New Mexico limped into the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday night without the services of two of its top three scorers, senior forward Tim Williams and sophomore swingman Dane Kuiper. But the Lobos still had enough to hand UNLV its third consecutive loss, 80-77.
Junior guard Elijah Brown scored a game-high 29 points, including five 3-pointers, and 7-1 center Obij Aget finished with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to lead New Mexico (14-9, 7-4 Mountain West), which scored on its final seven possessions and got some clutch free throw shooting from sophomore guard Jordan Hunter, who sank three of his four attempts in the final 18 seconds.
Senior forward Tyrell Green came off the bench to score 25 points and grab eight rebounds and junior guard Jovan Mooring finished with 23 points and six assists for UNLV (10-13, 3-7), which took over sole possession of last place in the Mountain West Conference with the loss.
Mooring, who hit a pair of 3-pointers in the final 29.4 seconds to give the Rebels a chance, missed a potential game-tying trey from in front of the UNLV bench as time expired after appearing to slip while going up for the shot.
The Rebels fell to just 8-6 at home this season including 2-3 in conference play and have lost their last three games by a total of just eight points.
“I can’t remember when I’ve lost three games like this, that were so close, bam, bam, bam,” UNLV coach Marvin Menzies said.
The Rebels lost despite forcing 16 New Mexico turnovers and finishing with a huge 25-8 advantage in points off turnovers. But New Mexico outshot UNLV, 48.3 percent to 39.1 percent, and connected on seven of its 15 3-point attempts (46.7 percent).
The Lobos won despite missing Williams, who averages 17.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, and Kuiper, who averages 6.7 points and shoots 38.8 percent from 3-point range. Williams is sidelined indefinitely with a stress reaction in his left foot while Kuiper has a concussion.
UNLV returns to action on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. when it hosts Colorado State (14-9, 6-4).
Click on graphic below for final stats:
Photo by UNLV Photo Services