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UNLV capitalizes and overcomes mistakes in 79-77 OT victory over Utah State

The Runnin' Rebels (11-9, 2-5 MW) went into halftime with an 8 point lead, but Utah State (11-8, 4-3 MW) fought back and appeared in position to win the game. However, mistakes at the end of regulation and overtime would give the Rebels an opportunity to come away with a victory on their home court, and they found a way to get it done.

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Utah State freshman David Collette had a big night for the Aggies. He went 12 of 16 from the field and finished with 24 points, but it was one costly mistake that will most likely be playing in Collette's head the next couple days. His foul with seconds remaining in overtime put Cody Doolin on the line for two shots. Doolin made the first and after failing to intentionally miss the second, he gave the Rebels a 79-77 lead and that was all she wrote.

UNLV quickly fell behind by six at the start of overtime, but with the help of a clutch three pointer by Patrick McCaw, the Rebels tied the game up with 1:26 remaining. Collette answered with a jumper, thankfully Christian Wood was able to sink two free throws to knot it up once again. Coming off a time out, Utah State had the ball with seventeen seconds remaining.

Utah State guard Jojo McGlaston ultimately took a shot from three point range and when it missed, UNLV's Cody Doolin boxed out the much bigger Collette. And then, Collette reached around Doolin with both arms, appearing to be almost intentional, he fouled him and stopped the clock. Both teams were in the double bonus.

Notably, Aggie forward Jalen Moore finished with a game high 14 rebounds. He didn't shoot well by any means, going 1 of 8 from the field and 0 of 5 from behind the arc, but he made a lot of clutch free throws down the stretch and if it weren't for several key mistakes, he would've been the difference for Utah State.

Christian Wood had a pretty lackluster performance, going 4 of 9 from the field and 0 of 4 from three point range. The sophomore finished with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Fortunately, freshman Rashad Vaughn was able to come up big for the Runnin' Rebels. He shot 10 of 24 from the field and 4 of 11 from behind the arc. He finished with 31 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists.

Something UNLV has missed in recent years has been a certified go-to-guy. Someone who is going to get the ball in key situations and provide a spark when the team is struggling. Rashad Vaughn is undoubtedly the Runnin' Rebels' go-to-guy. He has the ability to make big time plays and as the season has progressed, he has become a bit more patient with his shot selection and it has furthered his impact on the floor.

UNLV was in danger of dropping their fourth straight game and falling to 1-6 in conference play. If they were to drop yet another close game on their home court it would appear to be a certainty that the Runnin' Rebels' only route to the NCAA Tournament would be with a Mountain West Championship title. Perhaps that urgency finally sank in and UNLV can channel that into some better performances as these conference games become bigger and bigger.

The biggest takeaway for the Rebels Saturday night would have to be their performance down the stretch. UNLV hit 18-of-23 free throws which would ultimately prove to be the difference. While there may have been a lack of effort during most of the second half, when it mattered most UNLV came up with enough plays to get the win and that's all that matters.

Utah State will head back home to face the Wyoming Cowboys (17-3, 6-1 MW) Tuesday night at 9:00 PM ET. UNLV will travel to Reno on Tuesday night at 10:00 PM ET hoping to avenge a home loss to the Wolf Pack (6-12, 2-4 MW) a little over two weeks ago.