The Air Force Falcons may have a standout player in guard Tre’ Coggins, but the Falcons are going to need other players to step up if they are going to keep pace in the Mountain West Conference this college basketball season.
That fact was never more on display than on Sunday afternoon as the Falcons hosted No. 13 San Diego State in one of the biggest home conference games for Air Force this season. The Aztecs came in undefeated in conference play, while a win would have lifted the Falcons into third place in the conference with a 3-1 record.
Coggins certainly did his part. The 6-foot-2 sophomore from California scored 29 points, his second-highest total of the season, but it wasn’t enough to lift the Falcons past the Aztecs, as San Diego State took a 79-72 lead to move to 14-1, 3-0 in the MWC. Air Force fell to 8-7, 2-2.
Coggins scored a career-high 35 points earlier this season in a close win over Jackson State. Sunday’s 29-point effort was far and away the most Coggins has scored since that Jackson State game. He is averaging 17.8 points per game this season, enough to lead the team. He is one of three players who average in double figures for the Falcons (Max Yon and Marek Olesinski are the others).
Yon (12 points) and Olesinski (eight points) weren’t invisible against San Diego State, combining for 20 points on 7-for-14 shooting from the field, while also adding 12 rebounds (Olesinski had seven). But each player was below his scoring average for the season and with only three other Falcons even taking a shot, there was little other help for Coggins. He, Yon and Olesinski combined to score 49 of Air Force’s 72 points. Kamryn Williams did add 13, far above his average of about eight PPG, but it wasn’t enough.
This was in contrast to San Diego State, who placed five players in double figures and had no player score more than 18. Coggins is an excellent shooter and scorer. While he hits 45 percent from three-point range and leads the team in scoring, Sunday’s loss shows that even with Coggins putting up close to a career day, the Falcons need more if they are going to compete with San Diego State, New Mexico and Nevada at the top of the Mountain West Conference.