A missed free throw late in regulation helped UNLV bettors and led to a bad beat for Air Force backers Wednesday.
The Rebels pulled out a 78-70 overtime victory in the first round of the Mountain West men’s basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center, covering as consensus 5½-point favorites at Las Vegas sportsbooks.
But gamblers might not have been able to cash a ticket on the Rebels without EJ Harkless’ missed free throw with 18 seconds left that kept the game tied at 57.
Air Force then turned the ball over, and the Rebels missed a last-second 3-pointer, sending the game to overtime. That gave UNLV bettors a second chance at the cover.
In the extra session, Harkless had 11 of his career-high 35 points as the Rebels pulled away, delivering a gut punch to Air Force backers.
The Falcons opened as consensus 6½-point underdogs, leaving Air Force bettors to lament what looked like a sure cover for most of the game. The Falcons led 57-54 with two minutes to play and 57-56 in the final minute before Harkless’ free throw.
Under bettors also took it on the chin after UNLV led 24-22 at halftime and the game was tied at 57 entering overtime. The teams combined for 34 points in the extra period to send the game soaring over the total, which closed at 134 at the Westgate SuperBook.
Contact David Schoen at [email protected] or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.