Scores

Final

UNLV 55

(15-11, 9-5 MW)

Air Force 68

(23-5, 11-4 MW)

    6:00 PM ET, February 25, 2006

    Clune Arena, Colorado Springs, Colorado

    1 2 T
    UNLV 23 3255
    AFA 32 3668

    Top Performers

    UNLV: L. Amundson 16 Pts, 8 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Air Force: A. Hood 25 Pts, 2 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Air Force 68, UNLV 55

    AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) -- The crowd loudly honored Air Force senior Antoine Hood before Saturday's game against UNLV, then he returned the favor, leading the Falcons' to their school-record 23rd win this season.

    Hood scored a season-high 25 points in Air Force's 68-55 victory over the Rebels, which extended the Falcons' winning streak to five games and kept them undefeated at home this season.

    "He was great, had his way whether it was inside, in the post or on the outside," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said.

    Air Force (23-5, 11-4 Mountain West Conference) has won 17 straight at Clune Arena extending back to last season, including the latest in front of 6,260 fans -- the year's biggest crowd and the fourth-largest in Air Force history.

    Louis Amundson scored 16 points and Curtis Terry added 13 for UNLV (15-11, 9-5), which shot 38.9 percent from the floor compared with a scorching 59 percent by Air Force.

    Jacob Burtschi added 19 points for the Falcons, but the day -- from the pregame ceremony honoring him for his 115 games in a Falcons uniform to the post-game lap around the court on the shoulders of fellow cadets -- belonged to Hood.

    Hood was one of four Air Force starters who made 3-pointers in the game's first 4½ minutes to give the Falcons a 16-5 lead.

    "Those four 3's early on hurt, because you can't afford to give those looks up," Kruger said.

    When UNLV tightened its defense after a time out and began to control Air Force's perimeter shooting, Hood started taking the ball inside. He scored 14 points in the paint on 10-of-13 shooting.

    And Hood fittingly made the game's final basket while on the floor with his younger brother, Adam. His parents, Antoine and Vanassa, watched from behind the bench -- his mother clutching a stuffed falcon.

    "He's the best defender in the conference in my mind, and maybe the best all-around player," fellow senior Marc Holum said. "Every day what he does, it's just unbelievable."

    Hood was harder on himself after the game, focusing on his three missed free throws in six tries.

    "There's not a lot of free things in life, free throws are one of them," Hood said. "Just to miss them like that, it hurts."

    The Falcons led 32-23 at halftime, then increased the margin to 41-27 during a 9-4 run capped by Dan Nwaelele's 3-pointer with 15:41 remaining. Nwaelele finished 3-for-4 from behind the arc for 12 points.

    The Rebels cut the lead to 46-40 with 10:14 remaining after an unanswered 3-pointer from Terry and baskets by Amundson and Wendell White.

    But Tim Anderson made his own 3-pointer after an Air Force time-out to make it 49-40, cooling the Rebels' momentum and essentially sealing the win for the Falcons.

    Air Force coach Jeff Bzdelik -- in his first season -- managed to win more games than any other in school history. The Falcons' previous record for wins was set in the 2003-04 season, when they finished 22-7.

    The Falcons need a win next weekend at Colorado State and a loss by San Diego State to share the conference title. But they still have the conference tournament -- and a possible bid to the NCAA tournament -- to get them excited.

    "This team, I don't think any of us have won a conference tournament game yet," Burtschi said. "We wanted (the title), we didn't get it. Now we have a chance to get the conference tournament title."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    UNLV
    AFA
    Points 55 68
    FG Made-Attempted 21-54 (.389) 23-39 (.590)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-18 (.278) 8-16 (.500)
    FT Made-Attempted 8-11 (.727) 14-22 (.636)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 14 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 0 13

    2005-06 Season

    DATEGAMELINKS
    Jan 25, 2006 AFA 52, @UNLV 50Recap
    » Feb 25, 2006 @AFA 68, UNLV 55Recap