UNLV 76, Air Force 71By Steve Guiremand, The Sports Xchange | The SportsXchange – Sun, Jan 13, 2013 1:00 AM EST
LAS VEGAS -- Sophomore guard Bryce Dejean-Jones scored eight of his 18 points in overtime, including a game-winning baseline jumper with 12.8 seconds remaining, as No. 24 UNLV rallied to escape with a 76-71 Mountain West Conference victory over Air Force on Saturday night. With 2012 National League Rookie of the Year and Las Vegas native Bryce Harper watching a couple of rows behind the UNLV bench, the Runnin' Rebels (14-3, 1-1) scored the final six points in overtime, including four free throws in the final two seconds, to seal it. Freshman forward Anthony Bennett had 22 points and 16 rebounds and junior forward Mike Moser added 14 points and 11 rebounds for UNLV, which improved to 17-1 all-time against the Falcons (9-5, 1-1) at the Thomas & Mack Center. Senior forward Mike Fitzgerald had 22 points and guard Michael Lyons added 19 points, including a free throw that gave Air Force its final lead, 71-70, with 39.8 seconds left in OT. Dejean-Jones then hit a wide-open jumper from the right baseline to put UNLV back ahead for good, 72-71. Lyons then missed a short jumper from the right side of the key with four seconds left and UNLV center Khem Birch got the rebound and was fouled. Birch then sank a pair of free throws with 1.8 seconds left to increase UNLV's lead to 74-71, and after a long Air Force inbounds pass went out of bounds, Dejean-Jones was fouled and added two more free throws to clinch it. UNLV led by as many as nine points, 41-32, early in the second half but the Falcons methodically chipped away and regained the lead, 55-54, on a 3-pointer from the top of the key by senior guard Kyle Green with 5:38 to go. The Falcons held a 60-58 lead with 3:03 remaining when the Rebels tied it on a layup by Bennett. But the Falcons regained the lead a few seconds later when freshman guard Tre' Coggins was fouled by Justin Hawkins and sank a pair of free throws to make it 62-60. UNLV then tied the game, 62-62, on a pair of free throws by Dejean Jones with 37.9 seconds left. UNLV, which brought a 10-game winning streak over Air Force into the contest, jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first 74 seconds thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Bennett and another jumper by freshman guard Katin Reinhardt. But Air Force, sparked by a pair of 3-pointers by sophomore forward DeLovell Earls, answered with a 9-0 run of its own to take a 9-8 lead and led by as many as four points, 17-13, on a 3-pointer by Green. The Runnin' Rebels, however, eventually regained control with a 17-6 spurt over the next seven minutes en route to a 38-30 halftime lead. Moser, making his first start since dislocating his right elbow in a Dec. 9 game at California, led the way with 12 points and six rebounds in the half. NOTES: Air Force entered the game with just a 2-77 record against ranked teams. ... The game featured the two top scorers in the Mountain West Conference in Anthony Bennett (19.4) and Michael Lyons (18.3). ... UNLV extended its NCAA Division I record for most consecutive games scoring a 3-pointer to 857 when Bennett connected just 14 seconds into the contest. The Rebels have made at least one trey in every game since the 3-point rule was adopted by the NCAA in 1986-87. ... Bennett was selected to The John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 list on Thursday, one of only three freshmen to be picked.
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