UNLV was rolling early, leading by 21 points in the first half and seemingly on the way to an easy evening.
It wasn’t, but the Rebels also showed they could make plays when the game got tight.
They finished strong, beating Wyoming 85-70 on Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center.
UNLV (18-7, 7-5 Mountain West) has won four of five, with the only defeat in overtime at Boise State. The Rebels moved into a tie for third in the conference with Wyoming (16-9, 7-5) and Fresno State (17-8, 7-5). The top five teams earn first-day byes in next month’s league tournament.
Shakur Juiston and Brandon McCoy delivered in the clutch for the Rebels. Juiston finished with 22 points and 14 rebounds for his 11th double-double, and McCoy had 19 points and 15 rebounds for his 13th double-double. They each had three blocks.
Hayden Dalton led the Cowboys with 21 points and nine rebounds.
UNLV opened with leads of 11-0 and 19-2 and went up as much as 41-20 with 4:19 left in the first half. But Wyoming closed the half on a 13-2 run and went in front 50-49 on a Dalton follow shot with 15:18 left.
Juiston immediately answered with a rebound and layup, and the Rebels never trailed again.
“At halftime and in the huddle, we were saying, ‘We threw our greatest punch in the beginning, and it’s about time they came with a run and answered,’ ” Juiston said. “They did a great job, but we stayed together and stayed positive and got the job done.”