A hot shooting performance by Alabama doomed UNLV on day two of the Maui Invitational, sending the program to a 0-3 start.
The Crimson Tide came away with a 86-74 win over the Runnin’ Rebels Tuesday, Dec. 1 from Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, North Carolina.
“For long stretches today our guys played really well, but we had some key moments where our focus and our effort wasn’t quite as good as it needed to be,” head coach TJ Otzelberger said. “Overall, I thought there were 30-32 minutes of really good basketball and something to build on, but for us to get to where we need to be as a team and to be successful in a game like this we can’t have those lapses and stretches where we let them get going.
“I thought there was one to start the game, one to start the second half and then another one in the balance there just around that eight-minute media [timeout]. So those three stretches got the best of us and we have to continue to work and build and put together a 40-minute game.”
UNLV will play the Davidson on day three of the Maui Invitational from Asheville with tip-off set for 6:30 p.m.
Of the 129 total field goals attempted during the game, 73 of them came from beyond-the-arc.
In addition, 13 of the game’s first 15 shots attempted were three-pointers.
Alabama shot 15-of-40 from three-point range, tallying 21 total assists on their 29 made field goals.
On the other hand, UNLV shot a better percentage from three going 13-for-33.
In terms of assist numbers, the Runnin’ Rebels totaled 13 assists on their 29 made field goals.
Sophomore guard Caleb Grill scored a career-high 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting from the field including going 7-of-10 from long distance.
His seven made three-pointers are the most in the program since the 2016-17 season.
In the first half alone, he set a new career-high with 16 points.
He has scored in double figures in his first three games for UNLV this season after not scoring in double figures with Iowa State in any game.
Junior guard Bryce Hamilton had a rough night, scoring 17 points but on 4-of-14 shooting from the floor. That included making four of his 10 three-point attempts.
Hamilton ranked second in the Mountain West in scoring last season and was averaging 21 points through the first two games of the year.
However, fellow junior guard David Jenkins continued to struggle in his first season on the floor for the Runnin’ Rebels.
“There’s a couple of moments, tonight we saw glimpses, but I know what he can do,” Otzelberger said. “And he’s got to stay the course embracing the things that are difficult in terms of defensively, rebounding and take that focus away from his offense. I think his offense will come back to him.”
Jenkins scored 12 points on 7-of-21 shooting from the field including going 1-for-5 from three-point range.
He has 23 points through the first three games combined, going 7-of-32 from the floor including 6-of-23 from three.
“[Jenkins] has been a guy who has always had a chip on his shoulder, a guy who has always kind of been doubted,” Otzelberger said. “That was his M.O. before he came here and now we need to get [him] back to that guy.
“I’ve got to take on that pressure for him. With some of the accolades and records that have come his way -- I need to wear that and take that on. He just needs to relax and be that guy from Tacoma, who fell in love with this game with that chip on his shoulder and play hard. That’s how things kind of come back to you.”
Jenkins averaged nearly 20 points per game in his last season at South Dakota State with Otzelberger.
After attempting 21 free throws in the season opener, UNLV has now combined to shoot 19 through it’s first two games of the Maui Invitational.
Against the Crimson Tide, the Runnin’ Rebels attempted just four free throw attempts while allowing Alabma to go 13-19 from the charity stripe.
UNLV committed nine more fouls than its SEC opponent with Hamilton fouling out of the game and Jenkins having four personals.