UNLV Falls At No. 20 Air Force, 56-50|
Jan. 6, 2007
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Ticker) - Dan Nwaelele scored 13 points, including a pair of key buckets down the stretch, as the Falcons extended a pair of long winning streaks with a hard-fought 56-50 Mountain West Conference victory over the Runnin' Rebels.
Matt McCraw and Nick Welch also scored 13 points each for Air Force (15-1, 2-0 MWC), which is 15-1 for the first time in the history of the program.
The Falcons have won 11 straight games overall and 24 in a row at the Clune Center. They also stopped a 10-game streak by the Runnin' Rebels (14-3, 1-1), which never found the range from outside.
Nwaelele's bucket with 6:35 to play gave Air Force the lead for good at 45-43 and began a closing 13-7 surge.
Four Falcons split a pair of free throws to push the advantage to four points before Nwaelele buried a 3-pointer from the left wing for a 52-45 advantage with 3:10 left.
Coach's son Kevin Kruger, who had missed his first seven 3-pointers, drained one to make it a four-point game again. But UNLV got no closer, and a driving layup by Welch sealed it at 54-48 with 18 seconds remaining.
The game was a matchup of former NBA coaches who have returned to college to revitalize programs. Jeff Bzdelik has transformed Air Force into one of the country's top mid-major schools while Lon Kruger has UNLV on pace for its best season in his three years.
Wendell White scored 20 points for the Runnin' Rebels, who made just one 3-pointer but extended their streak of games with at least one shot from the arc to 648, every contest since the shot was added to the college game in 1986.
Air Force has won three in a row and five of six in the series against UNLV, which still holds a 17-7 all-time edge and has a chance to get even at home on February 20.