The Fresno State Bulldogs just weren't going to be denied on Wednesday in the Mountain West Tournament.
The Bulldogs fell behind 54-39 with 6:36 to play and then outscored the Air Force Falcons 22-5 the rest of the way to win the first-round tournament contest, 61-59, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Fresno State, now 17-15, advances to meet New Mexico on Thursday at 6 p.m. Air Force falls to 12-18.
Air Force, which went on an impressive 16-0 run in the second half to take a commanding 43-32 lead with 12 minutes to play, missed six of its last seven free throws in the final 4:33 and was unable to hold off the Bulldogs.
Fresno rallied at the end of the first half and at the end of the game.
Air Force took a 20-15 lead in the first half on a 3-pointer by Tre Coggins with 6:13 to go. A Coggins layup also gave the Falcons a 23-20 lead with four minutes to go in the half. Fresno State, though, got a dunk by Tyler Johnson and jumpers by Allen Huddleston and Alex Davis to take a 27-24 lead at the break.
Air Force scored just one point over the final four minutes of the first half. Their collapse at the end of the second half was even more costly.
Air Force, though, dominated much of the second half. They held Fresno State without a point for just under six minutes in taking a 43-32 lead after a 16-0 run. Coggins and Max Yon each had 3-pointers during the run and DeLovell Earls had a pair of layups.
Air Force still led 54-39 after two free thrown by Yon with 6:36 to play.
A pair of lay-ups by Huddleston 31 seconds apart helped Fresno State cut Air Force's lead to 56-51 with 3:28 to go. A Huddleston jumper pulled Fresno to within 57-53 with 2:08 to go and a 3-pointer by Johnson made it a one-point game at 57-56 Air Force with 1:34 left.
A lay-up by Yon put Air Force ahead 59-56 with 90 seconds to play. Fresno State, though would outscore the Falcons 5-0 the rest of the way to take first-round tournament game.
A 3-pointer by Johnson tied things at 59-59 with 1:16 to play and two free throws by Davis proved to be the winning points as Fresno State took a 61-59 lead with 12 seconds left.
Earls missed two free throws with 2:54 to go and another two with 1:54 to go. Coggins missed a free throw with 2:28 to play as Air Force was just 15-of-26 from the line for the game.
Fresno State was 20-of-28 from the free throw line.
Coggins led all scorers with 20 points. Yon had 15 and Earls finished with eight for Air Force.
Johnson led Fresno state with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Huddleston had 15 points, Davis had a dozen and Marvelle Harris had nine points.