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Nwaelele, Air Force roll to 27th straight home win

Jan 24, 2007 - 6:51 AM COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Ticker) -- Dan Nwaelele and Air Force put an exclamation point on the struggles for TCU.

Nwaelele scored 13 points and the No. 13 Falcons recorded their 27th consecutive home win with a 72-39 rout of the Horned Frogs in a Mountain West Conference game.

The winning streak at Clune Arena is the second-longest in the nation behind Gonzaga's 47.

Matt McCraw and Tim Anderson had 11 points each for Air Force (19-2, 6-1 MWC), which had more defensive highlights than offensive in handing TCU its fourth straight loss.

Held below 40 points for the second time this season, the Horned Frogs (10-8, 2-4) shot just 32.6 percent (14-of-43), converted 6-of-14 (42.9 percent) free throws and committed 19 turnovers.

"We had a lot of opportunities tonight, but Air Force played good defense," TCU coach Neil Dougherty said. "If we had made some of the shots and scored to help ourselves, then we've got a ballgame here. I think that would have juiced up our defense too."

TCU's 39 points was the lowest scoring output for an Air Force opponent since BYU also mustered 39 on February 21, 2005.

Although TCU entered with the league's best field goal defense at 41 percent, Air Force came out firing, pulling ahead, 16-6, on a 3-pointer by McCraw with 11:10 remaining.

McCraw, who finished 3-of-4 from the arc, added another 3-pointer inside the final two minutes of the first half as the Falcons took a 33-15 lead at the half.

"It was good to hit shots ... that's always good," Air Force coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "It's who we are and it was great to see us drop down some early shots. It really put (TCU) behind the eight ball a little bit, so to speak, and it got the crowd really into it and gave us confidence."

That lead continued to grow after the break, as Nick Welsh's layup with 12:34 remaining made it 51-26. Nwaelele's dunk extended the advantage to 63-32 with 8:21 to go.

Air Force shot 61.9 percent (26-of-42) - the second-highest percentage this season - and had six players with six or more points.

Brent Hackett scored nine points for the Horned Frogs, who dropped their seventh straight game against a ranked foe.

Senior center John Frye had seven points and four rebounds in 15 minutes to highlight a strong effort from the Falcons' reserves. Air Force finished with a 24-11 advantage in bench points.

"John was really inspired tonight and did a great job for us," Bzdelik said. "We stressed that we need more from him when he is in there and he responded well tonight."

Kevin Langford and Alvardo Parker had eight points each for TCU, which absorbed its fourth straight loss in the series.

    --- --- -----
    TCU 15 24 39
    AIR FORCE (13) 33 39 72 FINAL

    Jan 23 10:53 PM

    TCU 15

    Jan 23 9:52 PM