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UNLV knocks off No. 3 Arizona, 71-67 | News

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UNLV knocks off No. 3 Arizona, 71-67
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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Christian Wood had 24 points and 10 rebounds, Rashad Vaughn added 21 points and UNLV pulled off one of its biggest wins in recent years by knocking off No. 3 Arizona 71-67 Tuesday night.

UNLV (8-3) refused to back down, playing more aggressively most of the game to end Arizona's regular-season nonconference winning streak at 39 games.

Trailing by five with 2:19 left, Arizona (12-1) fought its way back, pulling within 68-67 on T.J. McConnell's putback with a minute left.

The Wildcats had a couple of chances in the final minute, but Brandon Ashley's jumper bounced out and Stanley Johnson was stripped by Patrick McCaw in the open court.

McCaw, who had 13 points, hit two free throws, sending the fans rushing onto the court after the buzzer sounded.

Johnson had 13 points and 13 rebounds. McConnell finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.

UNLV coach Dave Rice has spent the first two months of the season trying to find the identity of a team that includes five freshmen and a sophomore.

Playing one of the toughest stretches in program history figured to give him and the Rebels a better sense of where they stand.

UNLV already faced No. 14 Utah and has No. 10 Kansas next week, giving the Rebels a run of three top-15 opponents in 16 days for the first time in program history.

UNLV lost 59-46 to Utah and wasn't expected to give Arizona much of a fight, pegged as a double-digit underdog (12 1-2 points) at home for the first time since 1995.

The Rebels looked like a good bet in the first half, going right at the Wildcats.

UNLV rallied from an eight-point deficit and was the more aggressive team, staying within 41-36 at halftime despite Arizona making 5 of 8 from 3-point range.

Arizona coach Sean Miller didn't mince words about his team's effort just before going into the locker, saying UNLV was bigger, stronger, faster while adding: "We stink."

The Rebels kept attacking the Wildcats, the rowdy crowd inside the Thomas and Mack Center rising with each athletic drive to the basket.

Arizona tried to make a run several times, but the Rebels were right there with them, answering with another athletic play around the rim.

The Wildcats lost super sub Rondae Hollis-Jefferson when he fouled out with 7:14 left and UNLV grabbed a 65-62 lead 3 minutes later when Vaughn scored on a difficult drive to the basket.

Vaughn stretched the lead to 68-63 on a jumper and Arizona, a strong finishing team all season, couldn't come up with the big plays down the stretch this time.

TIP-INS

Arizona: Johnson and Jordan Cornish were called for double technical fouls midway through the first half. The two players had to be separated after a hard foul by Cornish on Johnson. ... Center Kaleb Tarczewski was called for a Flagrant 1 foul for hitting Dwayne Morgan in the face with an elbow while trying to clear space after a rebound.

UNLV: The Rebels are 1-3 against the Pac-12 this season, with losses to Stanford, Arizona State and Utah.

UP NEXT

UNLV hosts Southern Utah on Saturday.

Arizona hosts rival Arizona State on Jan. 4.

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