Huge Second Half from Bennett, Birch lead UNLV over SDSU

With UNLV leading San Diego State 71-70 with 16 seconds left in the game, SDSU guard Jamaal Franklin helped teammate JJ O’Brien trap UNLV guard Bryce Dejean-Jones, forcing a turnover and giving the Aztecs possession of the ball with a chance to win the game.

The Aztecs ran a play for Franklin, who dribbled near midcourt while the clock ran under 10 seconds. He drove towards the right side of the lane, leaning against the Rebel defender while trying to draw a foul. A whistle blew. The call? Travel. Rebel’s ball, 2.8 seconds left.

Jamaal giveth, and Jamaal taketh away.

San Diego State guard Jamaal Franklin was called for a travel with 2.8-seconds remaining against UNLV. The Runnin’ Rebels eventually beat the Aztecs 72-70. Credit: Josh Holmberg

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels beat the San Diego State Aztecs 72-70 on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The loss can’t be blamed solely on the last Aztec possession – although it certainly seems like they could have used 16 seconds to run something better than a Jamaal Franklin one-on-one drive.

After all, they were attending a Khem Birch block party.

Birch, a redshirt sophomore center, seemed to control the game in the second half, especially defensively. He finished the game with 16 points, seven rebounds – including four offensive – and five blocks. Three of Birch’s blocks came in the last 7:20 of the game and helped to swing the momentum the Rebel’s way.

UNLV’s Anthony Bennett also had a huge second half. The 6-foot-9 freshman forward finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, and he had three blocks of his own. He scored 16 of UNLV’s 38 points in the second half as the Rebels overcame a six-point halftime deficit.

Chase Tapley scored 22 points for SDSU, including a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left that pulled the Aztecs to 71-70. JJ O’Brien finished the first half with 15 points, but was held scoreless in the second half. He also grabbed 11 rebounds for the game.

Topics: College Basketball, San Diego State

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