Jevon Banks, who has provided the Rebels with a reliable spark off the bench over the second half of the season, scored the first five points in overtime. Kelly added his 6 points with two breakaway dunks and two free throws.
New Mexico had an opportunity to tie the game and send it into a third overtime, but Cody Payne's desperation shot was off the mark.
In regulation, UNLV trailed 96-95 with 14 seconds left after Ruben Douglas drained a three pointer. Marcus Banks, who finished with 26 points and four assists, attempted to drive the lane but was fouled with eight seconds remaining. Banks converted on only one of two free throws. Ruben Douglas had an opportunity to win the game, but he was not able to get a shot off at the buzzer after losing control of the ball.
UNLV took early control of the first overtime by scoring the first four points of the extra session. But New Mexico managed to cut the Rebel lead to 104-103 with a minute and a half left.
The Lobos again looked to the hot hand of Douglas for the final shot. However, Banks stripped the ball from Douglas and was fouled with seven seconds remaining. Again Banks was only able to connect on one of two free throws, leaving the Lobos with a glimmer of hope. Senque Carey drove the ball the length of the court and connected on a reverse layup as the buzzer sounded to send it into the second overtime.
The game was played at a frenzied pace with no team holding a lead of greater than seven points. UNLV lead by its greatest margin at 62-55 early in the second half, but the Lobos responded with a 7-0 run to knot the game.
In the most surprising personal performance of the night, Omari Pearson scored 10 points and collected 8 rebounds. UNM went on an 11-0 run to take a 66-63 lead midway through the second half before Pearson led the Rebels with six points during an 8-0 Rebel run.
The Rebels held the lead for most of the first half, but Ruben Douglas hit a bomb from halfcourt to give the Lobos a 51-49 lead.
The Rebels had six players register double figure points, lead by Kelly's career high 35. Marcus Banks finished with 26 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals. Dalron Johnson spent the entire night in foul trouble but managed to chip in 16 points while grabbing 4 boards. Jevon Banks added 12 points with 7 assists. Richardson dropped in 13 points and grabbed 6 boards.
The Rebels next face the second seeded Utes, who defeated Colorado State 69-66
earlier in the day. That game will tipoff at 9 pm and can be seen on ESPN. The
first game pits San Diego State against Wyoming.