Mike Moser scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half and had 14 rebounds to lead third-seeded UNLV to a wild 56-48 victory over sixth-seeded Wyoming on Thursday night in the Mountain West Conference quarterfinals.
Former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian watched from his seat behind one baseline as the Runnin' Rebels held Wyoming to just 11 points in the first half, raced to a 22-point lead early in the second half and then let the Cowboys pull to 51-45 with 59.8 seconds left.
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Oscar Bellfield and Moser each made two free throws and Anthony Marshall had one in the final 48.9 seconds to help UNLV (26-7) advance to the semifinals Friday night against No. 2 seed New Mexico.
Moser was the only UNLV player to score in double figures. Leonard Washington and Luke Martinez scored 11 apiece for Wyoming (20-11).
Wyoming made just 3 of 24 shots -- 12.5 percent -- in the first half, including missing all eight shots from 3-point range.
"When you hold a team like Wyoming with the balance they have on offense ... to 3 for 24, you've done something right," UNLV coach Dave Rice said. "We shot 40 percent both halves. That's a credit to Wyoming's defense."
Said Wyoming coach Larry Shyatt: "I think the first half, when you go 3 for 24, I'm not sure it would matter who you're playing more or less a team as talented and nationally ranked on their home court. ... I feel like we ran out of time tonight. I feel like if they'd have put 4 or 5 more minutes on the clock, the outcome might have been different."
While Wyoming went nearly 8 minutes without making a field goal in the first half, Moser thrived. He scored eight straight points for the Runnin' Rebels, and 11 of 13, as UNLV expanded a 5-4 lead to 18-6 with 6:41 left in the first half.
After Arthur Bouedo made a layup with 10:20 left in the first half, Wyoming didn't make another field goal until Washington made a bank shot with 2:42 to make it 26-11. Wyoming's only other points in the last 10 minutes of the first half came on two free throws by Adam Waddell and one free throw by Francisco Cruz.
Moser had a putback with 48 seconds left to give UNLV a 28-11 halftime lead.
UNLV expanded its lead to 33-11 when Brice Massamba converted a three-point play early in the second half and Anthony Marshall hit a jumper.
Wyoming started making high-percentage shots to keep from being totally embarrassed. Washington had a slam dunk; JayDee Luster made a layup, was fouled and hit the free throw; and Larry Nance Jr. put back a rebound. Still, the Cowboys were down 37-17 because Massamba and Marshall each had a dunk.
UNLV began to struggle and Wyoming closed to 46-39 on Washington's layup. The Runnin' Rebels pushed the lead back to double digits when Marshall scored off a rebound and Moser made a bank shot, his only field goal of the second half, to make it 50-39 with 2:49 left.
Wyoming didn't go away, though. Martinez and Cruz each hit a 3-pointer to pull Wyoming to 51-45 with 59.8 seconds left.
The Cowboys then had to foul and UNLV made five of six free throws. Nance hit a 3-pointer for Wyoming with 1.1 seconds left.
Wyoming outscored UNLV 37-28 in the second half. The Cowboys finished shooting 29.3 percent, 17 of 58.