Otto Kitsinger / Assocaited Press
Published Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 | 2 a.m.
Updated Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 | 7:34 p.m.
UNLV had a chance to force a second overtime, but Jordan Johnson's layup rattled out in the final seconds, and Brandon McCoy's tip-in attempt rolled off the rim as the buzzer sounded, allowing Boise State to claim a 93-91 win.
McCoy and Johnson carried the Rebels in OT, combining for all nine of UNLV's points. McCoy scored seven, including a big 3-pointer to keep UNLV within reach in the final minute, and Johnson hit a pair of clutch free throws with six seconds to play to set up the final sequence.
McCoy finished with 24 points and eight rebounds, while Johnson scored 23 and handed out six assists.
UNLV is now 16-7 on the season and 5-5 in Mountain West play.
UNLV trails Boise State in OT, 88-86
UNLV started slow in OT, but Brandon McCoy has scored back-to-back baskets inside to pull UNLV within 88-86 with 51.5 seconds to play.
McCoy now has 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
UNLV has struggled to defend without fouling in overtime, sending Boise State to the line for four free throws on non-shooting fouls.
UNLV, Boise State heading to overtime, tied 82-82
Jordan Johnson sank two clutch free throws with 12.6 seconds to play to tie the game at 82-82, and Chandler Hutchison's pull-up jumper at the buzzer came up short, so we are heading to overtime.
UNLV closed regulation on a 12-4 run, with the biggest play coming from power forward Shakur Juiston, who hit a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to pull UNLV within 81-80. Boise State made 1-of-2 free throws at the other end, and Johnson was fouled on a drive to set up his free throws.
UNLV trails Boise State, 73-70
Jordan Johnson just found Kris Clyburn streaking ahead of the field for a breakaway dunk, and with 3:48 to play, UNLV has trimmed Boise State's lead to 73-70.
Boise State called timeout after Clyburn's dunk and will have the ball after the timeout.
UNLV is on an 8-2 run, and most of the second-half offense has been powered by big men Brandon McCoy (17 points) and Shakur Juiston (14 points).
UNLV pulls within 71-66 at Boise State
UNLV has withstood Boise State's run, and with 6:57 left, the Rebels have closed to within 71-66.
Shakur Juiston has scored the Rebels' last four points on a pair of inside baskets. He now has 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
Boise State's lead swelled as high as 12 points thanks to hot 3-point shooting midway through the half, but UNLV responded by staying poised and working the ball inside. Brandon McCoy scored five straight points to keep the offense afloat before Juiston followed with his mini-run.
Boise State opens 65-53 lead over UNLV
And just like that, this game has changed completely.
Boise State is on a 14-0 run over the last three minutes, and with 11:49 to play, the Broncos have opened up a 65-53 lead.
Justinian Jessup has caught fire, as he's made 4-of-5 from 3-point range in the second half. As a team, Boise has hit six 3-pointers in the half to power the current run.
UNLV is not a 3-point shooting team, so it may be difficult for the Rebels to climb back into this one. The team is 0-of-4 from long distance so far in the second half.
UNLV leads Boise State at half, 41-40
UNLV played one of its most inspired 20 minutes of the season, and at halftime, the Rebels lead at Boise State, 41-40.
Amauri Hardy has been effective in 11 minutes off the bench, contributing a team-high nine points on 4-of-5 shooting. Jovan Mooring has also sparked the offense, with eight points and four assists.
On the defensive end, the Rebels have thrown the kitchen sink at Boise leading scorer Chandler Hutchison. Tervell Beck, Kris Clyburn, Hardy, Shakur Juiston and others have switch on to defend Hutchison at times, and the Rebels have also oscillated between man-to-man and zone schemes in an effort to slow him down. Hutchison posted 13 points in the first half but made just 4-of-12 from the field.
All the attention paid to Hutchison has opened up some holes on the perimeter, however. The Broncos have already made more 3-pointers tonight than they did in the first meeting between these teams on Dec. 30, as they're 6-of-18 from long distance.
UNLV pulls ahead of Boise State late in first half
With 3:38 left in the first half, UNLV has pulled ahead of Boise State, 37-35.
Brandon McCoy scored in the post to tie the game, and Amauri Hardy hit a floater in the lane to give UNLV the lead.
Hardy has played perhaps his best game of the season. The freshman has nine points on 4-of-4 shooting in seven minutes, and the Rebels are plus-4 with Hardy on the floor.
Jovan Mooring has also give UNLV strong minutes, as he's got eight points and four assists. McCoy has eight points on 4-of-6 shooting.
UNLV continues to mix up its defense, especially on Boise swingman Chandler Hutchison. Using multiple players, plus some zone, they've been able to slow him some in recent minutes. Hutchison has 10 points but has made just 4-of-11 from the field.
Boise State leads UNLV, 20-19
Jovan Mooring and Amauri Hardy have made some tough shots early, and with 11:28 left in the first half, Boise State leads UNLV, 20-19.
Mooring and Hardy have scored five points apiece, and Mooring has added three assists. Most of their buckets have been off the dribble, with the guards creating offense for themselves. That's been essential, because the Rebels have not been very successful on the defensive end so far. Boise State is shooting 53.3 percent, and UNLV seems to have no answer for swingman Chandler Hutchison, who already has eight points on 3-of-6 shooting.
UNLV is going to have to find a way to slow down the Boise offense, because expecting Mooring and Hardy to stay hot for 40 minutes may be asking too much.
Three keys for UNLV basketball at Boise State
Until recently, Mountain West play hadn't been a very pleasant experience for UNLV. After plowing through the non-conference schedule by winning 11 of 13 games, the Rebels looked uninspired while going 3-4 to open MWC play. Only this past week, when UNLV won back-to-back contests to improve to 5-4, has the team seemed to regain its mojo.
The trouble started with Boise State, which came to Las Vegas on Dec. 30 and handed the sluggish Rebels an 83-74 loss in the league opener.
That defeat laid out the blueprint for smaller, quicker teams to take down UNLV: Spread out the Rebels' defense and drive to the basket, and hustle for offensive rebounds and loose balls. That simple game plan worked wonders for Boise State, and the rest of the league has tried to copy it with minor variations.
It has taken a few weeks, but the Rebels have seemingly found a way to counter that strategy. Home wins over San Diego State and San Jose State have restored some of the teams' early-season confidence, and this seems like as good a time as any for the Rebels to hit the road and take on Boise State again.
What will the Rebels have to do in order to beat one of the Mountain West's top teams at their own gym? Three keys to watch:
Own the inside
UNLV (16-6, 5-4 MWC) got pushed around by Boise State in the first meeting, as the Broncos rebounded with more conviction and won the battle of the boards on both ends of the floor. That shouldn't happen to UNLV, as the team is built around star big men Brandon McCoy (10.1 rebounds per game) and Shakur Juiston (9.8 per game), and the Rebels showed improved commitment to rebounding in the last two games.
UNLV has also showed a renewed commitment to getting the ball inside and letting the bigs go to work offensively. Over the last two games, McCoy and Juiston have combined to average 37.0 points and 22.0 rebounds per contest while shooting 71.1 percent from the field (32-of-45).
McCoy in particular has been rejuvenated. Mountain West teams had some success double-teaming him, but the freshman has figured out when to show patience and when to be aggressive, and it's made him a dangerous scorer once again.
McCoy and Menzies recently sat down for a long video session, during which Menzies showed the youngster how to navigate more sophisticated Mountain West defenses, and McCoy has carried it onto the court.
Menzies has been pleased with McCoy's progression.
"Just a young man getting better," Menzies said. "I think he was a little frustrated early when he would feel like he was open, but didn't realize there was a guy standing right behind him. So once we sat and watched film and he was like, 'Oh, OK, I thought I had him sealed.' You had him sealed, but they are throwing everything and the kitchen sink at the kid."
If UNLV can get another near-perfect outing from the McCoy/Juiston tandem, it will be difficult for Boise State (18-4, 8-2 MWC) to match their size and physicality, no matter what kind of defensive scheme the Broncos throw at them.
Boise State swingman Chandler Hutchison may be the best player in the Mountain West, but UNLV can't let him run roughshod the way he did in the first meeting (32 points, 13-of-18 FGs, 3-of-3 3FGs, 12 rebounds).
The Rebels have made several tweaks to their defense since then, with the most notable change being more frequent deployment of zone defenses. More zone should limit Hutchison's driving lanes, and Boise's man/zone splits are interesting: According to Synergy Sports data, Boise's offense ranks 56th against man defenses (0.95 points per possession), but just 200th against zone (0.90 points per possession).
Menzies has also inserted freshman Tervell Beck into the starting lineup at small forward in place of Kris Clyburn. It remains to be seen whether Beck can make a difference when tasked with defending Hutchison in man-to-man sets, but at least Beck's size (6-foot-7, 230 pounds) allows the Rebels to throw a different look out there.
No matter what the Rebels try, they're not going to keep Hutchison quiet. He's too good, too versatile and too experienced to let that happen. But if UNLV can keep him from dictating the entire game with his driving/passing, the Rebels will at least give themselves a chance.
The Rebels' first trip through the Mountain West was a struggle, as opponents came in with detailed scouting reports and game plans that were more focused than anything UNLV saw in non-conference play.
Now, as the team gets set for the second half of the league schedule, the familiarity factor will be multiplied. UNLV handled it well in their first rematch of the season, dispatching San Jose State routinely on Wednesday. But what did they learn from the first meeting with Boise State, and how can they apply that to this game?
Juiston emphasized the need to study the first meeting and adjust, while at the same time not sacrificing what the Rebels do well.
"We're going to have to go watch film of the last game and pick out the things we did wrong," he said. "Then just go in and play our game. We're not going to play different for any opponent. Playing our game is getting us wins. I feel like we have to capitalize on the things we did badly in the first game, and we should come out victorious."