SAN JOSE – UNLV’s offensive woes continued in the second half Saturday afternoon at The Events Center here as the Runnin’ Rebels managed just one field goal over an 11½ minute span.
Not so coincidentally, Marvin Menzies’ squad blew a 13-point lead during that span en route to a 76-72 loss to San Jose State.
The loss dropped UNLV (10-12, 3-6) into a three-way tie for last place in the Mountain West with the Spartans (10-10, 3-6) and Utah State (9-11, 3-6), which upset Fresno State, 78-65, on Saturday night.
Sophomore forward Brandon Clarke scored a game-high 23 points to go along with 15 rebounds and five blocks and sophomore forward Ryan Welage added 19 points to lead San Jose State, which snapped a seven-game losing streak to UNLV and defeated the Runnin’ Rebels at home for the first time since 1996.
Junior guard Jovan Mooring scored 17 points to go along with four assists and four turnovers to lead UNLV, which connected on just eight of 26 shots (30.8 percent) from the field in the second half and shot just 35.6 percent for the game.
Still, the Rebels stayed in the contest by making 24-of-27 free throws (88.9 percent), including 18-of-20 in the second half.
Sophomore guard Jalen Poyser, who finished with 13 points despite 1-of-7 shooting but was 11-of-13 at the line, hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 63-63 with 3:56 remaining.
But Welage answered with a 3-pointer and Clarke’s tip-in gave San Jose State a 68-63 lead. The Rebels got as close as two points three times after that, the final time when Mooring made the second of two free throws with 8.0 seconds to go to cut the Spartans’ lead to 74-72. But sophomore guard Jaycee Hillsman sealed the win for Sam Jose State by sinking a pair of free throws.
It was the seventh loss in the last 10 games for UNLV which built a 36-27 halftime lead and led 40-27 with 18:51 to go after a steal and layup by freshman guard Zion Morgan.
The loss marked the first time in nine games this season that UNLV lost a game it led at halftime. It also marked just the fifth loss in 40 meetings (35-5) against San Jose State for the Rebels.
UNLV plays three of its next four games at the Thomas & Mack Center starting with a 8 p.m. contest on Wednesday night against New Mexico (13-9, 6-4), a 82-65 loser at Nevada on Saturday.
Click on graphic below for final stats