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Feb. 14, 1998


LAS VEGAS, Nev (AP) - Issiah Epps' layup with 6:56 remaining put UNLV ahead to stay, and the Rebels held off a late threat to beat the University of Texas-El Paso 69-63 Saturday night.

UTEP pulled within 65-63 on Sharif Fajardo's 3-point goal with 48 seconds left to play, but two free throws each by Epps and Tyrone Nesby sealed the win. Kevin Simmons had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and freshman reserve Greedy Daniels scored 19 points for the Rebels (13-10, 4-5 Western Athletic Conference).

William Smith led the Miners (13-11, 3-8) with 20 points. Fajardo had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Epps, a sophomore starting in place of Keon Clark at center, scored nine points, had seven rebounds and blocked three shots. Clark was suspended indefinitely for violating undisclosed team rules.

UTEP led 32-30 at halftime, and the game was close almost all the way.

The Miners' biggest lead was three points, twice in the first half, and the Rebels' largest lead was 65-58 with 3:22 remaining.

There were 19 lead changes in the game, which was tied on nine different occasions.

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