for this game

Nwaelele, Air Force thump Wyoming

Feb 4, 2007 - 4:46 AM COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Ticker) -- Dan Nwaelele and Air Force had no problem stepping all over a shorthanded team.

Nwaelele scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half as the No. 16 Falcons remained unbeaten at home with an 88-43 Mountain West Conference rout of Wyoming.

Jacob Burtschi also had 18 points and Andrew Henke added 11 for Air Force (20-3, 7-2 MWC), which improved to 11-0 at home this season and 51-1 at Clune Arena since the start of the 2003-04 season.

Reaching the 20-win mark the earliest in school history, the Falcons bounced back from a 61-52 loss at Brigham Young last Saturday, where they shot just 38 percent (17-of-45) and were pounded in rebounds, 41-19.

"I was very proud of my basketball team and our approach to the game," Air Force coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "We had all week to get over the loss and played a lot better today."

Held below 50 points from the first time this season, the Cowboys' offensive struggles were expected as they were without three starters and their top two leading scorers - Brandon Ewing and Brad Jones - because of their involvement in a brawl at New Mexico on Tuesday.

Ewing, the MWC's leading scorer, and Jones combine for 36.4 points per game.

"Give Air Force a lot of credit," Wyoming coach Steve McClain said. "They knew they had a wounded team coming. They weren't going to let us hang around."

Without having to face that duo, the Falcons had a pretty easy time, scoring 17 of the game's first 22 points and leading, 46-18, at the half behind 58 percent (15-of-26) shooting.

Nwaelele made 4-of-6 shots in the first half, including both his 3-pointers, and Burtschi had 12 points before the break.

Henke scored nine of his points in the second half as Air Force went on to post its largest margin of victory in a league contest.

"To play 40 minutes of aggressive basketball at both ends of the court," Bzdelik said. "I'm always looking for that kind of effort. I thought that in the last couple of games we've kind of fallen into running an offense to look pretty as opposed to running at the score, looking at the first opportunity that we get. We got back to that today."

Eric Platt finished with 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting for Wyoming (13-10, 4-5), which finished 15-of-47 (31.9 percent) from the field in dropping its fourth straight league road game.

    --- --- -----
    WYOMING 18 25 43
    AIR FORCE (16) 46 42 88 FINAL

    Feb 3 4:50 PM

    WYOMING 18

    Feb 3 3:51 PM