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Unbeaten UNLV turns back Minnesota in SoCal Challenge title game

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — The Runnin’ Rebels remain on a roll.

Keshon Gilbert scored 17 points, EJ Harkless added 16 and UNLV cruised to a 71-62 victory over Minnesota on Wednesday night in the SoCal Challenge to extend their unbeaten start to the season.

Luis Rodriguez added 15 points and nine rebounds for UNLV (6-0), while Jackie Johnson III had 13 points and made four 3-pointers in the Surf Division final at JSerra High.

UNLV came into the game having forced 20 or more turnovers in each of its five games and pushed Minnesota to 17. Gilbert had three of the Rebels’ nine steals.

Jamison Battle scored 17 points for Minnesota (4-2), which shot 37% (21 for 57) overall. Dawson Garcia and Braeden Carrington added 15 points apiece.

Gilbert scored 12 points and Johnson added nine as the Rebels built a 14-point halftime lead. Minnesota pulled within nine points early in the second but didn’t get closer. Johnson’s 3-pointer at the 7:17 mark stretched UNLV’s lead to 62-40, its largest of the night. The Golden Gophers closed on a 9-4 surge for the final margin.

UNLV shot 7 for 15 from 3-point range in the first half but just 3 for 12 in the second.

In other SoCal Challenge games …

Southern Illinois 64, Cal Baptist 61 (OT): Marcus Domask had 32 points on 12-for-18 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds as the Salukis (4-2) edged Cal Baptist (3-3) in the Surf Division consolation game.

Clarence Rupert added 10 points for SIU, which outscored the Lancers 7-4 in the overtime period to hand CBU its second consecutive OT defeat.

Timothy Ighoefe (11 points, 11 rebounds, three blocked shots), Taran Armstrong (11 points, five rebounds) and Joe Quintana (10 points) all scored in double figures for CBU (3-3). Hunter Goodrick just missed a double-double with nine points and 12 rebounds, and Tre Armstrong had eight points.

The Lancers had a 45-32 rebounding advantage but shot 37.5% from the field (24 for 64), including a 6-for-25 showing from 3-point range. CBU really struggled from the free-throw line (7 for 19).

Central Michigan 82, Cal State Northridge 66: Jesse Zarzuela scored 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including a 4-for-7 mark from 3-point range to lead the Chippewas (2-3) in the Sand Division consolation game.

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