New Mexico Defeats 20th-Ranked UNLV, 72-67, to Advance to MW Final
2012 Conoco MW Basketball Championships Central
2012 Conoco MW Men's Basketball Championship Bracket
March 9, 2012
LAS VEGAS - Drew Gordon had 19 points and 13 rebounds for New Mexico, which raced back from deficits of 12-0 and 17-4 to stun No. 20 UNLV 72-67 in the Runnin' Rebels' home arena in the Mountain West Conference semifinals Friday night.
The Lobos (26-6) will play No. 18 San Diego State in the championship game Saturday night. The Lobos and Aztecs shared the regular-season title, with SDSU earning the top seed on a tiebreaker. SDSU will be trying for its third straight tournament title and automatic NCAA berth.
Tony Snell added 15 points and Demetrius Walker 12 for the Lobos, who outrebounded UNLV 41-25 and took advantage of the Runnin' Rebels shooting just 35.6 percent overall.
New Mexico had lost to UNLV (26-8) the previous seven times they'd met in conference tournament games.
Gordon's biggest rebound came with 40 seconds left after UNLV's Anthony Marshall missed a shot with the Lobos leading, 68-65. Kendall Williams was fouled and made both shots for a five-point lead with 26 seconds to go. UNLV missed two easy shots on its next possession. Marshall made two free throws with 14 seconds left to pull UNLV to 70-67, but Williams sealed it with two free throws with 12 seconds left.
All of Gordon's rebounds were on defense.
Marshall scored 19 for UNLV (26-8), Oscar Bellfield 13 and Mike Moser 11.
It was a grudge match after the teams split regular-season blowouts. UNLV beat New Mexico 80-63 at home on Jan. 21 behind Moser's double-double. On Feb. 18, New Mexico routed the Runnin' Rebels 65-45 in Albuquerque behind Gordon's monster game of a career-high 27 points and 20 rebounds.
UNLV lived up to its nickname when it ran to a 12-0 lead behind 3-pointers by Chace Stanback and Anthony Marshall and two three-point plays by Bellfield.
Bellfield's 3-pointer made it 17-4.
New Mexico wasn't down for long. A.J. Hardeman and Hugh Greenwood made two shots apiece and Gordon had one during a 10-0 run that brought the Lobos to 17-14.
The Lobos tied it at 29 on a jumper by Jamal Fenton with 1:54 before halftime and took their first lead on two free throws by Tony Snell with 1:27 to go.
UNLV's Kendall Wallace hit a 3 just before the buzzer for a 34-31 lead.
UNLV made six of 12 3-pointers in the first half, but shot just 37.5 percent overall. New Mexico shot 50 percent overall, but made only 1 of 8 from behind the arc.
New Mexico took control in the second half and was ahead 64-56 after two free throws by Gordon. But UNLV came back to tie it on two free throws by Marshall, a 3-pointer by Moser and a three-point play by Marshall.
After missing shots on consecutive possessions, the Lobos went ahead 66-64 on two free throws by Walker after UNLV big man Brice Massamba fouled out. Marshall went to the line again with 1:18 left and made one of two. Walker made two free throws to put the Lobos up 68-65 with 50.3 seconds to go.
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