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Aztecs escape with tight win over UNLV

Feb 13, 2011 - 6:08 AM Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - D.J. Gay scored 20 points as No. 6 San Diego State escaped with a 63-57 decision over UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Kawhi Leonard added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Aztecs (25-1, 10-1 MWC), who have won five in a row since their lone loss to BYU. James Rahon contributed 12 points for the visitors.

"We shot the ball so well early that we were just oozing with confidence. You knew that it would not last and that Vegas would have a run," said Aztecs head coach Steve Fisher. "When they did, we wobbled. I know 18,000 Vegas fans thought they had us, but we found a way with different people."

Tre'Von Willis poured in 13 points and Oscar Bellfield had 12 for the Runnin' Rebels (18-7, 6-5), who have lost two of three. Brice Massamba scored 11 with six rebounds in a losing cause.

Gay sank a pair from the line with 1:02 remaining, which snapped a tie and put San Diego State on top 59-57. Willis then missed from long distance and Malcolm Thomas came down with the rebound, leading to two more free throws for the Aztecs -- by Thomas.

Chace Stanback followed with an ill-advised trey that hit backboard but missed the net, and San Diego State got control and called timeout.

Leonard missed a jumper but Brian Carlwell stuffed a layup attempt from Willis with 12 seconds remaining. Rahon grabbed the ball and was fouled, then nailed his two free throws to ice the game.

"They did what they needed to do down the stretch to get the win," UNLV head coach Lon Kruger said. "They're very good defending the goal when you get there."

A 14-5 run through the midpoint of the first half saw the Aztecs go up 25-13 with under eight minutes left before intermission. Gay began the run with a deuce and Leonard capped the burst with a shot from beyond the arc.

Bellfield connected on a jumper inside of a minute left and UNLV got within 34-27 at the break.

Leonard's jumper just over four minutes into the second half provided an 11- point margin, 43-32, for SDSU, but the Rebels began chipping away and eventually took a 55-54 advantage on a Willis layup with 3:07 remaining.

Game Notes

UNLV has won 32 of 51 all-time meetings. SDSU has won four in a row...The Aztecs made 20-of-22 free throws but committed 14 turnovers...The Rebels made just 1-of-15 three-point tries.