UNLV 97, Iowa 80
LAS VEGAS (AP) _ David Butler marked his return to the lineup with 18 points Saturday and 13th-ranked UNLV used a smothering defense to hand No. 16 Iowa its first loss, 97-80.
Butler, a senior center who missed UNLV’s first six games with academic troubles, scored nine points in the first half as the Runnin’ Rebels overcame a slow start to lead by 18 at halftime.
Travis Bice scored a career-high 19 points for UNLV (5-2), which broke open the game with a pressure defense that forced 24 Iowa turnovers in the first half alone.
Four Runnin’ Rebels scored in double figures as Iowa (7-1) could get no closer than 16 points in the second half.
The game was the first of a doubleheader that also featured Michigan against Seton Hall in a rematch of last year’s NCAA final.
James Moses led Iowa with 20 points, while Les Jepsen had 18 and Ray Thompson added 14.
Larry Johnson scored 19 points and Stacey Augmon added 18 for UNLV.
UNLV was cold early, missing its first 10 shots and going scoreless for the first five minutes.
Iowa, though, could only manage a 5-0 lead, and UNLV came back with a 10-2 run to go ahead for good.
UNLV was up 29-18 when Bice made two 3-pointers to key a 10-0 run that gave the Runnin’ Rebels a 39-18 lead with 3:47 left in the half.
Iowa pulled to 52-36 with 18 minutes remaining, but UNLV scored the next seven points and pulled away again.
Iowa, with UNLV playing its reserves, closed again to 92-76 with three minutes remaining but got no closer.