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UNLV 64, New Mexico 55

The SportsXchange

LAS VEGAS -- Freshman forward Anthony Bennett scored 17 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked three shots and UNLV led wire-to-wire in defeating No. 15 New Mexico, 64-55, Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Sophomore guard Bruce Dejean-Jones added 16 points and nine rebounds and freshman guard Katin Reinhardt finished with 14 points, including four 3-pointers, as the Rebels (18-6, 5-4) snapped a two-game losing streak and moved into a tie for fourth place in the Mountain West.

Sophomore center Alex Kirk had 17 points and 16 rebounds for New Mexico (20-4, 7-2), which remains a half-game ahead of idle Colorado State (19-4, 6-2) in first place in the Mountain West.

Bennett had five dunks en route to his ninth double-double of the season, the final one gave UNLV its largest lead of the game, 53-37, with 8:58 remaining. The Lobos, who defeated the Rebels, 65-60, in the first meeting at The Pit in Albuquerque on Jan. 9, never got any closer than seven points the rest of the way.

The loss snapped a three-game win streak for New Mexico, which has now dropped seven of the last eight regular-season games with UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Spurred on by a near-sellout crowd of 17,738, UNLV looked nothing like the team that seemed to go through the motions in a 64-55 loss at Fresno State three nights earlier, jumping out to a 24-10 lead in the first 12 minutes behind the shooting of Dejean-Jones.

Dejean-Jones, who had lost his starting job for four games earlier in Mountain West play because of his shot selection and poor shooting, scored 13 points during the spurt, including three 3-pointers.

New Mexico, which had 10 turnovers in the first half, closed to within eight points, 31-23, on a Hugh Greenwood steal and layup with 2:23 remaining. But the Rebels went into the locker room with a 14-point lead after Reinhardt nailed a pair of 3-pointers to put UNLV up 37-23.

NOTES: There were eight NBA scouts at the contest with UNLV 6-foot-8 freshman forward Anthony Bennett the center of attention. Bennett, the Mountain West scoring leader, is projected to be a high lottery pick by many draft publications should he come out as expected. ... UNLV brought a 10-game winning streak at the Thomas & Mack Center into the contest, dating back to an 83-79 loss to Oregon on Nov. 23. ... 2012 National League Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals, a Las Vegas High product, sat in the first row behind the UNLV bench.

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