s, but the Falcons outscored the Bulldogs 30-to-10 in the paint, despite being undersized compared to the taller Bulldogs.
With the win, Air Force advances to the quarterfinals on Thursday, where the Falcons will battle top-seeded San Diego State at 11:30 a.m.