UNLV's first three losses on the season all came against the Pac-12, but Dave Rice's squad saved its best for the conference's top team.
The Runnin' Rebels outscored No. 3 Arizona 15-6 in the game's final seven minutes Tuesday night, earning a 71-67 victory at the Thomas & Mack Center.
It was the Wildcats' first defeat of the season, and as ESPN Stats & Info noted, it ended another streak:
For UNLV, it was all about its pair of NBA prospects. Christian Wood had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Rashad Vaughn filled up the box score with 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Vaughn said after the game that he was supremely confident heading into the contest per the Associated Press via ESPN. com: "I thought we were going to win this game. We were focused as a team and at shootaround I had a feeling we were going win this."
CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein pointed out the importance of the victory for UNLV, which improves to 8-3 overall on the young season:
Arizona had a much more balanced effort, as T.J. McConnell led the way with 14 points, and all five starters scored in double figures. Talented freshman Stanley Johnson had a double-double (13 points, 13 rebounds), but he also shot 3-of-11 from the field, 6-of-11 from the line, committed seven turnovers and had a pair of crippling plays—missed layup, turnover—in the final seconds that sealed the win for UNLV.
CBS Sports' Matt Norlander put it simply:
With another undefeated team registering a loss, only eight remain, per NCAA March Madness:
Despite the loss, though, the Wildcats have one of the most talented starting 5s in the country. They'll enter Pac-12 play with aspirations of a conference title and No. 1 seed in March.
For UNLV, it has been an uneven start to the season, but with Wood, Vaughn and freshman Goodluck Okonoboh, this young, talented Rebels squad is going to give a lot of teams problems.
A Jan. 4 matchup at No. 10 Kansas looms as a huge nonconference clash.