Las Vegas, NV – Tony Snell hit five 3-pointers en route to 21 points, 10 of which came in a pivotal second-half run, to help the 15th-ranked New Mexico Lobos beat UNLV, 63-56, in the Mountain West Conference title game.
Kendall Williams had 12 points and seven assists for top-seeded New Mexico (29-5), which captured its second straight tournament crown. Hugh Greenwood and Cameron Bairstow both logged nine points and seven rebounds.
"I think we deserve a No. 2 seed or higher (in the NCAA Tournament) 'cause we definitely proved ourselves all year. That's what I think," Snell said.
Bryce Dejean-Jones also drained five 3-pointers, pacing UNLV with 19 points.
Anthony Bennett posted a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds for the third-seeded Runnin' Rebels (25-9).
"Our program, our team, is bitterly disappointed with the result. We felt like we put ourselves in a great position," said UNLV head coach Dave Rice.
A back-and-forth opening half ended with New Mexico clinging to a 34-32 lead.
UNLV continued to hang around in the second half and trailed 46-45 after a Katin Reinhardt free throw midway through the frame. But Snell provided all the offense during a 10-2 surge that put the Lobos up 56-47 with just under four minutes to play.
Dejean-Jones responded with back-to-back threes before Snell knocked down a trey for a 59-53 New Mexico lead with about a minute left.
The Rebels then missed three straight shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, before Williams put the game away with two free throws and a spinning slam.
New Mexico held UNLV to 31 percent shooting in the second half ... The Lobos shot 46 percent for the game ... Reinhardt had 11 points.