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UNLV survives Wyoming to earn spot in Mountain West semifinals

The UNLV Rebels were good enough when it counted the most Thursday at Thomas & Mack Center.

Bryce Dejean-Jones returned to the Rebels lineup to score 22 points as UNLV got past the Wyoming Cowboys 71-67 in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Tournament in Las Vegas. The fourth-seeded Rebels (20-12) will meet the top-seeded San Diego State Aztecs on Friday at 6 p.m. in the semifinals.

Dejean-Jones, who was suspended for last Saturday's 76-72 loss at Nevada, had four assists and made 9-of-17 field goals. His biggest basket of the night might have been a jumper at the halftime buzzer that gave the Rebels a 28-27 lead at the break.

Roscoe Smith also returned to the Rebels lineup after missing two games with a concussion and scored 18 points and had 13 rebounds. Smith was 8-of-12 from the floor.

Wyoming took an early 22-15 lead on a dunk by Josh Adams with 5:29 to go in the first half. Adams, who scored 24 points, also hit a 3-pointer 90 seconds earlier for a 20-13 Cowboys' lead.

Jerron Granberry (18 points) hit a 3-pointer as Wyoming took a 35-32 lead with 16:18 to go. Dejean-Jones, though, had a pair of jumpers 27 seconds part to give UNLV a 37-35 lead with 14:16 left.

Granberry, who had three 3-pointers, had a lay-up as Wyoming tied the game at 44-44 with 9:37 to play. Deville Smith then took over the game for the Rebels, hitting a jumper for a 48-45 lead, a 3-pointer for a 61-48 lead and two free throws for a 63-53 lead with 1:25 to play.

Smith had 15 points.

Wyoming, though, wouldn't go away.

Senior guard Nathan Sobey completed a 3-point play as Wyoming pulled to within 66-65 with just 24 seconds to play. Smith, however, buried a pair of free throws to give UNLV a 68-65 lead with 22 seconds left.

Sobey missed a 3-pointer with 17 seconds to go and the rebound went to UNLV's Khem Birch. Birch, who had eight points and nine rebounds, calmly sank a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left for a 69-65 Rebel lead.

Adams had a jumper with 10 seconds to go to cut UNLV's lead to 70-67 but Kevin Olekaibe's free throw put the game away for UNLV with seven seconds left.

Wyoming fell to 18-14 with the loss.