UNLV defeats Wyoming in MW quarterfinal, 71-67 - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

UNLV defeats Wyoming in MW quarterfinal, 71-67

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UNLV's Khem Birch shoots for two during the Mountain West Basketball Conference on Thursday, March 13. (Source: Las Vegas News Bureau/Bryan Haraway) UNLV's Khem Birch shoots for two during the Mountain West Basketball Conference on Thursday, March 13. (Source: Las Vegas News Bureau/Bryan Haraway)
LAS VEGAS (FOX5/AP) -

University of Nevada, Las Vegas' path to an automatic bid in the NCAA tournament began Thursday when the Mountain West Men's Basketball Championship started.

The No. 4-ranked Runnin' Rebels defeated No. 5 University of Wyoming Cowboys 71-67  in a quarterfinal game at the Thomas and Mack Center.

The Runnin' Rebels are back into the tournament after dropping the last two games of the regular season, at home against San Diego State and on the road against University of Nevada, Reno.

Forward Roscoe Smith, who missed the last two games due to a concussion, played, as did Bryce Dejean-Jones, who was suspended for the UNR game.

Dejean-Jones and Smith combined for 40 points. UNLV broke away from Wyoming after halftime but the Cowboys came within striking distance, 66-65, in the final 1:40.

UNLV will face No. 1 ranked San Diego State in a semifinal set for Friday.

The Thomas & Mack Center is hosting all games of the tournament. The championship game is slated for Saturday.

Copyright 2014 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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