LAS VEGAS - If Khem Birch is being bugged by his right hip, that is not stopping him from being UNLV's most effective player.
UNLV started strong in front of the "neutral" crowd, going on a 7-0 run. Birch had been all over the court despite fighting a hip flexor injury, scoring six points and nine rebounds. One of those field goals came on a huge dunk that kept UNLV in striking distance of the Aztecs. The biggest issue for the Rebels right now, is that they can not hit a 3-pointer to save their lives.
For the Aztecs, Xavier Thames snapped San Diego State's early funk and quickly led them back to the lead. Winston Shepard started the game off especially and he was benched temporarily for Dwayne Polee. He looked better when he returned to the court but has been limited in his usual effectiveness.
If UNLV wants to turn this game around, Bryce Dejean-Jones has to start scoring. He's been held to two points in just 10 minutes. For the Aztecs, that 33.3% shooting has to improve to finish the Rebels. The shots are coming but they are not making their mark, especially in the paint.
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