LOGAN, UT – Kevin Olekaibe scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half, Bryce Dejean-Jones added 17 and Khem Birch had 11 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks to give UNLV a 73-62 victory over Utah State on Saturday.
The nine blocks was a career-high for Birch as he helped the Runnin’ Rebels (17-8, 8-4 Mountain West Conference) to their eighth league win of the season.
UNLV buried its first six from the field to open the second half and to take a 43-36 lead with 16:25 to play. A 3-point shot by USU’s Jalen Moore would tie the game at 45, but behind three layups by Roscoe Smith and Dejean-Jones, UNLV stretched the lead to 50-59 with 6:50 left.
Olekaibe hit his third 3-pointer of the game with 3:07 to play to give UNLV a 66-58 lead and the Runnin’ Rebels made four free throws and two breakaway layups in the final minutes to seal the win.
The Runnin’ Rebels return to the Thomas & Mack to take on New Mexico on Wednesday night.