Elijah Mitrou-Long scored a team-high 19 points, including the game’s final two free throws, as UNLV snaps six-game Viejas Arena ski with 66-63 victory Saturday
SAN DIEGO (UNLVRebels.com) – Senior guard Elijah Mitrou-Long led the Runnin’ Rebels in scoring with 19 points, but it was his final two of the game that sealed the UNLV men’s basketball team’s win over No. 4 San Diego State, the nation’s last unbeaten team, 66-63, Saturday at Viejas Arena.
The No. 4 Aztecs were the highest ranked opponent that UNLV has defeated on the road in 29 years, since it beat No. 2 Arkansas in 1991 when the it was the nation’s top-ranked team.
Mitrou-Long made two free throws with 11 seconds left to give UNLV a three-point advantage before Malachi Flynn missed a 3-point attempt with six seconds left. Matt Mitchell stole the ensuing inbound pass but missed his half-court heave and the Runnin’ Rebels started celebrating.
Junior guard Amauri Hardy added 17 points for UNLV (15-14, 10-6), while sophomore guard Bryce Hamilton recorded his second straight double-double and fourth of the season with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The Aztecs (26-1, 15-1) were led by Flynn’s 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists, Mitchell’s 13 points and Jordan Schakel’s 10 points and nine rebounds.
STAT OF THE GAME: UNLV shot 57.7 percent (15 of 26) from the floor in the first half, including 46.2 percent on 3-pointers (6 of 13) to take a 37-25 lead at the break. The Runnin’ Rebels used a 10-0 run to take a 23-14 lead about halfway through the first half.
SDSU COMEBACK: After the Runnin’ Rebels increased their advantage to 14 early in the second half, the Aztecs fought all the way back to trail by just a point with 14 seconds to go (64-63). UNLV made just one field goal over game’s final 10 minutes.
QUOTABLE: “Thrilled our guys were able to come out with a victory tonight. More than the win, it is a culmination of hard work on a daily basis. I know that sounds cliche, but our guys work really hard. We challenge them and their preparation and their focus for this game was tremendous. We saw a lot of guys impact winning and guys that didn’t get in that were on the practice court every day impacted winning as well. It is a really great win for our program. Proud of our coaches, our players and everybody involved. It is a team win so I am excited for them.” – UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger
– No. 4 SDSU is the highest-ranked team that UNLV has defeated since beating No. 3 Arizona at the Thomas & Mack Center on Dec. 23, 2014.
– UNLV has now won three straight games and four of its last five. It’s only loss during that span was to UNR in overtime.
– UNLV has now won two straight road games after going 2-8 in its first 10 contests away from home.
– The Runnin’ Rebels snapped their six-game losing streak at Viejas Arena and evened the all-time series with SDSU, 37-37. The Aztecs had won 16 of 17 vs. the Runnin’ Rebels heading into this game.
– UNLV was outrebounded for just the eighth time this season. It was just the second time the Runnin’ Rebels came away with a victory when being outrebounded. The Aztecs recorded 39 to the Runnin’ Rebels’ 36.
– UNLV held SDSU to just 33.3 percent shooting (8 of 24) in the first half, including 16.7 percent (2 of 12) on 3-pointers. For the game, SDSU shot 38.9 percent from the field and 29.6 percent on 3-pointers.
– UNLV had 13 points off SDSU’s 12 turnovers, while the Aztecs scored just six points off UNLV’s 11 miscues.
– SDSU led in second-chance points, 15-8, but UNLV dominated in bench scoring, 26-4.
– UNLV earned a regular-season split with SDSU. The Aztecs won the Jan. 26 meeting in Las Vegas, 71-67.
– Hamilton has scored in double figures in 16 straight games.
– UNLV has made at least one 3-pointer in a NCAA-record 1,099 straight games.
NEXT FOR THE RUNNIN’ REBELS: UNLV will return home for its regular-season finale vs. Boise State on Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. It will be Senior Night and all fans are encouraged to wear white. Tickets may be purchased at UNLVtickets.com, by calling 702-739-FANS or by visiting the Thomas & Mack Center Box Office.