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UNLV junior forward earns Mountain West’s weekly honor

Khem Birch averaged 11.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and three blocks per game in two Rebels victories

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Colorado State guard Daniel Bejarano is defended by UNLV guard Jelan Kendrick, left, and forward Khem Birch during the first half of their Mountain West Conference game Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

UNLV junior forward Khem Birch earned the Mountain West Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, the league announced today. Birch averaged 11.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and three blocks per game over two Rebels’ victories.

This is Birch’s first career weekly honor from the league and the second for a UNLV player this season. Junior forward Roscoe Smith received the honor on Dec. 23.

Birch shot 69.2 percent from the field in UNLV’s victories against Colorado State and Air Force. Birch and Smith are tied for the team lead and seventh in the country with 15 double-doubles this season.

The Rebels will rely on Birch even more Wednesday with Smith out because of a concussion he suffered in the second half at Air Force. UNLV hosts No. 10 San Diego at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the regular-season finale. The Rebels are in third place while the Aztecs are tied with New Mexico for first.

It’s a Senior Night “White Out” so fans are encouraged to wear white clothing. Senior Carlos Lopez-Sosa will replace Smith in the starting lineup.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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