FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — Isaiah Stevens scored 15 points as No. 20 Colorado State remained undefeated by shrugging off some rust following a nearly month-long layoff due to COVID-19 concerns and holding off short-handed Air Force 67-59 on Tuesday night.
The Rams (11-0, 1-0 Mountain West) have captured 11 in a row to match the 1988-89 NCAA Tournament team for the second-longest winning streak in school history. The top mark was 14 straight by the 2014-15 squad.
David Roddy added 13 points and 12 rebounds for Colorado State, which played for the first time since a 66-63 win over Mississippi State on Dec. 11. The Rams had two games canceled (Tulsa and Alabama) due to virus concerns within the program and another postponed (New Mexico).
Colorado State was out of rhythm early on and fell behind 7-0 to a young Air Force team missing six players — three starters — because of virus protocols, including the team’s leading scorer, A.J. Walker. The Rams went on a 14-0 run late in the first half to grab the lead.
But the Falcons (8-5, 1-1) kept it close. They were a a 19 1/2-point underdog, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, but they slowed down the Rams by running the shot clock to close to zero with their constant motion and screens on the offensive end. Air Force tied it at 48 on a 3-pointer by Carter Murphy with 10:48 remaining.
The turning point was a four-point play by John Tonje, which gave the Rams a late cushion. Roddy sealed it on an emphatic dunk with 53.1 seconds remaining.
The Falcons used just six players, with Jake Heidbreder — the reigning Mountain West freshman of the week — Camden Vander Zwaag and Ethan Taylor playing all 40 minutes.
Taylor led the Falcons with 19 points. Air Force finished 10 of 21 from 3-point range.
Air Force: The Falcons fell to 4-87 against ranked opponents. Their last win over a ranked squad was on March 9, 2013 over No. 12 New Mexico. They were looking for their first road win over a ranked team.
Colorado State: This win should help keep the streak going — the Rams have been ranked for four straight weeks in the AP poll for the first time in program history.
AROUND THE RIM
Stevens became the 32nd member of Colorado State’s 1,000-point club for his career. … Air Force football coach Troy Calhoun sat a few rows behind the Falcons’ bench. … Colorado State coach Niko Medved improved to 7-0 against Air Force.
Air Force: Hosts UNLV on Saturday.
Colorado State: Is scheduled to play at Boise State on Friday. Boise State had its game Tuesday at Utah State postponed due to COVID-19 concerns within the Broncos’ program.
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