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Blog: UNLV escapes in OT, beats San Jose State 82-76

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Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau

Northern Colorado Bears guard Jonah Radebaugh (12) defends UNLV Rebels guard Jovan Mooring (30) during their NCAA basketball game Friday, December 22, 2017, at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 94-91 to move their record to 11-2.

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018 | 10:23 p.m.

UNLV didn't play its best game — or anything close to it, really — but after a free-throw filled overtime period, the Rebels have escaped San Jose State with an 82-76 victory.

Jovan Mooring's first basket of the game was a big one, as his corner 3 gave UNLV a 72-69 lead with two minutes to play. From that point, UNLV made its foul shots to keep SJSU at arm's length, and Jordan Johnson came up with a key steal on an inbound pass in the final minute to seal the win.

Brandon McCoy led the Rebels with 23 points, and backup center Mbacke Diong finished with six points and five rebounds in 15 minutes. Diong also had a big offensive rebound in the final seconds, which forced SJSU to foul him under the basket. Diong made 1-of-2 from the line to send the game to overtime.

UNLV is now 12-3 on the season and 1-1 in Mountain West play.

UNLV headed to overtime at San Jose State

Mbacke Diong made 1-of-2 free throws with four seconds to play to tie the game, and San Jose State's final offensive possession came up empty, so we're heading to overtime tied at 66-66.

SJSU's Noah Baumann made the shot of the game, a 3-pointer to give the Spartans a 1-point lead with 24 seconds to play. UNLV called timeout to set up a final play, and after a substitution error, Brandon McCoy wasn't allowed to check in. Diong stayed on at center in his place and drew a foul while scrapping for an offensive rebound. The freshman missed the first but made the second, and UNLV will have five more minutes to pull this one out.

San Jose State outscored UNLV 15-4 to end regulation, so the Rebels are going to have to pick up their intensity if they want to salvage a victory here.

UNLV hanging on late at San Jose State

Heading into the final stretch, UNLV still hasn't been able to shake free from San Jose State. UNLV leads, 62-56 with 3:31 to play, but the Spartans will head to the free-throw line for a one-and-one after the final media timeout.

Just when it looked like the Rebels were about to put the game to bed, SJSU got a 3-pointer from Ryan Welage and a layup from Ashtin Chastain to trim the deficit to six points. Jordan Johnson missed a 3-pointer on UNLV's next possession, and SJSU was fouled on the rebound.

The Rebels have shot just 42.1 percent in the second half, but they're going to have to execute in the final minutes if they want to avoid an embarrassing loss.

UNLV leads San Jose State, 48-42

UNLV leads San Jose State at half, 37-30

UNLV is running out of time to pull away, so the Rebels may have to grind this one out over the final 12 minutes.

Offense is not coming easy — UNLV has made just four of its first 10 shots in the second half — but with 12:00 to play, the rebels lead San Jose State, 48-42.

Brandon McCoy started slowly but now has a game-high 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting. The big freshman also has three fouls, however, so he'll have to navigate foul trouble the rest of the way.

San Jose State made some shots early, but UNLV has smothered the Spartans from beyond the arc. SJSU is just 4-of-12 from deep and 17-of-38 overall.

After a slow start, UNLV closed the first half on a 14-5 run to take a 37-30 lead into the locker room at San Jose State.

Freshman forward Tervell Beck has provided some punch off the bench, leading the way with nine points on 4-of-6 shooting. Junior forward Shakur Juiston and junior guard Kris Clyburn have added eight points apiece.

Senior guard Jovan Mooring has held back on his shooting, as he attempted just one shot in the first half and went scoreless in 19 minutes. But he has moved the ball well and has five assists (with no turnovers).

San Jose State shot 44.8 percent in the first half, but most of the Spartans' damage was done early. UNLV clamped down later in the half, and SJSU scored just 11 points in the final 11 minutes. UNLV also forced eight turnovers.

UNLV takes 27-25 lead at San Jose State

UNLV has woken up a bit, but with 3:40 left in the first half, the Rebels lead is just 27-25.

Shakur Juiston and Kris Clyburn have eight points apiece, and Jovan Mooring has handed out four assists, but UNLV's resurgence has been fueled by defense. San Jose State has scored just six points in the last eight minutes, and the Rebels have forced eight turnovers.

UNLV trails early at San Jose State

UNLV has started slowly, missing easy baskets and committing turnovers, and San Jose State has taken an early 17-11 lead.

Midway through the first half, the Rebels have already racked up five turnovers on 15 possessions, and they've shot just 3-of-7 on attempts categorized as layups or dunks. Last year, UNLV shot 8-of-23 on close shots in this building, which allowed SJSU to steal a 76-72 decision.

The Rebels will have to finish more decisively if they want to stem SJSU's momentum and take control of this game. So far, big men Shakur Juiston and Brandon McCoy have combined for just six points on 3-of-6 shooting.

UNLV, SJSU set to tip off as scheduled despite blackout

UNLV's game at San Jose State will tip off at 8 p.m. as scheduled, but that almost wasn't the case, thanks to a frisky squirrel.

An adventurous (but unlucky) critter got into a power transformer on the SJSU campus on Wednesday afternoon and caused a power outage that cut off electricity to the Event Center arena. According to a San Jose State official, the arena's power generator was turned on at 6 p.m., and if that didn't work on the first try, the game would have been moved to Maples Pavilion on the Stanford campus.

The lights came on, however, and both teams are now on the court warming up under normal lighting. The only side effect may have been the Rebels' afternoon shootaround, which took place at the Event Center under emergency lighting. And when the temporary lights went out, the players' phones provided the only illumination:

Anyway, everything appears to be powered up now, and the game will tip off as scheduled.

3 keys for UNLV basketball at San Jose State

After dropping the first game on the Mountain West schedule to Boise State last week, UNLV takes to the road and will try to earn its first conference victory tonight at San Jose State.

Three keys for the Rebels:

Score efficiently inside

UNLV’s last trip to San Jose State didn’t go well, as the Rebels missed layup after layup in an embarrassing loss last season. One year later, UNLV is a completely different, and they aren’t missing those easy shots anymore. Freshman center Brandon McCoy and junior forward Shakur Juiston should give the Rebels a huge advantage on the interior.

And yet, San Jose State has been deceptively good when it comes to defending the paint, led by junior forward Ryan Welage, who is holding opponents to 23.7 percent shooting on the season. So this won’t be a walk in the park for UNLV. The Rebels will have to work the ball inside and run the offense in order to put McCoy and Juiston in good spots. Do that, and the two big men should be able to finish off SJSU.

Return to form

Jovan Mooring struggled in the Rebels’ 83-74 loss to Boise State, as he connected on just 2-of-14 from the field. The senior guard knows he needs to be better, as UNLV doesn’t have any other perimeter scoring threats to pick up the slack when he doesn’t shoot well.

Mooring should get plenty of chances to bounce back against San Jose State. The Spartans embrace a defensive philosophy that is the complete opposite of UNLV’s, as SJSU wants to force opponents to shoot 3-pointers. For the season, 42.4 percent of opposing field-goal attempts have come from long distance.

Mooring will be faced with more than a few open shots tonight. If he’s on target, he could best his season high of five 3-pointers made, which came in the season opener.

Play it straight

Talent-wise, UNLV exists on an entirely different plane from San Jose State. And SJSU can’t rely on any home-court advantage to help cover the gap. The Spartans only real chance of winning is a sub-par performance from UNLV.

If the Rebels shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers, poor game-planning or a lack of effort, SJSU can keep it close. If UNLV checks those boxes and plays its normal game, this should end with a relatively easy road win.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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