Saturday , Jan , 13 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Falcons soar into Laramie to take on Cowboys

Laramie, WY (Sports Network) – The 18th-ranked Air Force Falcons continue
their run against the rest of the Mountain West Conference as they take
their act on the road to Laramie where they will challenge the Wyoming
Cowboys this afternoon.

Down by 15 points to New Mexico on Tuesday night, the Falcons rallied to
post their 12th straight win with a 65-57 decision at home. The victory, the
team’s third in as many tries versus the rest of the MWC, was also the squad’s
25th straight at home, which was tied for the second-longest streak in the
nation entering play on Wednesday. The Falcons will get another chance to
extend that run aweek from today when they host the San Diego State Aztecs.

As for the Cowboys, they too played a tight game in their last outing,
forced to go to overtime against the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels at Arena Auditorium
on Wednesday, the result being an 86-76 triumph for the home team. The Pokes
have now won two straight and remain undefeated at home in 2006-07 at 7-0.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood,
the Cowboys hold a commanding 67-23 lead and won the most recent meeting a
season ago with a narrow 57-55 victory.

After shooting only 2-of-10 behind the three-point line in the first half, the
Falcons moved their offense closer to the paint versus New Mexico in order to
overcome a 15-point halftime deficit at Clune Arena. The result was 56 percent
shooting from the field, in conjunction with a defensive effort that limited
the visitors to only seven total field goals in the frame. Dan Nwaelele
accounted for a game-high 22 points, even though he missed all six of his
three-point tries, followed by Matt McCraw with 21 points, with the duo
combining to go a perfect 16-of-16 at the line. Heading into this week the
Falcons again had the best scoring defense in the conference and ranked fifth
in the nation with just 54.5 ppg allowed, which is not all that uncommon
considering what the program has done in past years. However, this time around
the squad is actually putting up significant points of its own, and was ranked
seventh in the country in scoring margin with an amazing plus-20.1 ppg. After
17 games Nwaelele is at the top of the scoring list for the academy with his
15.2 ppg, thanks to a stellar 51.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc even
after Tuesday’s contest. The team as a whole is shooting 44.7 percent out on
the perimeter, while limiting opponents to a mere 31.4 percent.

After getting the game into overtime three nights ago, the Cowboys ran off six
straight points at one juncture in order to put the outcome to bed with a 10-
point victory over UNLV in Laramie. Brandon Ewing, who hit a crucial jumper in
the extra period, accounted for 30 points the hard way as he converted an
incredible 19-of-22 at the free-throw line, followed by Brad Jones and his 24
points in 44 minutes of play. James Spencer chipped in 17 points and also
grabbed seven rebounds as the team outscored the Rebels at the charity stripe,
33-20. Ewing, who has scored 24.5 ppg in the two league bouts thus far, has
pushed his season average to 21.5 ppg which currently leads the MWC. Even
though he might not be as much a focal point for opponents this season, Jones
(16.4 ppg) is certainly someone who has to be recognized for all that he brings
to the table now that he leads the program in assists (61) and steals (26) and
is among the team’s leaders on the glass with almost five rebounds per game.
Daaron Brown, a 60.5 percent shooter from the field who is clearing close to
seven boards per game, could be a key figure in this matchup as long as he
stands his ground in the paint.