Kris Clyburn had a career-high 25 points and nine rebounds and UNLV held New Mexico without a field goal for six minutes down the stretch for an 80-69 victory on Tuesday night.
The Runnin’ Rebels (9-6, 3-0 Mountain West) took advantage of a somewhat flat Lobos squad that struggled in its new zone defense, particularly in the second half when UNLV hit 57 percent from the field.
Perhaps the bigger story, though, was New Mexico (8-7, 2-1) going 6-for-25 in the second half as the Rebels recovered from a 42-35 halftime deficit.
But the Lobos only trailed 66-65 with after Corey Manigault made a put-back and Makuach Maluach hit two foul shots with five minutes left. New Mexico, however, would not score another bucket until the waning seconds.
Noah Robotham added 14 points and eight assists for UNLV, while Vance Jackson scored 14 to lead the Lobos.
UNLV: This is the first time UNLV has started Mountain West Conference play at 3-0 and now the Rebels have sole possession of first place — at least until Wednesday when 2-0 Fresno State takes on Utah State.
New Mexico: The Lobos haven’t started 3-0 in conference play since the 2015-16 season when they finished 10-8.
Conference player of the week Anthony Mathis, who scored 27 points in the Lobos defeat of then-No. 6 Nevada on Saturday, finishing with just nine points on 3-of-14 shooting, including 2 of 10 on 3s. He came into the game shooting 44 percent from beyond the arc.
New Mexico next plays at Colorado State on Saturday. The Rams got their first conference win Tuesday.
UNLV remains on the road Saturday to play Air Force, one of three teams without a conference victory.