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UNLV zooms past Air Force, 77-47

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — After UNLV struggled to beat Air Force at home in late January, the Runnin’ Rebels had little trouble handling the Falcons on the road today.

Chace Stanback scored a career-high 21 points and UNLV hit a season-high 13 3-pointers en route to a 77-47 victory.

The Runnin’ Rebels (22-7, 10-5 Mountain West) used a swarming man-to-man defense to shut down the Falcons (9-18, 1-13). UNLV was dominant from the start and used a 17-0 run midway through the first half to blow the game open.

It was UNLV’s fifth consecutive victory over Air Force, which has lost seven straight and dropped 13 of its last 14.

"My teammates were looking for me a lot, and I was able to knock down some shots," Stanback said. "We had a lot of open looks, and we expect to knock those down. We wanted to play hard defensively and execute offensively. We came out really tough, and everything happened for us and was on our side."

Kendall Wallace scored 15 points and Oscar Bellfield 12 for UNLV, which shot 58.8 percent (30 of 51). UNLV has won its last three games after dropping three in a row.

"We were very solid from the start," coach Lon Kruger said. "We made shots. On the other end, defensively, (there was) really good awareness. We were really sharp and alert on both ends."

The Runnin’ Rebels improved to 9-3 on the road and swept their season series from the Falcons.

"You certainly have to give them credit defensively, but I thought they were even better offensively," Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said of UNLV. "Their defense caused us to be extremely tentative early. They got us back on our heels and took control of the game right from the start. They are playing as well as anyone in the league."

This game was vastly different from UNLV’s tough 60-50 win over Air Force on Jan. 26 in Las Vegas. The Falcons led 24-21 at the half in that contest, which was close throughout.

"At UNLV, we were able to control the game," Reynolds said. "What’s ironic is that they only ran one play different than they did in the previous game, and yet we did not have the energy to get out and contest their shots."

Evan Washington and Grant Parker led Air Force with 10 points apiece.

Stanback was 8-for-13 from the field and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds to lead UNLV to the blowout victory. The Runnin’ Rebels dominated virtually every statistical category, outrebounding the Falcons 31-18 and tallying 24 assists to the Falcons’ 10.

"It’s tough when you lose like that; it’s embarrassing," said Air Force’s Tom Fow, who had eight points. "We know what we need to do. It’s just a matter of doing it. We’re trying to find the answers."

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