Published Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 | 6 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 | 10:13 p.m.
Jordan Johnson had a chance to tie the game with less than 20 seconds to play, but his layup attempt was blocked, and Shakur Juiston couldn't connect on a put-back attempt, and Fresno State tacked on free throws to close out a 69-63 win over the Rebels.
Johnson was key down the stretch for UNLV. The Rebels trailed by eight points with 90 seconds to play, and Johnson converted back-to-back 3-point plays to cut the lead to two. After Fresno State missed the front end of a 1-and-1 attempt, Johnson had a chance to knot the game at 65-65, but Fresno big man Terrell Carter spiked his baseline drive.
Carter and Bryson Williams completely dominated UNLV inside for most of the night. The two forwards combined to score 38 points on 18-of-26 shooting.
UNLV is now 3-4 in Mountain West play and 14-6 overall. The Rebels will return to the Thomas & Mack Center to host San Diego State on Saturday.
Rebels tight with Fresno State in final minutes
With 3:33 to play, UNLV trails Fresno State, 60-57, but the Rebels have the ball and Tervell Beck.
Beck has just eight points, but he's played strong defense in the second half, and his tip-in just pulled the Rebels within three points at the other end. In Beck's 18 minutes tonight, UNLV has outscored Fresno by 10 points.
Usual go-to guy Jovan Mooring has been quiet tonight (10 points on 3-of-8 shooting), but he's known for taking big shots, so it will be interesting to see where UNLV goes for offense down the stretch.
NLV takes 53-52 lead at Fresno State
Amauri Hardy's driving layup has given UNLV a 53-52 lead with 7:56 to play, though Fresno State will shoot a pair of free throws after the media timeout.
UNLV has outscored Fresno 22-10 over the last eight minutes, and Marvin Menzies is trying everything to slow down the Bulldogs inside. UNLV currently has forwards Tervell Beck, Shakur Juiston and Mbacke Diong in the game, the first time those three have played together this season.
Fresno State guard Deshon Taylor has returned to the game after suffering a leg injury early in the half. It remains to be seen how effective he'll be, but for now UNLV appears to be concentrating on closing down the interior on defense.
UNLV making second-half run at Fresno State
UNLV has opened the second half playing at a noticeably faster pace, and it's working, as the Rebels have climbed back within 44-42 with 13:49 remaining.
An 11-4 run has made the difference for UNLV. Jordan Johnson has done a good job of pushing the tempo, and Shakur Juiston, Jovan Mooring and Brandon McCoy have all finished off fast-break layups.
Fresno State was just dealt a bad break, as leading scorer Deshon Taylor crumpled to the floor after a missed layup. Trainers worked on him for several minutes before the junior guard had to be helped to the locker room.
Rebels trail Fresno State at halftime
UNLV went into a prolonged scoring drought to end the first half, and that has allowed Fresno State to surge ahead and take a 36-29 lead into halftime.
The Rebels scored just seven points over the final 9:44, and they weren't able to convert a single field goal over the final four minutes. So while UNLV looked pretty good while holding a 22-15 lead midway through the half, the team-wide slump has put the Rebels in a hole. UNLV made just 10-of-24 from the field (41.7 percent) in the half.
While UNLV was struggling to make shots, Fresno State was buoyed by the offense of burly forward Terrell Carter. Carter scored 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and the Rebels seemed helpless to defend him on several plays under the rim.
Unless the Rebels figure out a way to impede Carter in the paint in the second half — and start making some shots on the other end — a fourth straight road win is going to be difficult to pull off.
Fresno State leads UNLV, 31-26
UNLV is having difficulty containing Fresno State big man Terrell Carter, and it's wrecking the Rebels' game plan. Carter has scored 10 of Fresno's last 14 points, and FSU leads 31-26 with 3:30 left in the first half.
Carter has nailed his last five shots, all from inside the paint. And the physical forward has done it against every interior defender the Rebels have, as he's scored over Brandon McCoy, Mbacke Diong and Cheickna Dembele.
Carter now has 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and unless UNLV figures out a way to slow him down, he's threatening to take over the game.
UNLV up on Fresno State early
Fresno State jumped out to a 9-1 advantage in the opening minutes, but UNLV has quickly climbed back into this one, and with 10:50 left in the first half the Rebels have built an 18-15 lead.
Freshman forward Tervell Beck has given UNLV great minutes off the bench so far. After starting forward Shakur Juiston checked out early with two fouls, Beck subbed in and has contributed six points in six minutes.
Fresno State has slowed down after a hot start and is now shooting just 37.5 percent as a team.
Three keys for UNLV basketball at Fresno State
Three days after pulling off one of its most exciting victories of the season with a comeback at Colorado State, UNLV is back on the road for a date at Fresno State (8 p.m., CBS Sports Network). Can the Rebels win their fourth straight road game to open conference play? Three keys to watch:
UNLV is a disappointing 0-3 at home against Mountain West competition, but the Rebels have managed to offset some of that by winning their first three road games. Marvin Menzies doesn't know why his team has such a reverse-split so far — "I've never ever been 3-3 and those three were on the road and the three losses were at home. This is an enigma for me, and I've been coaching 36 years," he said after the CSU win — but he's fine with that as long as the Rebels continue to play well away from home.
Fresno State has a home record of 2-2 in conference play, so the Bulldogs are beatable, even though they opened as 4-point favorites. If UNLV can avoid falling behind by double digits in the second half, this should be a close game in the final minutes.
At Colorado State, it was strong defense down the stretch that changed UNLV's fortunes. Fresno State is a more dangerous offensive team than CSU, however, as the Bulldogs have made 41.3 percent of their 3-point shots this season, good for 12th in the nation.
Junior guard Deshon Taylor (19.1 points per game, 39.4 3FG%) is FSU's offensive catalyst, and he's capable of putting up points in a hurry if left unchecked. The Rebels will have to keep Taylor covered and clamp down on the rest of the squad's 3-point shooters.
When Jovan Mooring is going well, the Rebels seem to follow. He scored seven straight points in the closing minutes to lead UNLV past Colorado State, finishing with 17 points and four assists. It will take a similar offensive performance from the senior guard if UNLV is to keep pace with a hot-shooting Fresno State team.
Over the last three games, Mooring is averaging 16.7 points while making 40.0 percent of his 3-pointers. Another efficient offensive performance from Mooring will be necessary if UNLV wants to win this game and move over .500 in the Mountain West.