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Rebels erase late deficit, survives in overtime against Cowboys

UNLV made critical shots when they mattered the most, which helped them earn this victory. 

Texas State v UNLV Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jake Hendricks knocked down a three-pointer, his sixth of the game, to give Wyoming a 62-56 lead with 1:36 remaining in the game.

UNLV looked done, but this scrappy, battle-tested group of Rebels were not going to go down easy.

Marvin Coleman hit a three, Nick Blair got a bucket, and UNLV was down two, 63-61.

Part of the reason UNLV had a chance to tie the game late was Wyoming missing its free throws. The Cowboys missed four straight free throws.

On its final offensive possession of the game, UNLV had a chance to tie the game, at the free throw line. And Donnie Tillman drilled both free throws and sent the game to overtime.

The Rebels wasted no time in the overtime period, as they outscored Wyoming 15-6 and won 78-69.

“To win on the road is tough, don’t care who you play, our guys found a way to step up at key moments to get the win,” T.J. Otzelberger said after the game.

UNLV trailed 27-22 at halftime, but multiple players stepped up and made key plays to give UNLV a chance to win.

“I felt like at points in the game, guys stepped up and made some key plays,” Otzelberger said. “(Bryce) Hamilton early, (Amauri) Hardy after half, Jonah (Antonio) hit some key shots, (Marvin) Coleman when he came in after the foul.”

The late game pressure is not new to this group. Saturday marked its fifth overtime game of the season. And the early adversity is paying off for this group, especially in conference play, where it matters most.

“We’ve had our share of adversity with the three overtime losses early, so we are very comfortable playing in that situation,” Otzelberger said.

The most notable difference from this game to last game against Boise State was the shooting. UNLV outshot Wyoming 38 percent to 33 percent. The Rebels made a significant improvement from behind the three-point line.

After his worst shooting performance, Jonah Antonio stepped up for his best game so far as a Rebel. He had 15 points and shot 5 of 12 from three. The Rebels took advantage of the Cowboys packing the paint and leaving UNLV’s shooters open.

“If you get him (Antonio) lost in the course of the game, as a guy who can hit five, six, seven of them, it can change the course of the game,” Otzelberger said of the Aussie, who he barks at from the sideline to shoot even more.

Four Rebels finished in double-figures, including Bryce Hamilton, who lead the Rebels with 19 points.

UNLV goes back to .500 overall, 9-9. And improve to 4-1 in conference play, which has them tied for second place. The Rebels return to the Thomas and Mack Center Wednesday night to host San Jose State at 8 p.m.