Another close game went in the wrong direction for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels despite having several opportunities down-the-stretch of the team’s latest loss.
After having its last game canceled in the wake of the tragic events on the campus of UNLV, the Rebels returned to action from the Dollar Loan Center where they came up short against LMU, falling 78-75. The loss drops the team to 1-3 in the last four games.
Over the last three years, the program has a 4-3 record playing anywhere else in Las Vegas aside from the Thomas & Mack Center. This also counts as the team’s first loss inside of the Dollar Loan Center in two tries.
This season, the team is 3-4 this season as it continues to stumble out of the gates to start this new season.
The road doesn’t get any less challenging as the Rebels will host the Creighton Bluejays from inside the Dollar Loan Center Wednesday, Dec. 13. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m.
UNLV’s comeback bid fell just short but it really heated up after fifth-year guard Luis Rodriguez picked off a defender and punched home a dunk to close the gap to a point. LMU nearly turned the ball over on a five-second inbounds violation but proceeded to miss both free throws on the ensuing catch.
Even with those extra opportunities, freshman guard Dedan Thomas Jr. airballed a floater with about three seconds left. Thomas led all Rebel scorers with 17 points on 50% shooting to go along with a game-high eight assists.
The game remained tight throughout as neither team could build a lead larger than six in a game that featured 12 ties and 11 lead changes. LMU used a 10-0 run late in the first half to snatch the lead away from UNLV. Only to have the Rebels responded with 11-3 open to the second 20-minute session. As it did all night, the Lions answered back and regained control with a 8-0 spurt.
Rebounding may have told the biggest story of the game after UNLV was out-rebounded, 38-32, including a -3 mark in the offensive rebounding category. However, LMU turned those offensive rebounds into 23 second chance points versus just seven for the home team.
With fifth-year forward Jalen Hill missing the game due to injury, the Rebels couldn’t muster much offense from their bench, being outscored 39-11 in the second unit. In addition to Hill, junior guard Shane Nowell and fifth-year forward Keylan Boone missed their seventh straight game to start the year.
All four double-digit scorers came from the starting lineup for UNLV with fifth-year forward Kalib Boone, redshirt sophomore Isaiah Cottrell and fifth-year guard Justin Webster joining Thomas.
Boone added 15 points before fouling out in the second half while Cottrell and Webster contributed 14 and 10 respectively.