UNLV (13-9, 4-5 Mountain West) got back-to-back 3-pointers by Rashad Vaughn and Cody Doolin to start the game, then scored the last six points of the first half - including Dantley Walker's 3-pointer - to lead 29-24 at the break.
UNLV pushed its advantage to double digits early in the second half and though Air Force trimmed the deficit to six after Ryan Manning's 3-pointer with 10:18 left, UNLV responded with a 7-2 run and kept the Falcons at arm's length down the stretch making 10 of 14 free throws in the last 3:16.
Jelan Kendrick scored 15 points for UNLV off the bench. Doolin, Vaughn and Patrick McCaw all finished with 11 points.
Air Force (9-12, 2-8) was led by Justin Hammonds with 15 points.