Just when you thought it could not get any worse for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, the Fresno State Bulldogs entered the chat. UNLV was defeated by Fresno State, 76-63, at the Save Mart Center Saturday night in Fresno.
Fresno State closed the game on a 10-2 run which included the Rebels not hitting a field goal for the final 2:19 of the contest. The Bulldogs shot 54% from the field including 9-of-19 from three-point range.
“We’ve got to adjust some things,” head coach Kevin Kruger said. “We’ve gotta get that edge back. It’s hard to do when you’re struggling.
“We’ve got to understand that coming into the season, nobody really expected us to do anything and we had a little edge and a chip and we just got to get that back.”
This loss marked the fourth in a row for the Runnin’ Rebels who now sit with a conference record of 1-6 in Mountain West play to go along with a 12-7 record overall. After a 10-0 start to the season, UNLV is now just 2-7 in their last nine games.
This loss also means that UNLV is now tied with Wyoming for last place in the Mountain West Conference Standings.
“We’re going to get through it,” Kruger said. “We’re going to be fine. We’re going to get better. We’re going to continue to work. We can’t go timid.”
The next time the Runnin’ Rebels will hit the court is Tuesday, Jan. 24 versus the Wyoming Cowboys. That game will start a two-game homestand for UNLV. This will be the first of two meetings scheduled between UNLV and Wyoming with the other taking place Feb. 8 in Laramie.
Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.
Fifth-year guard Elijah Parquet played in his first minutes since going down with injury during the Dec. 10 game against Washington State. Parquet missed a total of eight games while nursing the injury.
The first half struggles continued Saturday for the Rebels as they trailed the Bulldogs, 37-33, at the half. This is the sixth time in the last seven games that UNLV has trailed at the half. The Rebels led for just 3:38 of the opening half while the Bulldogs led for the final 13:25 of the half.
Fifth-year guard EJ Harkless led the way in scoring for UNLV in the first half with eight points to go along with two assists and a rebound. He finished the game as UNLV’s leading scorer with 15 points on 3-of-13 from the field.
Sophomore guard Keshon Gilbert and freshman guard Keyshawn Hall were the only other Rebels in double figures with 11 and 10 points each.
Fresno State’s Isaiah Hill and Eduardo Andre led the way in scoring for the Bulldogs with 13 and 10 points respectively.
Hill dropped 28 points to lead the Bulldogs in scoring while Andre was second in scoring for the home team with 16 points.
“[Hill’s] a tough guy to guard,” Kruger said. “He did a really good job of getting in his rhythm early.”
The home team held the lead for the duration of the second half. The Rebels made a few runs during the final 20 minutes of play and could only get the Bulldog lead down to as little as three points.