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Rebels pull away in second half, beat High Point 78-68 to improve to 4-0

This year marks the first 4-0 start for UNLV men’s basketball since the 2017-18 season.

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels came away with a 78-68 win over High Point Friday night to improve to 4-0 on the season.

“We knew High Point was an incredibly dangerous team,” head coach Kevin Kruger said. “The best lessons we can learn are the lessons and examples we’re going to take from tonight.”

That 2017-18 year, the team went 20-13 with an exit in the Mountain West Quarterfinals.

It was a balanced attack on the offensive side of the ball for UNLV who had six different Rebels in double-figure scoring. All five UNLV starters reached double figures along with reserve guard Jackie Johnson III.

Guard Luis Rodriguez finished with a double-double, scoring 12 points while grabbing 10 rebounds.

“To have six guys in double figures is really dangerous,” Kruger said. “To have that many different threats and guys that can score is going to make us that much more dangerous.”

The next time UNLV will hit the hardwood will be Monday, Nov. 21 as the Rebels will take on Southern Illinois as part of the SoCal Challenge. Tip-off is set for 10 p.m. PT.

“The hard work that we put in every day in practice leading up to the game is paying off,” senior center David Muoka said.

UNLV forced 20 or more turnovers for the fourth time in as many games, bringing the total up to 95 total turnovers forced through the first four games.

“Watching them take the game plan that they’ve had since June and make it their own is fun.” Kruger said. “It’s fun to see the guys out there pointing and talking and figuring out ways to get a stop and it’s something we can just continue to keep improving on.”

The first half was a struggle on the offensive side of the ball for the Rebels. UNLV shot 35 percent from the field which included 1-for-12 from three-point range. Sophomore guard Keshon Gilbert made the lone Rebel three of the half to extend the three-point streak to 1,165 consecutive games where UNLV has had at least one deep ball.

“We all had our heads up, we’ve been down before,” Muoka said. “Last game against Dayton, we were down 10 so just keeping that confidence level high and knowing what we can do on defense and offense.”

Rodriguez and Muoka led the scoring for UNLV with eight points apiece at the half.

High Point got hot from three-point range with 21 of their final 25 points of the first half coming off 3’s. The Panthers shot 7-13 from three-point range in the first half, good for 53 percent.


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