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Fresno State vs. UNLV recap: Bulldogs stun Rebels in Vegas, 69-66

After a slow start, the Bulldogs shocked the Rebels at Thomas & Mack. Are we looking at a Mountain West contender?

Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

The Fresno State Bulldogs had their mettle tested on the road several times in non-conference play, but Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Rodney Terry's team secured the kind of win that's been in short supply in recent years.

Marvelle Harris, the conference's preseason player of the year, led all players with 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting, and junior forward Torren Jones pitched in with 18 points and a team-high 8 rebounds as the Bulldogs fought their way to a 69-66 win against UNLV on the road. It was just Fresno State's second win at the Thomas & Mack Center in 19 tries, and it didn't come easy.

The Rebels played stingy defense early, taking a six-point lead into halftime while outworking the 'Dogs on the defensive boards 30-22. Fresno then led by as many as eight midway through the second half before UNLV began to chip away with a balanced offensive attack: Five Vegas players finished with at least 10 points, led by Ben Carter's 12. Carter also contributed eight rebounds, while Stephen Zimmerman Jr. put together a double-double (10 pts, 10 reb).

Fresno State very nearly gave the game away by getting into foul trouble in the second half, as well, which was reflected by UNLV's advantage at the free throw line, finishing 26-of-35 to Fresno State's 17-of-26. With just under five minutes left in the game, seven different Bulldogs had four fouls. They were also very nearly done in by Rebels' freshman Jalen Poyser, who scored eight of his 11 points in the last five minutes of the contest, including two different three-pointers that gave UNLV its last large lead -- at 64-60 -- with 2:43 to play.

Jones proved to be a difference maker down the stretch, too, though. He tipped in a missed free throw to give the Bulldogs their lasting lead, and he collected the rebound off of Jerome Seagears's narrow miss from three-point range before sealing the deal with a pair of late free throws.

In spite of the adversity, self-inflicted and otherwise, the Bulldogs (10-4, 1-0) seize momentum before coming home to the Save Mart Center to host New Mexico and Nevada. The Rebels (9-5, 0-1) will hit the road for games against Colorado State and Wyoming.