ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Clayton Shields hit five straight 3-pointers in the first half and Kenny Thomas scored No. 15 New Mexico's first 13 points of the second half Thursday night as the streaking Lobos beat UNLV 79-61.
The Western Athletic Conference win extended New Mexico's homecourt winning streak to 37 games, second longest in the nation to Kansas' 54 consecutive wins at Allen Field House.
The Lobos (13-2, 2-1) buried the Rebels with 13 3-pointers and now have hit 3-pointers in 222 straight games. But for the first 10 minutes, it appeared that New Mexico's shot-of-choice would be the Lobos' undoing.
They missed nine of their first 10 3s, then hit 7-of-9 en route to a 42-28 halftime lead. Shields, who had 19 points, hit all five of his 3s in the run and Royce Olney and Lamont Long also hit from behind the arc. Over the last seven minutes of the half, New Mexico outscored the Rebels 21-7.
Thomas, in foul trouble in the first half and held to five points, finished with 22 points and nine rebounds. He carried New Mexico's offense through the first eight minutes of the second half, repeatedly scoring inside against UNLV's imposing frontline of 6-foot-11 Keon Clark, 6-9 Kaspars Kambala and 6-6 Tyrone Nesby.
Edwin "Greedy" Daniels scored 13 points and Kambala added 12 for UNLV (8-6, 1-1). But the shorter but quicker New Mexico frontline of Thomas, Shields and Long held Clark, Nesby and Kambala to a combined 30 points. The trio had been averaging 68 points a game.
UNLV scored six straight points to get within 62-51 with 7:05 left on a pair of free throws by Mark Dickel. But New Mexico freshman Greg Davis hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key. UNLV's Brian Keefe again got the Rebels within nine with a 3-pointer, but Olney connected on a 3-pointer to start a 15-3 New Mexico run that gave the Lobos' their biggest lead at 77-54.