No. 21 UNLV beats UTEP 62-60

When UNLV’s Bryce DeJean-Jones went to the free throw line with
16 seconds left Monday night, he had a golden opportunity to make
it a two-possession game and essentially put it out of reach for
UTEP.

He missed both shots leaving the door wide open for the
Miners.

UTEP’s Konner Tucker had a last-second opportunity after taking
an inbounds pass from the far sideline for a 3-point attempt that
bounced up and off the rim.

Tucker fell to the court and UNLV players raised their arms in
excitement as they escaped with a 62-60.

”It came down to the last shot,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said of
the game’s final seconds. ”We have to do a much better job of
keeping our composure when we are challenged on the road . we were
challenged today and there are lessons to be learned and yet not to
lose the game to a good team is a credit to our guys.”

UTEP’s perspective was one of disappointment.

”I liked the look we got late from Konner but we didn’t get it
down,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. ”Tucker hasn’t been practicing
with us and so our inbounds plays that we run, and I think we
execute them well, we couldn’t execute them.

”We just drew up something that we knew we could get a look,
regardless, and I like the look that we got,” Floyd said.

DeJean-Jones had 12 points and Anthony Marshall added 11 for
UNLV.

Katin Reinhardt scored 10 points for UNLV (9-1), which had a
17-2 run in the first half and still led by as many as 15 points in
the second half before the Miners started their closing run.
Anthony Bennett added 10 points.

Bennett was held to one point in the first half, mostly the
result of multiple defenses UTEP (3-5) ran against UNLV to try and
nullify their scoring.

”As a coaching staff, we knew coming into the game that we
would see a lot of different defenses, triangle-and-two, box-and
one and zone, so it’s always difficult to prepare for UTEP,” Rice
said. ”For us, it was just about trying to maintain our rhythm and
taking good shots.”

UNLV tried to maintain a rhythm as they shot 44.9 percent from
the field and made 10 of 18 free throws, seven coming in the second
half. The Runnin’ Rebels were 8 for 17 from 3-point range.

”We had the luxury of adding a lot of new pieces but at the
same time it kind of messes up the rotation with guys coming in,”
Marshall said. ”Tonight we just found a way (to win). Any time
you’re playing against a great team on the road, it’s going to be
tough.”

Momentum shifted toward UTEP after there was an altercation near
the UNLV bench. After officials reviewed tape, DeJean-Jones was
assessed a dead-ball technical with 10:05 left in the second half.
C.J. Cooper missed the free throw and UNLV was able to slow the
Miners for only another couple minutes before UTEP slowly worked
the deficit down thanks to a clutch three-point shot from John
Bohannon before the shot-clock buzzer and free throws from Streeter
and Tucker down the stretch.

Julian Washburn had 13 points and Tucker, playing in his first
game at UTEP, added 12.

UTEP was only 9 for 27 from the field in the first half – with
two 3-pointers – before hitting 48 percent from the field in the
second half including going 10 of 13 from the line.

”They certainly started shooting better but we lost our focus
in the second half on the defensive end, which is unusual for us,”
Rice said. ”I was actually pleased with us on the offensive end in
the second half.”

Floyd said the difference came early in the game.

”I feel like that game was lost in the first half,” Floyd
said. ”We just played really foolish offensively, really turned
the ball over, started isolating Bohannon from the 3-point line,
from the lane and I don’t know where that came from. As a result we
started standing, got on our heels and got outscored by 22
points.”