Nov. 13, 2005
SEATTLE (AP) - Former Denver Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik made his debut as Air Force's coach and watched his Falcons beat Northern Arizona 62-49 on Sunday in the first round of the Black Coaches Association tournament.
Bzdelik was fired by the Nuggets and eventually replaced by George Karl last season. At Air Force, he took over a team that was 18-12 under Chris Mooney last season before Mooney left to go to Richmond.
Senior guard Adam Hood and 6-foot-6 junior forward Jacob Burtschi led the Falcons with 15 points each in the season opener for both teams. Matt McCraw, Air Force's other starting guard, added 13 points.
Air Force led by 18 points three times in the second half after pulling ahead 29-25 at halftime. The Lumberjacks were ahead 16-6 with 7:47 gone in the game.
In the second half, Air Force outscored Northern Arizona 19-5 in the in the first 7:53 to go in front 48-30, with Hood contributing three consecutive layups in less than two minutes.
Ruben Boykin paced Northern Arizona, which is coming off an 11-17 season, with a dozen points. The Lumberjacks lost despite outrebounding the Falcons 38-23. Kyle Landry had 13 rebounds for Northern Arizona.
Air Force sank 8 of 17 three-point shots, with McCraw making three of four three-point attempts. Northern Arizona was two for six from three-point range.
Air Force is playing this season without its top returning player, center Nick Welch, who is out after having ankle surgery.