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UNLV Upends BYU To Face San Diego State In The Finals

This post is also featured on the SB Nation NCAATournament Page

The first half seemed like it was going to be a high scoring affair as UNLV was up 41-34, but then the defenses kicked in for the second half for both schools.  The start of the game both schools were on fire and BYU's Jimmer Fredette looked like he was going to have a repeat performance from last night as he scored BYU's 10 of 19 points in six minutes.  Then the Rebel defense took it to Fredette who managed only two free throws for the rest of the half.  The Rebel defense combined with their offense was able to have a seven point lead at the half.

The end of the first half started the same as the second half as UNLV pulled ahead with a 51-42 lead midway through the half and were led behind their defense.  The Rebels were using a press and were playing a physical style of defense to stop BYU's explosive offense.

The Cougars were able to fight back from a nine point deficit to eventually tie the game in the second half at 61 a piece, but then the play of the game was when UNLV's Tre'von Willis drove to the hoop to put the Rebels up three with a minute left in the game.  With sixteen seconds left and BYU down three the Rebels put the clamps down on Fredette by bringing a triple team which forced a pass to Michael Loyd who shot and badly missed a layup which would have put BYU within one.  Down the stretch BYU was without Jackson Emery due to foul trouble, and freshman Taylor Haws sat out due to his eye being swollen shut from being poked against TCU.  

Tre'Von Willis scored 18 points, Chace Stanback added 17 and Brice Massamba chipped in with 13 for the third-seeded Rebels.  BYU's Jimmer Fredette lead BYU with 30 points and the only other Cougar in double figures was Michael Loyd who had 11.

Third seeded UNLV will take on number four seed San Diego State for the conference title tomorrow at 7PM eastern and the game will be on Versus (sorry DirecTv subscribers).