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Vaughn leads Rebels to 75-61 win over South Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Rashad Vaughn scored 18 points and had plenty of help as UNLV defeated South Dakota 75-61 before an energized sellout crowd of 3,250 at the Sanford Pentagon.

Jelan Kendrick finished with 13 points, Patrick McCaw had 12 and Chris Wood totaled 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Rebels (6-2).

UNLV’s perimeter defense was strong throughout the game. The Coyotes (3-8) shot 2-for-17 from 3-point range and mounted only a brief rally late in the game.

Brandon Bos was the Coyotes’ top scorer with 19 points. His driving bank shot cut the Rebels’ lead to 65-55 with five minutes left. Tyler Larson, a senior guard from Desert Pines High School, drove for a layup to pull South Dakota within 69-61 with two minutes to go.

HALFTIME REPORT:

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Rashad Vaughn scored 14 points to lift UNLV to a 42-31 halftime lead over South Dakota.

Patrick McCaw’s steal and 3-pointer just before the buzzer gave the Rebels their largest lead of the half. McCaw, Jordan Cornish, Cody Doolin and Jelan Kendrick each had five points.

UNLV made a late run without 6-foot-11-inch forward Chris Wood, who picked up his third foul with 7:05 remaining.

The Coyotes came in as a hot-shooting team but went 0-for-5 from 3-point range.

PREGAME REPORT:

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — It’s not a true homecoming game for UNLV freshman Rashad Vaughn, but it’s close enough. He’s just happy to be able to attend it.

Vaughn grew up in Minneapolis, about a three-hour drive from where the Rebels will play today, and he said a large group of family and friends are making the trip to see him.

UNLV (5-2) faces South Dakota (3-7) at 5 p.m. at the Sanford Pentagon, a 3,250-seat arena about an hour from the Coyotes’ campus in Vermillion.

Vaughn will be back in the starting lineup. He has not played in a game since Dec. 3, when he suffered from back spasms in the second half of a loss at Arizona State. The 6-foot-6-inch guard returned to practice at full speed four times this week.

“I’m back to normal,” said Vaughn, the Rebels’ leading scorer at 16.2 points per game. “It was weird. But I’m good now.”

South Dakota, which competes in the Summit League, has lost three games in overtime, including a 91-88 double-overtime defeat at Creighton on Tuesday.

“After watching film, they have a lot of shooters, and we have to go in there thinking South Dakota is a great team,” Vaughn said.

UNLV is a 3-point favorite on what is considered a neutral court.

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907. Follow him on Twitter: @mattyoumans247.

Who’s going to win? See our staff picks.

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