Michigan women end UNLV’s 22-game win streak in first round

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BATON ROUGE, La. – Emily Kiser had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Maddie Nolan added 18 points, and sixth-seeded Michigan beat 11th-seeded UNLV 71-59 on Friday in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament, snapping the Rebels’ 22-game winning streak.

Leigha Brown scored 17 points for Michigan (23-9), which had lost three of its previous four games. The Wolverines used their advantages in size and physicality to build and keep a double-digit lead for much of their opening game in the Greenville 2 region.

Guard Laila Phelia, wearing a brace on her left knee and playing in her just her third game since missing seven with a leg injury, exerted her influence on the game defensively, grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds to go with her eight points – less than half of her scoring average of 16.9.

The Wolverines will face either third-seeded LSU or 14th-seeded Hawaii in the second round.

UNLV (31-3) came up one short of the longest winning streak in program history. Its Mountain West Tournament title victory had tied a mark reached previously in the 1978-79 and 1989-90 seasons.

The Rebels came in unbeaten (27-0) when scoring 69 or more points – a total they could not reach against a Michigan team that outrebounded them 41-31.

Essence Booker scored 16 points for UNLV, while Justice Ethridge and Desi-Rae Young each scored 11.

Michigan took the lead for good when Phelia’s offensive rebound set up Brown’s second-chance layup to make it 9-7 in the first quarter.

The Wolverines led by as many as 13 points in the second quarter before Kenadee Winfrey and Ethridge each hit 3s during an 8-0 run that helped UNLV get as close as five points.

Michigan led 28-20 at halftime. The Wolverines took a 17-point lead when Kiser scored eight points on a free throw, two layups and a 3 during a 12-0 run that made it 48-31 late in the third period. UNLV only got as close as nine points after that.


UNLV: Shot 28% (7 of 25) from 3-point range, well below its season-long average of 33.8% coming in. … Shot 38% (23 of 60) overall, also well below its 46.3% average for the season.

Michigan: Converted 12 offensive rebounds into 13 second-chance points. … Finished with a 20-14 advantage in points off turnovers.

No. 22 UNLV women beat Nevada, end MWC regular season 18-0

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Desi-Rae Young scored 20 points, Alyssa Durazo-Frescas added 18 and No. 22 UNLV rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Nevada 71-66 on Tuesday night to finish the regular season undefeated in the Mountain West Conference.

UNLV is the second program to run the 18-game Mountain West schedule undefeated (Colorado State, 2016). It is also just the fourth time a Mountain West team finished the regular season undefeated in conference play. UNLV has not been undefeated in conference play since going 8-0 against the Big West in 1985.

UNLV trailed 54-44 with 3:07 left in the third quarter but opened the fourth with a 13-1 run and led 62-57 with 4:32 remaining. Young scored six points and Durazo-Frescas had five during the stretch. The Rebels outscored the Wolf Pack 22-10 in the fourth.

Young was 6 of 10 from the floor and 8 of 8 from the free-throw line. Durazo-Frescas was 5-of-10 shooting from the field with four 3-pointers. Kiara Jackson added 11 points and Alyssa Brown had 10 for UNLV (28-2, 18-0).

Victoria Davis scored 19 points to lead Nevada (9-20, 6-12). Alyssa Jimenez added 13 points and Megan Ormiston 10.

UNLV’s 19-game winning streak is its longest since 1989-90 when it won 22 straight.

No. 19 San Diego State beats UNLV 71-62 for 2nd MWC title

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LAS VEGAS — Winning their 11th straight game and the Mountain West Conference regular-season title was just another step for the No. 19 San Diego State Aztecs.

“The most meaningful basketball is still ahead of us,” coach Brian Dutcher said after SDSU beat UNLV 71-62 Wednesday behind 19 points from Matt Mitchell and 16 from Jordan Schakel.

Nathan Mensah scored 14 points for the Aztecs (20-4, 14-3 MWC), who used a 14-0 run spanning halftime to take control. They get a week of rest before returning to Las Vegas as the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

With its NCAA Net Ranking at a season-high No. 17, SDSU appears to have done enough to get an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament if it doesn’t win the conference tourney and secure the MWC’s automatic bid.

“What this team accomplished this season was really special because of the circumstances we had to do it in,” Dutcher said. “We started back in September with one coach in gloves and a mask, one basketball, one player, and we couldn’t rebound the ball for the player. And to think a few months later we’re celebrating a conference championship. It’s a credit to everybody in our program.”

The Aztecs gave Dutcher an ice shower afterward. “I’m still picking ice out of my ear,” the coach said.

The Aztecs controlled their own destiny during the last week after the MWC awarded them a pair of forfeit victories over New Mexico for a series that wasn’t played because the Lobos had injuries but no COVID-19 cases. Those forfeit victories don’t count in SDSU’s overall or formal conference record, but will count for seeding and conference championship implications. SDSU swept two home games against Boise State during the weekend.

David Jenkins Jr. scored 32 points for UNLV (11-13, 8-9), while leading scorer Bryce Hamilton was held to nine points, nine under his average, and fouled out with 1:41 to go.

SDSU opened a 16-point lead in the second half before UNLV cut it to eight points. The Aztecs responded with a 9-0 burst for a 62-45 lead, with Mensah getting a slam dunk and making four free throws and Schakel hitting a 3. Schakel finished with a career-high nine rebounds, just missing his first career double-double.

SDSU scored the final seven points of the first half as part of a 14-5 run and led at halftime for the 12th straight game, 35-28.

The Aztecs continued the run by scoring the first seven points of the second half to run the lead to 42-28. Schakel hit a 3-pointer, Mensah scored inside and Mitchell had a nice spin move for a layup, drew a foul and made the three throw.

Trailing 23-21, the Aztecs got five points in five seconds. Schakel hit a 3-pointer and Mitchell stole the inbound pass and dunked for a 26-23 lead.

UNLV tied it at 28 when Moses Wood hit a 3-pointer and Hamilton made a baseline jumper. SDSU then closed the half on a 3-pointer and two free throws by Schakel and two free throws by Adam Seiko.

UNLV’s David Jenkins Jr. had 14 points in the first half, including four 3-pointers. He made three 3-pointers in the first four minutes for UNLV’s first nine points.

SDSU was 30-2 last year and most likely would have received a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament before it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s nice after everything we’ve been through,” Schakel said. “It’s been a long, long journey. Hopefully we’ll make it to the tournament and play for the guys who didn’t get the chance last year. It would have been really special last year.”


SDSU: Mitchell, a senior, moved past three players and into sixth place on the Aztecs’ all-time scoring list with 1,408 points. … This is the first time in school history the Aztecs have won consecutive outright regular-season conference titles.

UNLV: Hamilton came in leading the Runnin’ Rebels with 18.5 points per game, but had a tough time getting going. He had only four points at halftime while committing three fouls.


SDSU has seven days off before the quarterfinals of the MWC tournament on March 11.

UNLV ends its regular season at Wyoming on Saturday night.

Gonzaga, Big Ten continue to dominate latest AP Top 25

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It’s hard to decide who has been more dominant in men’s college basketball this season: Gonzaga or the Big Ten Conference.

The Bulldogs remained the clear-cut No. 1 on Monday, earning 62 of 64 first-place votes in The Associated Press poll after their latest win over a Top 25 foe, while the Big Ten placed nine teams in the poll, with Wisconsin and Iowa in the top 10.

Gonzaga blitzed then-No. 16 Virginia 98-75 on Saturday for the most lopsided win over a ranked team in the Mark Few era, giving the Bulldogs a poll-record fourth win over a Top 25 team in a team’s first seven games of a season. Kansas, Iowa and West Virginia also have fallen to Corey Kispert & Co., all of them on neutral floors.

“They’re so potent offensively,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said. “They’re so well-coached. They have such talent. Our lack of athleticism showed. They have such athletic guys, and they’re veterans in all spots, I think.”

Second-ranked Baylor received the other two first-place votes, and the Jayhawks remained No. 3 after their rout of then-No. 7 West Virginia. Villanova and Houston each moved up a spot after Iowa’s overtime loss to Minnesota.

After that? Well, it pretty much reads like the Big Ten standings.

The sixth-ranked Badgers began a run of Top 25 teams from the league, jumping three spots after wins over Nebraska and then-No. 12 Michigan State. The Hawkeyes dropped from fourth to 10th while surprising Rutgers began a run of four more Big Ten teams at No. 14 – Illinois, Michigan and the Spartans were right behind the Scarlet Knights.

No. 19 Northwestern and No. 21 Minnesota were newcomers to the poll and Ohio State rounded out the Top 25.

“You look at our schedule, this is a heck of a week for us from an energy standpoint,” said Wildcats coach Chris Collins, whose team is ranked for the first time since Nov. 13, 2017. “To have to play Michigan State, at Indiana, then come home and play a real tough Ohio State team and to win all three games, it shows a lot about the grit of our team.”

The league’s newcomers will have their hands full over the next couple of weeks.

Northwestern’s next five games begin with trips to Iowa and Michigan, a home game against Illinois, a trip to Ohio State and the return game against the Hawkeyes. In fact, eight of their next nine are against ranked opponents.

Minnesota, whose lone loss came to Illinois and which was last ranked on Dec. 4, 2017, plays its next six against Top 25 teams: Michigan State, at Wisconsin, Ohio State, at Michigan, at Iowa and the Wolverines at home.

“We’re a pretty motivated team,” Golden Gophers coach Richard Pitino said. “We just talked about what Illinois did to us and we didn’t get negative or lose hope. It was one game and we had to get back to work, which is what we did. We didn’t even watch film on it. We addressed it and moved on … and we beat a team that people think can go to the Final Four.

“We’ll turn the page and look towards the next one,” he added. “We’re not a get too-high-or-too-low-type of program.”


While the Big Ten leads the way in quantity, the Big 12 just might lead in quality. Baylor and Kansas are joined by No. 8 Texas and ninth-ranked West Virginia to give the league four teams in the top 10. No. 13 Texas Tech isn’t far behind.


Tennessee climbed one spot to No. 7 ahead of its game Wednesday night at No. 12 Missouri, which climbed two spots after remaining unbeaten last week. Creighton also rose two spots to No. 11 after beating then-No. 22 Xavier.


Florida State was the best-ranked team from the ACC at No. 18. Duke held steady at No. 20, and Virginia tumbled to No. 23 with Virginia Tech right behind, giving the conference four teams squeezed into the Top 25.

No. 21 Oregon was the only team from the Pac-12. The Ducks climbed four spots after pushing their winning streak to six.


Xavier was the first team outside the Top 25, falling four places after its loss to Creighton. North Carolina was the biggest loser, tumbling from No. 17 out of the poll after the Tar Heels lost a close game at North Carolina State.


San Diego State has been hanging around just outside the Top 25 for weeks, but the Aztecs won’t have a chance to help their cause until playing Nevada on Jan. 7 – they had two games against UNLV this weekend postponed. Arkansas (8-0) and Georgia (7-0) also are making a push toward joining SEC brethren Tennessee and Missouri in the Top 25.

Mountain West to begin conference schedule in December

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The Mountain West Conference will play an 18-game basketball schedule, starting in late December.

The season will begin on Dec. 29 and conclude March 6, according to a news released issued Friday.

Each team will play nine home games and make nine road trips, with individual schedules to be released later.

The conference tournament will be held March 10-13 in Las Vegas.

Utah State won last year’s Mountain West tournament by defeating San Diego State in the title game, just before the NCAA Tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NCAA pushed back the start of the 2020-21 basketball season to Nov. 25 due to the pandemic.

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.