UNLV holds off ASU in NIT first round.

Rebels ice game at the line, get 21st win of the season...

After leading the entire second half, UNLV was forced to hit 13 of 14 free throws in the last two minutes to hold off a rally by the Sundevils in the first round of the NIT. UNLV lead by 14 points three different times midway through the second half, but the Rebels inability to rebound, defend the penetration, and take smart shots in the last 10 minutes let ASU back in the game. The Sundevils took advantage of their size advantage to dominate the boards and keep the Rebels from running away with the victory. Arizona State scored on 20 of their last 23 possessions.

ASU outrebounded the Rebels 43-29 on the night, however they could only convert on 44% from the floor and 17% from behind the three point line. UNLV, on the other hand shot 53% from the floor and 50% (8 of 16) from three point range.

ASU, who was led by Awvee Storey's (who averages only 8 points a game) 29 points, cut the Rebel lead to 83-81 with a 1:30 left, but that is as close as they would get. Dalron Johnson's jump hook and two free throws following a Sundevil brick pushed the lead to 87-81 with just over a minute remaining. The Rebels then iced the game from the line. In addition to Johnson's 26 points, 7 rebounds and 4 blocked shots, Marcus Banks had 23 points and 5 assists, while Lou Kelly poured in 19 points.

UNLV could be looking at another home game in round two of the NIT, and faces the winner of tonight's South Carolina/Virginia game.

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