The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels likely punched their NCAA Tournament dance ticket with a 76-72 overtime win at New Mexico on Wednesday night. The Rebels (21-7 overall, 9-5 Mountain West Conference) blew a 15-point deficit in the second half and trailed by two with less than a minute to go before tying the score in the closing seconds. The game went to overtime after the Lobos (17-11, 5-8) final shot attempt barely rimmed out as time expired. In overtime, the Rebels made four of their six shot attempts, while the Lobos made just one of six.
Both teams struggled from the free-throw line, with UNLV missing 10 of its 21 attempts, while New Mexico failed on 14 of its 37 chances from the charity stripe. The game was reminscent of the matchup earlier this season at the Thomas & Mack Center, when UNLV held on for a 63-62 win after New Mexico’s Kendall Williams missed a potential game-tying free throw with one second left. This time, the Lobos were again done in from the free-throw line, but it was a team effort.
The Runnin’ Rebels got a season-high 25 points from Tre’Von Willis, who shot 9-of-13 from the floor, including a scorching 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Complimenting Willis was the interior play of Quintrell Thomas, who finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds, including several key boards and buckets late in regulation and in overtime.
Overall, UNLV shot 49% from the floor, including 8-of-17 from three-point range. The Rebels return to the Thomas & Mack for their final home game of the season against Wyoming on Saturday night.
Numbers of Note: UNLV has now won two straight games at The Pit, and is 9-10 all-time at New Mexico…The Rebels are 8-3 in true road games this season, and 11-3 in all games outside of Las Vegas…New Mexico senior Dairese Gary played all 45 minutes and led the team with 26 points on 10-of-15 shooting.