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Nwaelele helps No. 14 Air Force win 30th straight home game

Feb 18, 2007 - 3:40 AM COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Ticker) -- The number continues to grow for Air Force at Clune Arena.

Dan Nwaelele scored 18 points to lead four players in double figures as the 14th-ranked Falcons cruised to a 67-58 triumph over Colorado State in a Mountain West Conference matchup.

With the win, Air Force (23-4, 10-3 MWC) pushed its home winning streak to 30 games, surpassing conference-leading Brigham Young for the longest streak in the nation.

"It used to be hard to play here, because there was nobody here," Colorado State coach Dale Layer said. "But now they have such a great environment. The student section is hard on us, but I love them. It makes for a great college environment."

The Falcons improved to 53-1 here since the start of the 2002-03 season.

Nwaelele drained back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half, bridging an impressive 11-2 burst for a 34-20 advantage with 17:44 remaining.

The 6-5 Nwaelele connected on 5-of-10 shots - all 3-pointers - to finish in double figures for the 15th time in 16 games.

But the Rams (15-10, 5-8) closed within 59-52 behind an 8-2 surge capped on Jason Smith's jumper with 3:38 left to play. Smith scored seven of his 22 points during in the run.

However, Matt McCraw sank two free throws and Nwaelele knocked down another shot from the arc, helping Air Force rebuild its lead to double digits.

"They're a good basketball team and they won't go away," Falcons coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "We're very fortunate to come away with a win."

"It was a hard-fought game," Layer said. "Air Force is a very experienced team; they've got great poise. We would go on a run and they would respond with a big three."

The Falcons are 23-4 for the first time in program history, remaining just one game away from matching last season's school record for wins.

McCraw netted 15 points and Tim Anderson and Jacob Burtschi added 10 apiece for the Falcons, who shot 44 percent (20-of-45) from the floor.

Tyler Smith scored 10 points and Stephan Gilling chipped in all nine of his points from the arc for Colorado State, which fell to 12-37 in February under Layer.

    --- --- -----
    COLORADO ST 20 38 58
    AIR FORCE (14) 28 39 67 FINAL

    Feb 17 7:32 PM


    Feb 17 6:16 PM