COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Ticker) -- Tim Frost and Nick Jacobson each scored 16 points as No. 23 Utah bounced back from just its second loss in 2003 with a 57-52 victory over stubborn Mountain West foe Air Force.
The game was close throughout, as the Utes (22-5, 10-2 MWC) never trailed but did not lead by more than eight points.
After Frost's 3-pointer with 8:31 left gave them a 45-37 lead, the Utes were blanked from the field but went 12-of-13 from the foul line over the final 3:43.
Joel Gerlach's bucket cut the deficit to 48-46 with 2:20 to go, but Jacobson and reserve Marc Jackson each hit two free throws, and Frost sank three more as Utah scored seven of the next 11 points for a 55-50 lead with 12 seconds to play.
Utah has won nine of its past 10 and 16 of its last 18 contests.
Gerlach scored 15 points and Tim Keller 11 for Air Force (11-15, 2-11), which lost for the 14th time in its past 15 meetings with the Utes.
Utah shot 56 percent (18-of-32) from the field, 17-of-19 from the foul line and held a commanding 24-11 rebounding advantage.
The Utes maintained a one-game lead over second-place Brigham Young with two contests left for both schools.
Utah shot 65 percent (11-of-17) from the field in the first half, but was not as accurate as the Falcons, who fired away at a 67 percent (10-of-15) clip in the first 20 minutes.
Following a basket by Cameron Koford that gave the Utes their biggest lead at 36-28 with 12:36 to play, Keller drained a 3-pointer to slice the deficit to five before Bryant Markinson countered with a jumper.
The Falcons answered with a 6-0 run as Keller sank two free throws and fed Nick Welch for a layup before Gerlach's dunk narrowed the margin to 38-37 with 7:13 left.
Utah answered with a 7-2 spurt, capped by Frost's 3-pointer that capped the his team's scoring from the field.