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Miami Edged by Air Force 57-53

Miami Edged by Air Force 57-53

Nov. 14, 2005

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SEATTLE (AP) – Antoine Hood scored seven of his game-high 22 points in the last three minutes and Dan Nwaelele drilled a pair of clutch free throws with 1 second left to rally Air Force, as many as nine points down in the second half, to a 57-53 upset of Miami Monday night in the semifinals of the Black Coaches Association Classic.

Air Force (2-0) beat an ACC team for the first time in seven tries since the program began in 1956 to advance to Tuesday night’s championship game to host Washington, a 87-54 winner over Wisconsin-Green Bay in Tuesday’s earlier semifinal.

Miami (1-1) and considered a contender for an NCAA tournament, if not the top of the ACC, falls into the third-place game against Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Hurricanes preseason All-ACC guard Guillermo Diaz scored 15 points for Miami but missed a desperate, deep three-point shot inside the final minute. Anthony King also had 15, including 11 in the second half that kept the Falcons at bay – but only briefly.

Air Force, returning three starters from an 18-12 team last season and debuting former Denver Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik, played its game: Slow tempo and three-point shots. The Falcons, who led the nation in scoring defense the last three seasons and held foes to an average of 54.3 points per game in 2004-05, took 25 three-pointers Monday.

They made only eight. But Hood was 4 for 6 from deep. His three-point basket from four steps behind the experimental 21-foot, six-inch arc with 2:07 left gave his team a 49-47 lead, after it had trailed since the first minute of the game and by as many as nine in the second half.

Center John Frye’s basket underneath with 1:01 remaining pushed Air Force’s edge to 51-47.

Air Force had trimmed the an eight-point Hurricane lead to one late in the first half, on three-point play by Jacob Burtschi. But Diaz’s rainbow three-pointer at the halftime buzzer pushed that lead back to six, 27-21.

That lead doubled at the 15:18 mark of the second half, when Denis Clemente nailed a three-point shot to put Miami up 35-23. But then Hood zoomed Air Force to the upset with 18 of his 22 points in the second half.