March 1, 2004
By PETE HERRERA
AP Sports Writer
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Odartey Blankson scored 11 straight points late in the second half and finished with a career-high 28 in UNLV's 78-75 win over New Mexico Monday night.
Blankson's scoring spree over a period of less than three minutes put the Rebels (16-10, 7-6 MWC) over the top in the up-tempo game that saw the two teams combine for 18 3-pointers while putting up 125 shots.
UNLV held off New Mexico (14-12, 5-8) behind point guard Jerel Blassingame's five straight points inside of two minutes and Demetrius Hunter's two free throws with 17.9 seconds left.
Blankson, who also had 12 rebounds, was 4-for-4 on 3-pointers and 7-for-9 shooting overall in the second half.
Hunter's free throws, which followed an off-balance 3-pointer by New Mexico's Javin Tindall with 18.7 seconds left, were the last points of the game. New Mexico put up three 3-pointers in the final seconds, but all missed.
Troy DeVries' 3 rimmed out, and teammate Danny Granger rebounded the miss and passed it to an open Tindall at the top of the key. Tindall's 3-pointer also rimmed out, but again Granger got the rebound. With only a couple of seconds left, Granger dribbled out to behind the arc and put a 3 at the buzzer that sailed long.
Granger led New Mexico with 23 points and 9 rebounds. Tindall added 17 points and a career-high 5 steals.
New Mexico took a 64-62 lead after Rebels center J.K. Edwards fouled out with 5:56 left and the UNLV bench was assessed a technical foul for protesting the call. Tindall hit one of the two technical foul shots and Granger, who was fouled by Edwards, hit both of his free throws.
Blankson, who had given UNLV a 62-61 lead with a basket moments earlier, then took over. He hit a 15-footer, a layup, a 3-pointer and another 15-footer for a 71-68 UNLV lead with 3:41 remaining.
After Tindall's late 3-pointer got New Mexico within 76-75, Hunter was fouled on the inbound play. He swished through both free throws, his only points of the game.