NO. 11 UNLV (22-5, 6-3 MWC) AT NEW MEXICO (21-4, 7-2 MWC)
Time: 1 p.m. (11 a.m. MT)
Location: University Arena (The Pit) in Albuquerque, N.M.
UNLV 12 (No. 1 Mountain West)
New Mexico 29 (No. 3 Mountain West)
Line: New Mexico -5 (141 o/u)
UNLV Players to Watch: F Mike Moser, 6-8 So. (15 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 2.3 apg); F Chace Stanback, 6-8 Sr. (13.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 45.7% 3s); G Oscar Bellfield, 6-2 Sr. (10.2 ppg, 5.3 apg, 2.3 rpg). Moser – a transfer from UCLA – is fourth in the MWC in scoring, first in rebounding, fifth in field goal percentage (47.2), second in steals (1.9) and is seventh in blocked shots (0.9).
New Mexico Players to Watch: F Drew Gordon, 6-9 Sr. (12.1 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 50% FG); G Kendall Williams, 6-3 So. (12.5 ppg, 4.2 apg, 1.4 spg); G/F Tony Snell, 6-7 So. (11.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2 apg). Williams had a game-high 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 5-of-6 from the 3-point line in the Lobos’ 77-67 upset at San Diego State on Wednesday.
Storylines: With six wins in a row, including the upset over the Aztecs, New Mexico has taken the lead in the Mountain West. The Rebels fell a game behind with a 102-97 overtime loss at TCU on Tuesday.
Key Stats: The Rebels beat New Mexico 80-63 on Jan. 21 behind 52 percent shooting and a double-double from Moser. UNLV has gone to overtime in three of its last four road games, beating Boise State 77-72 on Jan. 25 and Air Force 65-63 on Jan. 28, and losing at TCU. UNLV and New Mexico are the league’s two top-leading scoring teams. The Rebels lead the league with 80.1 points per game, 6.5 points more than the Lobos. UNM’s plus-15.9 scoring margin leads the MWC and is fifth-best in the nation. They average 73.6 points and surrender just 57.7. The Lobos shoot a Mountain West-best 46.7 percent from the field and 39.9 from the 3-point line, which is 13th-best in the country. UNLV leads the MWC in blocked shots (5 per game), assists (18.6) and steals (8.6). New Mexico is tops in the conference in rebounding margin (plus-7.1) and field goal defense (37.4). The Rebels are 6-5 in true road games this season after losing their last two. The Lobos are 11-2 at home, including victories in their last three at University Arena. UNLV is 28-15 all-time against New Mexico and has beaten the Lobos three straight and the last two at The Pit.
The Bottom Line: New Mexico is deep and balanced and should have enough at home stretch its MWC lead on Saturday.
The Pick: New Mexico 76, UNLV 72