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Blog: New Mexico beats UNLV on late 3

Image

L.E. Baskow

UNLV Rebels guard Kris Clyburn (1) gets inside of New Mexico Lobos guard Makuach Maluach (10) for a lay in during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018 | 9:06 p.m.

New Mexico closed the game on a 9-0 run to stun UNLV, 85-81.

Anthony Mathis hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds to play to give New Mexico a 2-point lead, and Jordan Johnson's coast-to-coast floater came up short on the other end. The Rebels fouled, UNM made both free throws with three seconds to play, and UNLV is now a disappointing 2-3 in Mountain West play.

The final six minutes were ugly for UNLV. The Rebels looked to be in control, leading 67-56 with 6:48 to play, but New Mexico scored a whopping 29 points from that point on.

Rebels extend 3-point streak, lead New Mexico 70-69

Jordan Johnson buried a 3-pointer from the left wing with 5:37 to play to extend UNLV's streak to 1,024 consecutive games, but that's not the Rebels' biggest concern now.

That 3-pointer represents the only points UNLV has scored in the last two minutes, and New Mexico has used a 13-3 run to trim the Rebels' lead to 70-69 with 3:40 to play.

Johnson now has a team-high 19 points; Shakur Juiston has 14 points.

UNLV leads New Mexico, 63-56; still no 3-pointers

UNLV used a 14-3 run to open up a 63-56 lead with 7:26 to play, and with the way New Mexico is wearing down, the Rebels may have this one locked up.

That means the big story over the next seven minutes will be whether UNLV can extend its 3-point streak. So far, the Rebs are 0-of-8 from long range, and they've attempted just one in the second half, as Kris Clyburn airballed a triple from the left wing with eight minutes to play. Clyburn is 0-of-4 from 3-point range.

UNLV leads New Mexico despite zero 3-pointers

With 12:00 minutes to play, UNLV has a 52-51 lead over New Mexico.

The Rebels still haven't hit a 3-point shot, so the program's streak of 1,023 consecutive games with at least one 3-point basket is in jeopardy. So far, UNLV is 0-of-7 from distance, and they haven't attempted one in the second half.

Jordan Johnson and Shakur Juiston have 12 points apiece to lead UNLV, while Makuach Maluach has 11 for New Mexico.

UNLV, New Mexico tied at half

Jovan Mooring hit Mbacke Diong for a layup at the buzzer, and UNLV and New Mexico are tied at halftime, 35-35.

The Rebels finally found something of an offensive rhythm late in the half, but most of the game has been a slog. UNLV has missed all seven of its 3-point attempts, and the Rebels went more than six minutes without a basket during one stretch. Mooring is leading the way with 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting, but the team has shot just 43.8 percent.

New Mexico spent the first half attacking the basket on pick-and-rolls, and it took UNLV more than 15 minutes to figure out a way to slow it down. But the defense did respond, and UNM finished the first half just 12-of-30 from the field (40.0 percent).

The developing story tonight may be the Rebels' performance from beyond the arc. UNLV has made at least one 3-pointer in every game played during the 3-point era, so the Rebels have 20 minutes left to connect from long range and extend the streak.

Rebels searching for offense, trail New Mexico early

Shakur Juiston just tipped in an Amauri Hardy miss, and that snapped a drought of 6:23 without a field goal for UNLV.

Jovan Mooring followed with a mid-range jumper on the next play to trim New Mexico's lead to 19-17, and that's where we stand with 8:06 left in the first half.

UNLV has struggled to find the range through the first 12 minutes. The Rebels are 0-of-6 from 3-point range and shooting just 33.3 percent overall (7-of-21).

New Mexico leads UNLV early

UNLV has not looked sharp through the first eight minutes tonight, and New Mexico has a 19-12 lead midway through the first half.

The Rebels haven't had any difficulty breaking New Mexico's full-court press, but they haven't been able to cash in offensively. UNLV is 0-of-5 from 3-point range and just 2-of-5 from the free-throw line. Jovan Mooring and Brandon McCoy have four points apiece.

New Mexico has attacked the Rebels' leaky interior defense and has already compiled 14 points in the paint.

Three keys for UNLV vs. New Mexico

After a week off, UNLV is back in action tonight when New Mexico visits the Thomas & Mack Center (7 p.m., ESPN3). The Lobos are rebuilding (8-11, 3-3 Mountain West), but their wide-open style of offense makes this a tricky matchup for a UNLV squad that has struggled defensively through four conference games.

What will the Rebels need to do in order to beat UNM? Three keys to watch:

Keep pace

The Lobos play a full-court game, pressuring on defense and using transition 3-pointers to fuel their offense. UNLV will have no problem keeping up with the general tempo, but are the Rebels prepared to defend the first five seconds of the shot clock all night?

If New Mexico is allowed to step into early 3’s, the shots will go up — UNM is seventh in the nation in 3-point attempts — and on any given night, the Lobos can make enough of them to give UNLV a scare.

Rebound

UNLV has allowed too many offensive rebounds for a team with two dominant big men, but Brandon McCoy and Shakur Juiston can’t grab every board. With all the 3-pointers New Mexico shoots, there are bound to be a lot of long rebounds that carom into the mid-range area. The Rebels need their guards to stay home and come down with those long rebounds.

When the shots go up, UNLV’s perimeter players need to find a body to box out — even if it’s 20 feet from the basket.

Balanced attack

If this turns into a high-scoring game, it’s too much to expect UNLV’s four key offensive weapons — McCoy, Juiston, and guards Jordan Johnson and Jovan Mooring combine to average 60.7 of the Rebels’ 88.2 points per game — to handle all of the scoring load. Someone from the supporting cast needs to step up, whether it’s Amauri Hardy, Kris Clyburn, Tervell Beck or another part-time player. With 20-25 points coming from that group, it should be difficult for New Mexico to outscore UNLV.

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

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