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UNLV (20-12) vs. (8) San Diego State (28-3)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Friday, March 14, 9 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas & Mack Center (18,500) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: UNLV 11-7, SDSU 15-1. Away Record: UNLV 6-5, SDSU 9-2. Neutral Record: UNLV 3-0, SDSU 4-0. Conference Record: UNLV 10-8, SDSU 16-2. Series Record: UNLV leads, 35-23.

GAME NOTES: The UNLV Runnin' Rebels head to the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament in their own building, the Thomas & Mack Center, on Friday night yet they are not considered the home team as they clash with eighth-ranked San Diego State.

Seeded fourth in the tournament, the Runnin' Rebels would like to get back to the championship round for the second year in a row and make up for a lost opportunity in 2013 when they bowed to New Mexico, 63-56. Owners of three championships, UNLV managed to take down a pesky Wyoming squad on Thursday afternoon in a 71-67 final.

While the Runnin' Rebels were going do to the wire against the Cowboys, top-seeded San Diego State was making it look far too easy as it demolished Utah State in the quarterfinals, 73-39. The victory was the fifth straight for the Aztecs and marked the fourth time this season that they've held an opponent to less than 40 points.

San Diego State has won this event a total of four times, the most recent title being claimed three years ago with a 72-54 victory over BYU. A year earlier these teams met in the finals, with the Aztecs grabbing a 55-45 win.

In terms of the all-time series between the programs, the Runnin' Rebels are ahead by a count of 35-23, even though SDSU swept the season series for the fourth time this year. The Aztecs logged a 63-52 win at home at Viejas Arena in January and then posted a 73-64 win here at the Thomas & Mack just nine days ago.

The winner of this meeting will go up against the survivor of the Boise State/New Mexico battle in the title game on Saturday for the right to represent the MWC in the NCAA Tournament.

The Rebels shot only 35.5 percent from the field in the first half against a Wyoming squad that has been playing without its best player for several weeks now, but in the end the hometown favorite turned it around in order to grab the win. Bryce Dejean-Jones came off the bench for a change, following a suspension, to tally 22 points, while Roscoe Smith also appeared as a reserve, yet that didn't stop one of the nation's top rebounders to post 18 points and 13 boards. The only UNLV starter to score in double figures was Deville Smith who tallied 15 points, although Khem Birch, the MWC Defensive Player of the Year, did fill his stat line with eight points, nine rebounds and four assists, not to mention on blocked shot.

To say that the San Diego State meeting with Utah State was one-sided would be an understatement, as the Aztecs scored the first points of the afternoon and never looked back. The squad opened the meeting on an 8-0 run, let 36-15 at the break and by as many as 38 late in the second half, even as the starters took an early seat on the bench. Xavier Thames played on a few minutes in the second half, but still tallied a team-best 15 points and seven assists, while Winston Shepard tacked on 13 points. Josh Davis was responsible for another eight points and 13 rebounds, as well as six steals in the lopsided outcome.

One of two players to have started every game for the Aztecs, Thames paces the group with 16.9 ppg, 96 assists and 52 steals, numbers that raised his visibility and earned him MWC Player of the Year honors.

The fact that UNLV was far from dominant against an opponent that was shorthanded, says a lot about how prepared the Runnin' Rebels are for this event. By contrast, the Aztecs didn't have any sort of let-down following their epic comeback win against New Mexico in the regular-season finale, which should be reason enough to put your faith in SDSU again tonight.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Diego State 74, UNLV 58

03/14 10:39:40 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
ROC 4
DUR 5
 
7:05pm Tonight
ROC
DUR
 
Final
KAN 1
NYY 14
Final
COL 5
CIN 4
Final
PHI 3
NYM 6
Final
HOU 3
BAL 4
Final
BOS 2
MIN 7
Final
SFG 8
MIL 4
Final
WAS 2
CHC 1
Final
DET 0
OAK 4
Final
TEX 10
CLE 8
Final
ARI 2
STL 3
Final
MIA 2
PIT 4
Final
CWS 0
TOR 6
Final
SEA 4
TAM 1
Final
ATL 3
LOS 6
Final
SDP 3
ANA 4
7:05pm Tonight
HOU
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
KAN
NYY
 
7:05pm Tonight
MIA
PIT
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
CHC
 
7:07pm Tonight
CWS
TOR
 
7:10pm Tonight
COL
CIN
 
7:10pm Tonight
PHI
NYM
 
7:10pm Tonight
SEA
TAM
 
7:10pm Tonight
TEX
CLE
 
8:10pm Tonight
BOS
MIN
 
8:10pm Tonight
SFG
MIL
 
8:15pm Tonight
ARI
STL
 
10:05pm Tonight
DET
OAK
 
10:05pm Tonight
SDP
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
ATL
LOS
 
Final
GSW 115
HOU 128
8:30pm Tonight
ATL
CLE
 
Final
CHI 4
ANA 5
8:00pm Tonight
NYR
TAM
 
Final
ROC 4
DUR 5
 
7:05pm Tonight
ROC
DUR