Anthony Bennett scored a game-high 18 points and grabbed six rebounds on Tuesday, as No. 21 UNLV shook off a slow start and defeated the Portland Pilots, 68-60, at the Chiles Center.
Anthony Marshall followed with 16 points and six boards and Justin Hawkins chipped in 15 points off the bench for the Runnin' Rebels (6-1), who earned their fourth straight victory despite the absence of junior forward Mike Moser as he deals with a hip injury.
Ryan Nicholas paced the Pilots (3-5) with 15 points, 19 rebounds and six assists, while Korey Thieleke chipped in 12 points in the setback, Portland's third in its last four games.
UNLV shot just 24.2 percent (8-of-33) from the field in the first half, including a putrid 1-of-15 from beyond the arc, but the Rebels managed to hang around thanks to 11 points from Bennett as they trailed by just six, 28-22, heading into the locker room.
Portland built its lead to nine just under four minutes into the second half after Thieleke converted a three-point play to make it 40-31.
The Rebels, though, answered with the next eight points as part of a 13-2 run, which Quintrell Thomas capped with a dunk to give UNLV a 44-42 edge with 13:46 left in the game.
Portland regained its lead with a quick 5-0 surge, but Bennett buried a jumper to spark a 12-0 sprint from the Rebels. Hawkins connected on back-to-back triples during the run before Carlos Lopez-Sosa sank a free throw to make it 56-47 at the midpoint of the second half.
The Pilots wouldn't go quietly, as Nicholas' jumper spurred an 11-5 run to pull Portland within 61-58 with 5:28 left.
After Bennett hit a pair from the charity stripe, Thieleke nailed a jumper to cut the margin back to three, but the Pilots failed to score over the final 3:59 of the contest and the Rebels escaped with the victory.
Moser, who is averaging a team-best 9.2 rebounds per game, aggravated a hip problem in Saturday's win over Hawaii ... Portland hosted a top-25 team for the first time since a 79-48 loss to then-No. 12 Kentucky on Nov. 19, 2010 ... The Pilots have dropped eight in a row to ranked opponents ... The teams were facing for the first time since 1967 ... UNLV leads the all-time series, 3-0.