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UNLV finishes on 10-2 run, takes down New Mexico 71-66

GLEN ROSALES, Associated Press
January 10, 2017 10:38 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — UNLV's Jovan Mooring scored 19 points and the Runnin' Rebels finished with a 10-2 run to beat New Mexico 71-66 on Tuesday night.

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Uche Ofoegbu added 14 points and eight rebounds for UNLV (9-9, 2-3 Mountain West).

New Mexico's Dane Kuiper had a career-high 17 points and hit his first six shots. Elijah Brown added 14 points, but his baseline 3-pointer which would have tied it clanked off the rim with three seconds remaining.

The teams were tied at 64 after Jalen Posyer hit a 3-pointer for the Rebels with 3:31 left and Mooring then added a basket and a foul shot at 2:54.

Although Jalen Harris later scored for New Mexico (9-8, 2-3) to make it 69-66, Cheickna Dembele came up with an offensive rebound with 47 seconds left and by the time the Lobos got the ball back, they were limited to Brown's unsuccessful shot to tie it.

BIG PICTURE: The overriding question coming into the game centered on just how well New Mexico would bounce back after its historic meltdown in blowing a 25-point lead Saturday against Nevada.

The answer, apparently, was not very well.

"We just couldn't get it going," New Mexico coach Craig Neal said. "It looked like we didn't have any oomph in our step. It looked like we were in quicksand all night. We tried to give them some time off (after Saturday) and I don't know how much of effect that game had them on Saturday, but evidently it had some effect. We just seemed really lethargic. We couldn't get any stops to get into transition. If we don't get out in transition and get some easy looks, guys are going to key on Elijah and Tim."

The Lobos had not lost at home this season before then, but have now dropped back-to-back home games and three overall.

"We've got to figure it out together," Neal said. "They've shown signs of playing excellent basketball and I think they'll get back to playing excellent basketball. I do think what happened to them the other night got to them. If it was social media, if it was watching highlights, I think it got them and it had some effect on them."

For UNLV, coach Marvin Menzies has not had many fond memories of playing in The Pit, compiling a 1-7 record there as head coach of New Mexico State. After losing four of five coming into the game, Menzies switched up his lineup, inserting Mooring for his first start and it proved to be a smart move as he also added six assists and five steals.

"I think it was good for the overall point guard position in general," Menzies said. "JP (Jaylen Poyser) had a chance to settle in a little bit and be out on the floor without over-thinking in the first few minutes, then he slid over there. There were 11 assists and two turnovers between the two of them, so it was great point guard play."

And getting the win will help the memory of some of those previous losses, he said.

"Any win is important when you're in a state of flux with your guys," Menzies said. "They're a little bit beat up with the losses. But we entered the conference with the mindset that until we're mathematically eliminated, we want to try and compete for a championship ourselves. Then you take a couple of lumps and you go, 'We've got to get better, we've got to get better.'"

INJURIES: New Mexico point guard Jordan Hunter, who missed the last three games with an ankle injury, made an appearance at the 13:45 mark of the second half. Lobos reserve forward Connor MacDougall is in the concussion protocol after suffering a head injury Saturday.

UP NEXT: New Mexico visits Colorado State on Saturday. The teams only met once last season, with the Rams winning 86-69 in the middle of what was a four-game Lobos losing streak.

UNLV plays host to San Diego State on Tuesday. The Rebels have a 21-14 advantage at home in the series.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Credits

GLEN ROSALES, Associated Press

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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