Brian Johnson hit two two crucial three-pointers, and UC Santa Barbara held off a late rally by Nevada Las Vegas to upset the No. 13-ranked Runnin' Rebels, 62-60, in a Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. game Thursday night at Las Vegas.
Jarvis Basnight, the nation's leading percentage shooter, had a chance to tie the game for UNLV and force overtime, but his 15-foot jumper at the buzzer fell short.
Johnson's three-pointer with seven minutes left in the game gave Santa Barbara (10-1 overall, 2-0 in the PCAA) the lead for good, 55-54. His second three-pointer, with 4:07 left, stretched the advantage to 59-54.
In handing UNLV (11-1, 2-1) its third loss in 51 games, the Gauchos snapped the Rebels' 21-game PCAA winning streak. The victory was the first ever for Santa Barbara over UNLV and was the Rebels' first home loss in nearly two years.
Johnson's three-pointers were his only baskets of the game and came during a run that wiped out a 54-50 lead that UNLV held with nine minutes left in the game.
Santa Barbara stretched the lead to 62-55 on a free throw by Greg Trygstad with 2:16 to play.
UNLV pulled within four on a three-pointer by Clint Rossum with 1:40 left and cut the margin to 62-60 on a steal and basket by Karl James with 1:15 remaining.
Santa Barbara missed the front end of four 1-and-1 free throw opportunities in the last two minutes, including one with 36 seconds left that gave UNLV its final possession.
After a timeout with 21 seconds left, UNLV inbounded the ball but was unable to get a shot until Basnight's miss.
Basnight scored 16 points for the Rebels, while Carrick De Hart had 13 and Eric McArthur added 11 for the Gauchos.