LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Omari Moore scored 15 points and Tibet Gorener added 11 off the bench, leading San Jose State to a 75-72 overtime victory over UNLV in the Mountain West opener for both teams Wednesday at the Provident Credit Union Event Center in San Jose, California.
The Spartans, 10-4 overall, led 41-30 at intermission on the strength of a 16-2 run to close the half. But the Rebels rallied, mostly on the strength of EJ Harkless, who scored all of his game-high 20 points after intermission.
It appeared the Rebels would notch the victory, too, when Luis Rodriguez made a short jumper with six seconds left in regulation to snap a 65-65 tie. But after a review by the officials, it was determined the basket came after the shot clock expired.
San Jose State’s Moore missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer, forcing overtime.
In the overtime, the Rebels trailed 72-70 with 30 seconds left when Jordan McCabe stole an inbound pass and fed Keshon Gilbert in the open court. Gilbert missed a contested layup, and San Jose State got the rebound.
Sage Tolbert scored five of his nine points in the extra period, and freshman Garrett Anderson sealed it for the Spartans, making three free throws in the closing seconds.
“We will find out a lot about ourselves in the coming days,” said UNLV coach Kevin Kruger, whose team is 11-2 overall. “We went through a stretch tonight where we gave them a cushion, and it proved too much to come back from. We will watch the film together tomorrow, and then we will move on to get ready for San Diego State (on Saturday).”
San Jose State coach Tim Miles was overjoyed with the triumph, calling it an “excellent win.” The Rebels had won 10 straight against the Spartans, including six in San Jose.
Added Miles, whose team has lost a couple of games late: “I think what I enjoyed about it most is … it was just a rock-solid effort.” Miles liked that his team withstood a couple of runs from the Rebels, “and we’ve lost a couple of those this year. To be able to fight back against a team the caliber of UNLV and get over the top and win that, I think it says a lot about the resolve of our players.”
One major advantage for the Spartans was free-throw shooting. San Jose State was 21-for-30 from the line to 7-for-11 for the Rebels.
The Spartans also were able to handle UNLV’s defensive pressure. The Rebels entered the game as the No. 1 team in the nation in forcing turnovers, causing an average of more than 21. The Spartans made 12, a season low for UNLV opponents.