It was a close game throughout and the Cowboys played with a lot of effort, but UNLV was ultimately able to hold off a late Wyoming rally and come away with a hard fought victory on their home court.
Junior guard Deville Smith was the only UNLV starter in double figures. He finished the night with 15 points, going 4 of 5 from the field and 3 of 5 from three point range. His production has been key for the Rebels this season and with the other 4 UNLV starters combining for 16 points, the Rebels needed all the help they could get on the offensive end.
The Runnin' Rebels built a 13 point lead following two runs after halftime to create some separation from the Cowboys. But Wyoming refused to give in. Making one last rally in the final 1:40, Jerron Granberry completed a three-point play to reduce the deficit to 66-65 with 23 seconds remaining.
After the inbound pass, Deville Smith was fouled immediately and he managed to do something that has been a major inconsistency with UNLV this season. He made both his free throws.
Josh Adams, who lead the Cowboys with 24 points and 7 rebounds then fouled Birch. And what do you know? He made both his free throws to put the Rebels up 70-65.
After Josh Adams got off a jumper with 11 seconds remaining, Kevin Olekaibe went 1 of 2 from the line and that was ultimately enough for UNLV to escape with a 71-67 victory.
UNLV vs. San Diego State can be seen Friday night at 9:00 PM ET. On CBS Sports Network.
It will be the first time UNLV has faced San Diego State in the Mountain West Tournament since the Aztecs defeated the Runnin' Rebels 74-72 in the 2011 Semifinals at the Thomas and Mack Center.