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December 18, 2012
Rebels survive scare
EL PASO, Texas -- UNLV is finding out how tough college basketball on the road can be.
The 21st-ranked Runnin' Rebels led by 15 points in the second half then had to wait for a final shot by UTEP to miss before beating the Miners 62-60 on Monday night.
"It came down to the last shot," UNLV coach Dave Rice said. "We have to do a much better job of keeping our composure when we are challenged on the road. We were challenged today and there are lessons to be learned and yet not to lose the game to a good team is a credit to our guys."
Bryce Dejean-Jones scored 12 points and Anthony Marshall added 11 for UNLV.
Jacques Streeter scored with 27 seconds left to cut UNLV's lead to two points. DeJean-Jones had an opportunity to make it a two-possession game but missed two free throws with 15 seconds left.
Konner Tucker had a last-second opportunity for the Miners after taking an inbounds pass from the far sideline for a 3-point attempt which bounced up and off the rim.
"I liked the look we got late from Konner but we didn't get it down," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. "Tucker hasn't been practicing with us and so our inbounds plays that we run, and I think we execute them well, we couldn't execute them.
"We just drew up something that we knew we could get a look, regardless, and I like the look that we got," Floyd said.
UNLV shot 44.9 percent from the field and made 10 of 18 free throws, seven in the second half. The Runnin' Rebels were 8 for 17 from 3-point range, hitting six in the first half.
"As a coaching staff, we knew coming into the game that we would see a lot of different defenses, triangle-and-two, box-and one and zone, so it's always difficult to prepare for UTEP," Rice said. "For us, it was just about trying to maintain our rhythm and taking good shots."
Katin Reinhardt scored 10 points for UNLV (9-1), which had a 17-2 run in the first half and still led by as many as 15 points in the second half before the Miners started their closing run. Anthony Bennett added 10 points -- nine in the second half -- for UNLV.
Julian Washburn had 13 points and Tucker, playing in his first game at UTEP, added 12.
"We had the luxury of adding a lot of new pieces but at the same time it kind of messes up the rotation with guys coming in," Marshall said. "Tonight we just found a way (to win). Any time you're playing against a great team on the road, it's going to be tough.
Momentum shifted toward UTEP after an altercation near the UNLV bench. After officials reviewed tape, DeJean-Jones was assessed a dead-ball technical with 10:05 left in the game. C.J. Cooper missed the free throw and UNLV held the big lead for another couple of minutes before UTEP slowly worked the deficit down thanks to a clutch 3 from John Bohannon before the shot-clock buzzer and free throws from Streeter and Tucker down the stretch.
"They certainly started shooting better but we lost our focus in the second half on the defensive end, which is unusual for us," Rice said. "I was actually pleased with us on the offensive end in the second half."
Floyd said the difference came early.
"I feel like that game was lost in the first half," Floyd said. "We just played really foolish offensively, really turned the ball over, started isolating Bohannon from the 3-point line, from the lane and I don't know where that came from. As a result we started standing, got on our heels and got outscored by 22 points."