January 20, 2007

No. 13 Air Force holds off SDSU 56-51

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AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -Jacob Burtschi scored 23 points as No. 13 Air Force held off a late San Diego State surge to win at home for the 26th straight time in a 56-51 victory over the Aztecs on Saturday afternoon.

Air Force's leading scorer, Dan Nwaelele, finished with 11 points, including a shot that gave Air Force back a lead with 45 seconds remaining that it wouldn't lose again. Nick Welch finished with 10 points.

Brandon Heath's desperation 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds left fell short and Burtschi hit two free throws to put the game away.

The Falcons (18-2, 5-1 Mountain West Conference) have now won 50 of their last 51 at Clune Arena. The 26 straight home wins is tied for the second-longest active streak in the country with Brigham Young. Gonzaga has won 47 straight at home.

San Diego State (13-6, 2-3) was led in scoring by Heath and Jerome Habel, who each had 15 points. Lorrenzo Wade finished with 11 points.

The Falcons led by as many as five points with 3:35 remaining, but couldn't close out San Diego State. The Aztecs took a 51-50 on Habel's layup, but Nwaelele's fadeaway restored Air Force's lead for good.

The Aztecs didn't take their first lead of the game until a long 3-pointer by Heath with just under 6 minutes remaining.

The Falcons had their school-record tying 13-game win streak snapped by a 85-79 loss at Utah last Tuesday night. It was their first loss since Duke on Nov. 20.

Air Force's 23-17 halftime lead marked the first time the team has led at the break in four games. It was also a season-low for a half for the Aztecs.

San Diego State is now 1-41 in road games against nationally ranked teams.

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