Recap: New Mexico vs. U-N-L-V
Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Drew Gordon scored 19 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead New Mexico past No. 20 UNLV, 72-67, in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
Tony Snell added 15 points, six assists and six rebounds, while Demetrius Walker contributed 12 points for the Lobos (26-6), who will face No. 18 San Diego State in the final on Saturday.
Anthony Marshall netted 19 points and Oscar Bellfield contributed 13 with six assists for UNLV (26-8), which had its 17-game win streak at Thomas & Mack Center snapped.
UNLV held a 34-31 advantage at the break, but Kendall Williams opened the second half with a three-pointer to knot the game.
It was a one-possession game over the next eight-plus minutes until Jamal Fenton's trey was followed by a Walker dunk to put the Lobos ahead, 53-48 with about 11 1/2 minutes left in the game.
UNLV could not get closer than three over the next five minutes as the teams traded baskets, and after Gordon's three-point play put New Mexico ahead, 62-56, with 6:23 to play, the Lobos would not record another shot from the floor.
But they would also not miss a free-throw attempt down the stretch, which would not allow the Runnin' Rebels to capitalize on the offensive slump.
After a pair of Gordon foul shots gave New Mexico its largest lead of the contest, 64-56, UNLV stormed back with eight straight points to tie the game at 64 on Marshall's three-point play with 2:23 left in the game.
Snell would miss a three on the other end, but Bellfield's potential go-ahead three-point attempt on the Rebels' next touch was also no good and Walker was fouled while grabbing the rebound.
His two foul shots put the Lobos ahead, 66-64, with 1:35 showing on the clock before Marshall was fouled on a driving layup.
He would make the back end of his fouls shots to close the gap to one, but Walker was fouled after grabbing a pass in the corner on New Mexico's next touch, resulting in two more foul shots for a 68-65 advantage with 50 seconds left.
Marshall was again given the ball on UNLV's possession, but he missed a layup and Williams' free throws all but sealed the victory as Marshall's baseline dunk attempt which would have made it a one-possession game in the closing seconds rimmed out.
UNLV jumped out the gate fast, opening the game with a 17-6 run that included six straight points by Bellfield.
But New Mexico weathered the storm and responded with a 10-2 spurt to close the gap to 19-16 with a little over 12 minutes left in the opening frame.
Mike Moser, though, put a halt to the swing with a jumper, which sparked a 10-4 run by UNLV to put the Runnin' Rebels ahead, 29-20, after back-to-back three-pointers by Kendall Wallace.
The Lobos recorded the game's next 11 points as UNLV struggled from the floor to take their first lead, 31-29. The Rebels missed eight consecutive shots in the run.
UNLV broke out of its slump with a Wallace trey in the closing seconds after a pair of foul shots by Bellfield to give the Rebels a 34-31 advantage at the break.Game Notes
UNLV leads the all-time series, 28-17...The Runnin' Rebels were 3-0 against New Mexico in the MWC Tournament prior to the loss...New Mexico went 15-for-17 from the free-throw line in the game...UNLV shot 17-of-22 from the foul line...New Mexico outscored UNLV in the paint, 30-18.