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Defense intensifies as Rebels run off third straight conference win

Another win for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels snagged the program its second three-game win streak of the season. The win positioned the team above .500 in conference play for the first time this year.


UNLV secured its 20th straight regular season home win over Wyoming following a, 62-48, victory from the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday, Feb. 3. Now the program is slotted in the fifth spot in the Mountain West standings with a 12-9 overall record.


Prior to this most recent outcome, the Rebels were 1-2 in their last three home games. Four of the nine games left on the regular season schedule will be played from the team’s home venue.


Now that the quick two-game homestand is a thing of the past, UNLV will now prepare itself for a two-game road trip that begins with another chance to earn a ranked win to add to its resume.


The journey begins at The Pit with a Saturday, Feb. 10 meeting with the New Mexico Lobos who are currently ranked No. 19 in the country. Tip-off is slated for 5 p.m.


In the first meeting of the year between the two conference foes, the Rebels got the better of the Lobos by a final win margin of 10 points.


A stretch where Wyoming went without a point for the first seven minutes and 20 seconds of the second half placed UNLV in prime position to earn a much-needed win for the program. Around the 12-minute timeout mark, the visitors were just 1-for-10 in the second half to go along with six team turnovers.


Moreover, the Cowboys went without a field goal for more than 10 minutes going back to the end of the first half.


Despite entering play as the conference’s best three-point shooting team, Wyoming was held to 4-for-25 from long range by the UNLV defense. This includes a 1-for-9 finish in the second half.


The rough start was so detrimental that a late 10-0 run by the Cowboys wasn’t enough to scratch the team any closer than 12 points after falling behind by 21 earlier in the game.


Freshman guard Dedan Thomas Jr. posted 14 points and a game-high five assists while flirting with a very efficient game. He didn’t commit his first and only turnover of the game until the 46.8-mark of the second half on a low paint dishoff to teammate Kalin Boone.


As a team, UNLV didn’t commit its first turnover until just over five minutes left in the first half on a charge from junior forward Rob Whaley Jr. On the other hand, Wyoming was forced into 14 turnovers versus just four on the opposite side of the floor.


The defensive effort helped the Rebels rack up 10 steals on the day while not offering up one of their own.


Fifth-year forward Keylan Boone shared in the team-high with 14 points on 6-of-15 from the field. Fellow fifth-year player Luis Rodriguez added 12 points of his own behind seven first half points.


The aforementioned Kalin Boone went scoreless on six field goal attempts. While it's the second time this season he’s been held without a point, it's the 12th time it's happened during his collegiate career.

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