Updated at: 12/05/2012 1:05 AM
By ANNE M. PETERSON
(AP) PORTLAND, Ore. - Justin Hawkins had 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in a second-half rally that put No. 21 UNLV in front, and the Runnin’ Rebels defeated tenacious Portland 68-60 on Tuesday night.
Playing their first game on the road this season, the Runnin’ Rebels (6-1) were without top rebounder Mike Moser, who sat out with a hip injury. Anthony Bennett had 18 points and Anthony Marshall added 16 for UNLV.
Ryan Nicholas had 15 points and 19 rebounds for the Pilots (3-5), who led 28-22 at halftime and extended the lead to nine points early in the second half.
Hawkins’ 3-pointer evened it a 42 and Quintrell Thomas’ dunk gave the Runnin’ Rebels the lead with 13:45 left. But David Carr answered with a 3-pointer for Portland.
UNLV took charge with a 12-0 run that included a jumper, a free throw and consecutive 3-pointers from Hawkins for a 56-47 lead.
Portland pulled to 63-60 on Korey Thieleke’s jumper with 3:58 left but it was as close as the Pilots would come.
The game was expected to be something of a homecoming for Moser, who was a star at Portland’s Grant High School. But he aggravated his hip injury in the Rebels’ 77-63 victory over Hawaii on Saturday.
Moser is averaging 12.3 points and 9.2 rebounds. Shortly before the game he went to Twitter to announce he couldn’t play, adding he "really wanted to show out in my city." He watched from the bench on Tuesday night wearing jeans and a sweater.
The Rebels opened the season with a six-game homestand, with their lone loss coming against Oregon.
UNLV is on the road while the National Finals Rodeo is staged at the Thomas and Mack Center. After Portland, UNLV visits Cal before returning to Las Vegas for a game against La Verne at the Orleans Arena.
The Pilots (3-4) were coming off a 72-60 loss at Washington State on Saturday, but they hadn’t dropped a home game.
The Rebels were plagued by sloppy play at the start, shooting just 8 for 33 from the floor in the first half.
Thomas van der Mars hit a jumper that put the Pilots up 9-5 early. They extended the lead to 15-7 on Nicholas’ jumper, capping an 11-2 run.
Marshall left the game briefly after tumbling beneath UNLV’s basket early in the first half, but his dunk with just under six minutes left narrowed it to 20-16 for the Rebels. The Pilots wouldn’t let UNLV any closer and Nicholas’ 3-pointer made it 25-18 with 4:10 left in the first half. Portland went on to take its six-point lead at the break.
The Rebels closed to 28-25 on Marshall’s layup early in the second, but David Carr had a 3-pointer on the other end for the Pilots.
Portland extended the lead to 37-28 on Oskars Reinfelds’ layup, but UNLV answered with Hawkins’ 3-pointer. The Pilots extended the margin again on Thieleke’s jumper and free throw.
Marshall hit a 3-pointer that closed the Rebels to 40-37, then added a pair of free throws to cut the margin to a point with 4:47 left.
Portland hadn’t hosted a ranked team since a 79-48 loss to then-No. 12 Kentucky in 2010. The Pilots have lost eight straight to ranked opponents, dating back to a 61-56 victory over then-No. 22 Minnesota in 2009.
The Rebels and the Pilots played a pair of back-to-back games in Portland back in 1967, with UNLV winning both.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)