Air Force responded well to its first conference defeat.
Now the 16th-ranked Falcons will try for their 27th straight home win as they host TCU on Tuesday.Air Force (18-2, 5-1 Mountain West) held off San Diego State 56-51 on Saturday, four days after an 85-79 upset defeat at Utah. Falcons coach Jeff Bzdelik called the loss -- which ended a school record-tying 13-game winning streak -- an "attention grabber" for his team, and his players seemed to agree."This was a wake-up call," said Jacob Burtschi, who had a game-high 23 points. "We responded well to that Utah loss."Dan Nwaelele, who leads Air Force with 15.2 points per game, added 11 to help the Falcons defeat a bigger and more athletic San Diego State squad. Center Nick Welch, who had 10 points, said that his Air Force's team play was the difference."I think that five beats one every single time," he said. "We came out there and played as a team. A lot of time they would try to take over the game individually. Our team play overcame that."The Falcons, whose other loss came to Duke, have not lost at home since a 65-56 defeat to Utah on Feb. 19, 2005. They are tied with conference rival Brigham Young for the second-longest home winning streak in the country behind Gonzaga, which has won 47 straight on its court.Air Force, which has won 50 of 51 at Clune Arena, will visit BYU on Saturday and then host the Cougars on Feb. 27.The Falcons have held all but five of their opponents under 60 points and rank among the best defensive teams in the country with an average of 56.1 points allowed per game."We weren't going to tolerate any defensive mistakes," Bzdelik said. "If you did you were coming out because defense is strictly just a concentrated, all-out effort at all times."TCU (10-7, 2-3), meanwhile, ranks at the bottom of the conference with just 63.1 points scored per game. The Horned Frogs have dropped a season-high three straight, including Saturday's 75-66 loss to UNLV.TCU also ranks second in the league defensively -- behind only Air Force -- with 63.5 points allowed per contest, but have given up an average of 76.7 during their losing streak.Alvardo Parker had his first career double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Kevin Langford, who averages a team-high 11.7 points, added 14. The Horned Frogs' losing streak follows a season high-tying three-game winning streak during which they limited opponents to 57.0 points per game.Air Force leads the all-time series between the teams 3-1 and has won both of its home games against the Horned Frogs. TCU has lost 14 of its last 15 against ranked opponents and has not defeated a Top 25 team since a 71-46 victory over No. 10 Louisville on Feb. 17, 2004.