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UNLV Falls To No. 25/23 BYU, 77-73

Jan. 6, 2010

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PROVO, Utah (AP) - Jonathan Tavernari scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half and No. 25 BYU pulled away with a late rally then held off UNLV 77-73 on Wednesday night in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams.

The Cougars (15-1) won their eighth straight with an 11-2 run over the final 5 minutes to regain the lead and then hung on at the free throw line.

BYU ended a three-game losing streak against UNLV (12-3).

Cougars' leading scorer Jimmer Fredette, who has been out sick, finished with seven points - 14.6 below his average.

Tre'Von Willis led UNLV with 24 points.

Oscar Bellfield had eight points and nine assists for the Rebels, who have lost two straight since a 12-1 start.

Noah Hartsock had 17 points, Tyler Haws scored 12 and Jackson Emery finished with nine points, including a jumper with 26 seconds left that put away the Rebels.

BYU made 19 of 24 from the free throw line while holding the Rebels to just 12 foul shots.

After shooting 27 percent in the first half with just two 3-pointers, the Cougars regained their touch in the second, going 14 of 27 and making 6 of 11 from beyond the arc.

UNLV had an early run to take the lead in the second half, then after BYU rallied to get back in it, the Rebels used their quickness and outside shooting to go up again 69-64 with about 5 minutes left, but that's when BYU took over with an 11-2 run.

Emery started it with two free throws, Michael Loyd Jr. leaped over everybody for a layup and then Tavernari hit a 3-poitner to put BYU up 71-69 with about 2:45 left.

Willis tied it with two free throws, the Loyd sped through the lane for another layup to put the Cougars back ahead. Willis saved the Rebels from a turnover on the next possession by running down a loose ball, but couldn't get to it after losing control with about a minute left as he and the ball went out of bounds.

BYU got it back and scored on a jumper by Emery with 14 seconds to go for a 75-71 lead.

BYU led 33-32 at halftime despite making just 11 of 41 shots. The Cougars overcame their shooting woes with 14 offensive rebounds and by going 9 of 9 from the free throw line.



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