for this game

Nwaelele helps Air Force extend winning streak

Dec 7, 2006 - 4:28 AM COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Ticker) -- Dan Nwaelele kept Air Force flying.

Nwaelele matched a career high with 26 points as No. 23 Air Force posted a 70-58 victory over pesky Texas-Pan American.

It was the second straight game Nwaelele reached 26 points. The senior also led the way in Saturday's 78-66 triumph over IPFW.

Nwaelele enjoyed a near-perfect night, making 8-of-9 shots from the field and all five of his attempts from 3-point range while playing all 40 minutes.

In the first half, Nwaelele carried the Falcons as he scored 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting to help them to a 37-32 advantage.

"Danny kept us alive in the first half with his threes and overall scoring," Air Force coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Danny does a good job of letting the game come to him."

Nick Welch added 13 points for Air Force (9-1), which extended its home winning streak to 21 games. The Falcons have won five in a row overall.

However, the Falcons had to work for their latest win in avoiding what could have been an embarrassing loss.

After Zach Trader hit a jumper with 4:26 remaining to pull the Broncs within 57-55, the teams went scoreless for nearly three minutes.

Welch's 3-pointer at the 1:51 mark triggered the decisive burst, which featured the Falcons going 8-of-8 from the free-throw line. Jacob Burtschi's dunk with 30 seconds left capped the surge and gave the Falcons a 68-55 cushion.

"I was disappointed that there wasn't a source of energy from the tip," Bzdelik said. "Our energy has been down lately, but give UTPA credit."

The Falcons were able to hang on despite shooting 43 percent (6-of-14) in the second half. They went 18-of-19 at the free-throw line over the final 20 minutes.

Brian Burrell scored 21 points and Dexter Shankle 14 for the Broncs (5-4), who have lost three straight and four of their last five games.