UNLV downs Mississippi State 82-66

LAS VEGAS -- Kevin Olekaibe scored 17 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead UNLV over Mississippi State 82-66 in the Las Vegas Classic championship game on Monday.

Deville Smith, who was named MVP of the tournament, added 15 points for UNLV (8-4), while Roscoe Smith had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Khem Birch had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Rebels, who went 4-0 in the Classic.

Craig Sword led Mississippi State (9-3) with 18 points. Colin Borchert added 12 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs, who finished 3-1 in the Classic.

The Rebels converted 11 of 26 three-pointers, while the Bulldogs made only 1 of 11 attempts from there.

UNLV was outscored in the paint, 52-24, but went 19 of 24 from the free-throw line, while Mississippi State was 9 of 12 there.

In the first half, the Rebels converted 9 of 16 from 3-point range as Olekaibe and Smith each hit three 3-pointers.

The Bulldogs jumped to 10-5 lead in the first five minutes, but the Rebels went on an 18-6 run and never trailed again. UNLV took the lead for good on a Smith 3-pointer with 12:21 until halftime. There were only seven free throws by both teams in the half.

The Rebels never let their lead go below 13 points in the second half and it grew to as many as 24.

This was the teams' first meeting since Dec. 30, 1980, when the Rebels won in Las Vegas.

UNLV next hosts Cal State-Fullerton in the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday. Mississippi State is off until Jan. 2 when it hosts Maryland-Eastern Shore.

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