The Runnin' Rebels (5-2), behind the outside shooting of guard Curtis Terry (20 points, 6 of 8 3-pointers) and forward Joe Darger (23 points, 4 of 8 treys), pulled away to an 11-point lead (39-28) at halftime behind a trio Terry 3-pointers and were never really threatened after that en route to an 84-71 victory over UTEP (4-2) on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
"It definitely feels good to put (the Santa Barbara loss) behind us," Terry said. "That's what everyone was saying when we first came out … put the game on Tuesday behind us, and come out here and get a win and start rolling again."
"I don't think anybody on this team likes to lose," added Darger. "Getting that loss behind us and getting a win against a quality team was important. Sometimes those can get the best of you but our coaching staff does a great job of preparing us for the next game and putting the past behind us."
The Rebels, who entered the game shooting just 29.3 percent from 3-point range, connected on 10 of 22 treys (45.5 percent) against the Miners.
"We're going to be a team that takes a lot of 3s, and tonight they were dropping," Terry said.
Especially for Terry, who nailed three in a row over a 1:42 stretch just before halftime to help propel the Rebels on a 13-2 run and extend UNLV's lead to 36-24.
The Rebels led by as many as 16 points (twice) early in the second half before UTEP went on a 8-0 run to cut it to 53-45 with 13:28 remaining. But Terry stopped the bleeding with another 3-pointer that, combined with a rare switch to a 3-2 matchup zone defense, helped ignite another 11-3 run and put the Rebels back up by 16, 64-48, with 10:28 left. UNLV never led by fewer than nine points the rest of the way.
"Tonight we finished played and made them fight," Terry said. "We changed our defense up a little bit and threw something different at them. The first time they had to back off and use time to figure something out. For the most part we played well except for rebounding late which we can always work on."
UTEP finished with a 43-37 edge on the boards, including a 24-19 advantage in the second half.
Guard Wink Adams, who practiced sparingly during the week after spraining his knee in warm-ups at Santa Barbara, finished with 14 points, including 10 of 11 free throws, while 6-foot-8 sophomore Lamar Roberson added 7 points and 7 rebounds in just 13 minutes of action and sophomore point guard Marcus Lawrence had 7 assists and just one turnover.
Resilient Rebels rip UTEP, 84-71
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