Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Olekaibe scored 17 points as the UNLV Runnin' Rebels captured an 82-66 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs to claim the title of the Las Vegas Classic at Orleans Arena.
Also scoring in double figures for the Runnin' Rebels (8-4) were Deville Smith with 15 points, Roscoe Smith 12 and Khem Birch 11 points. Roscoe Smith also pulled down 12 rebounds, followed by Birch with eight for a UNLV team which has now won five in a row.
The Bulldogs (9-3) were led by Craig Sword who tallied a game-high 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the floor, while Colin Borchert pitched in with 12 points and six rebounds as the team had a four-game win streak snapped.
With a pair of free throws by Dre Applewhite just over four minutes into the first half, the Bulldogs found themselves with a 10-5 advantage. However, those proved to be the only free throws of the period for an MSU team which shot only 39.3 percent from the floor and came up empty on six chances behind the 3-point line. As a result UNLV, which knocked down an impressive 9-of-16 beyond the arc in the frame, came away with a 42-24 halftime lead.
In the second half UNLV dipped to only 2-of-10 on the perimeter and 36.7 percent from the field overall, but it was saved with 16-of-19 accuracy at the charity stripe, en route to the comfortable win.
The Rebels overcame 19 turnovers by outscoring Mississippi State at the free- throw line, 19-9, and also limiting the Bulldogs to just 1-of-11 beyond the arc.