Nevada Las Vegas, with All-American forward Larry Johnson scoring eight of his 27 points in the first eight minutes, raced to a 23-9 lead and went on to a 97-85 victory Saturday at Louisville, Ky.
It was the top-ranked Rebels’ 26th victory in a row, but they weren’t impressed with themselves.
“The first half we played terrible,” said guard Anderson Hunt, who made four three-pointers and finished with 20 points. “But we were still up by nine (at halftime), and that gave us a boost.
“We started the (second half) hard. We were quicker. We did a lot of things to them that they did to us in the first half.”
UNLV (15-0) used its quickness on defense in building the early lead, converting six Louisville turnovers into 10 points to take control of the game.
Louisville (7-9) fought back to 35-26 on James Brewer’s three-point basket with 6:29 remaining in the first half but could draw no closer the rest of the way.
The Rebels, leading 43-34 at halftime, put Louisville away with a 16-2 run that gave them a 72-47 lead with 11:54 left. Johnson’s rebound basket 3 1/2 minutes later increased the lead to 84-54.
“As I said before, they win with defense,” Louisville Coach Denny Crum said of the Rebels. “They get a lot of points on defense. They do what Jerry (Tarkanian) wants them to do. There’s not a better-coached team in America. Whatever he asks them to do, they do.”
No. 23 New Mexico State 86, Utah State 66--The Aggies put the game away with a 16-5 run in the first eight minutes of the second half that gave them a 53-36 lead as they went on to their 28th consecutive home victory at Las Cruces, N.M.
Reggie Jordan and Tracey Ware each scored 18 points for New Mexico State (15-2, 7-1).
Jay Goodman and Kendall Youngblood of Utah State (7-10, 4-4) had combined for an average of 35 points per game, but they were held to a total of 21 points.
Fresno State 84, Pacific 77--Wilbert Hooker and Tod Bernard each scored 21 points to help the Bulldogs end a five-game conference losing streak.
Pacific (8-10, 4-5) rallied from an early 12-point deficit to take a 59-56 lead with about seven minutes left at Fresno. The Bulldogs (8-10, 3-6) then went on an 11-point run, taking a 67-59 lead with 3:42 left.