STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Dan Nwaelele scored 19 points, including
a key 3-pointer with 1:31 remaining to play which broke a tie and
led Air Force to a 69-68 victory over Long Beach State in the first
round of the CBE Classic on Tuesday night.
Air Force plays the winner of a later game between Stanford and
San Jose State on Wednesday night for a ticket to the Final Four in
Kansas City on Monday.
Byrd scored off a steal with two minutes left to tie the game at
The Falcons worked the shot clock on its next possession and
Nwaelele worked himself open on the perimeter and nailed the long
Long Beach State closed to within one several times and missed a
free throw with 15 seconds left that would have tied it.
Nixon, the 49ers' leading scorer last year, broke his jaw during
a pickup game in September and had the wiring removed two weeks
Nixon missed all nine of his first-half shots but made four of
his first five tries in the second half to help spark a 49ers'
rally that erased a 10-point deficit.
Long Beach State opened the second half with a 12-4 run to take
its first lead of the game with 15:49 remaining to play.
The lead changed hands eight times during the final 20 minutes
and was tied on five other occasions.
Long Beach State led the nation with an 83.3 scoring average
last year, while the Falcons led the nation in scoring defense the
past four years, last year with a 54.7 average.
The 49ers are picked to win Big West Conference while Air Force,
an NCAA tournament team last year, is picked to finish third in the
Air Force held a 30-25 lead at halftime.