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MWC roundup: UNLV shoots down Air Force this time

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — UNLV struggled to beat Air Force at home in late January, but the Runnin' Rebels had little trouble handling the Falcons on the road Saturday.

Chace Stanback scored a career-high 21 points and UNLV hit a season-high 13 3-pointers en route to a 77-47 victory.

The Runnin' Rebels (22-7, 10-5 Mountain West) used a swarming man-to-man defense to shut down the Falcons (9-18, 1-13). UNLV was dominant from the start and used a 17-0 run midway through the first half to blow it open.

It was UNLV's fifth consecutive victory over Air Force, which has lost seven straight and dropped 13 of its last 14.

"My teammates were looking for me a lot, and I was able to knock down some shots," Stanback said. "We had a lot of open looks, and we expect to knock those down. We wanted to play hard defensively and execute offensively. We came out really tough," and everything happened for us and was on our side."

Kendall Wallace scored 15 points and Oscar Bellfield 12 for UNLV, which shot 58.8 percent (30 of 51). UNLV has won its last three games after dropping three in a row.

"We were very solid from the start," coach Lon Kruger said. "We made shots. On the other end, defensively, (there was) really good awareness. We were really sharp and alert on both ends."

The Runnin' Rebels improved to 9-3 on the road and swept their season series from the Falcons.

"You certainly have to give them credit defensively, but I thought they were even better offensively," Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds said of UNLV. "Their defense caused us to be extremely tentative early. They got us back on our heels and took control of the game right from the start. They are playing as well as anyone in the league."

This game was vastly different from UNLV's tough 60-50 win over Air Force on Jan. 26 in Las Vegas. The Falcons led 24-21 at the half in that contest, which was close throughout.

"At UNLV, we were able to control the game," Reynolds said. "What's ironic is that they only ran one play different than they did in the previous game, and yet we did not have the energy to get out and contest their shots."

Evan Washington and Grant Parker led Air Force with 10 points apiece.

Stanback was 8-for-13 from the field and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds to lead UNLV to the blowout victory. The Runnin' Rebels dominated virtually every statistical category, outrebounding the Falcons 31-18 and tallying 24 assists to the Falcons' 10.

"It's tough when you lose like that; it's embarrassing," said Air Force's Tom Fow, who had eight points. "We know what we need to do. It's just a matter of doing it. We're trying to find the answers."

TCU 73, COLORADO STATE 67: At Fort Worth, Texas, Zvonko Buljan scored 17 points and had 11 rebounds as TCU rallied past Colorado State.

Trailing 61-53 with 8:02 to play, the Horned Frogs (13-16, 5-9 Mountain West) went on a 20-6 run and scored the game's final seven points. Buljan sealed the win by hitting the first of two free throws with 2 seconds remaining, then rebounding his miss on the second and scoring a layup.

Andy Ogide finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Rams (15-13, 6-8), who lost their fourth straight. Dorian Green added 14 points.

Greg Hill scored 16 for TCU and Edvinas Ruzgas had 13.