Number one is no more as the top-ranked North Carolina Tarheels were stunned in the Las Vegas Invitational championship game. The UNLV Runnin' Rebels knocked down 13 threes and played stifling defense in upsetting the Tar Heels 90-80. The tournament was technically on a neutral site at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, but there was a heavy contingent of UNLV fans in attendance. UNC traveled well for the game, but the crowd was very much pro-UNLV.
UNLV jumped out to an early 11-4 lead before North Carolina got their feet under their them. UNC went on a run to take a five point lead at the 4:01 mark of the first half. UNLV withstood the run and went into the half down four. Coming out of the half, UNLV used a 12-0 run to take a 50-42 lead. As UNC started scoring, the Rebels continued to keep pace and in fact took a double digit lead. The Tar Heels kept fighting and cut the deficit to as low as five, but they were unable to get past that.
UNLV rode wildly hot shooting to the victory as they were hitting from all over the field. Chace Stanback led all scorers with 28 points to go along with his ten rebounds. Oscar Bellfield added 18 points and 9 assists while Mike Moser scored 16 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. This was Moser's fifth double-double on the season.
North Carolina will drop out of their number one position with the loss, likely to be surpassed by Kentucky. UNLV was receiving votes heading into this week but will likely be in the top 25 after a strong week. The Rebels defeated Cal Poly and USC prior to knocking off the Tar Heels.