Runnin’ Rebels open season with double-digit loss to Bobcats
For the second time in the last three years, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels have opened the season 0-1.
Montana State defeated the UNLV 91-78 in a season-opening contest Wednesday, Nov. 25 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“Obviously, not the outcome we would like to have,” head coach TJ Otzelberger said. “Our effort, energy and competitive spirit wasn’t where it needed to be. We talked a lot about our own energy without fans and a crowd in the gym.
“We didn’t do a great job of that tonight and it is something we are going to continue to work and drive home because we have to be a lot better than we were from an effort and competitive standpoint from start to finish.”
Otzelberger is entering his second season as UNLV head coach.
The Maui Invitational takes the Rebels to Asheville, North Carolina this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
UNLV will take on the hosting school, No. 16 North Carolina, Monday, Nov. 30.
The invitational is set to end on Wednesday, Dec. 2 with the Rebels scheduled to play either Alabama or Stanford on the second day with an opponent to be determined on the third and final day.
There were 42 combined fouls called in UNLV’s season opening game against Montana State.
The Rebels committed 14 of their 24 in the second half, already playing-from-behind after trailing by 18 points at halftime.
With UNLV down 78-62, guard Marvin Coleman fouled out of the game with 6:20 to go in regulation.
He finished with eight points on 3-of-8 shooting to go along with five assists, three rebounds and a steal in 32 minutes.
Less than two minutes later, with UNLV down 82-65, guard David Jenkins fouled out of the game as well.
In his first UNLV game, Jenkins scored seven points on 2-of-9 shooting including going 1-of-5 from three-point range.
He also pulled down four rebounds and handed out three assists in 29 minutes.
Jenkins came over to the Runnin’ Rebels with Otzelberger after spending time together at South Dakota State.
Unlike his time at SD State, Jenkins primarily played off-ball in his first UNLV action.
Otzelberger opted to start the season with a four-guard starting lineup.
Guard Bryce Hamilton led all scorers with 27 points on 10-of-19 shooting from the floor. He scored 19 of those points in the second half.
In addition, the Los Angeles native reeled in eight rebounds and dished out four assists in a game-high 39 minutes.
Four of the five starters logged at least 30 minutes of game action.
Last season, Hamilton scored at least 20 points on 10 different occasions.
Freshman Nicquel Blake scored 16 points off-the-bench going 5-of-7 from the floor including going 4-of-6 from three-point range.
Blake was the only reserve to log over eight minutes of play, logging 22 total.
The other three bench players combined to play 13 minutes.
There were 33 combined turnovers during the game with UNLV committing 18 of them.
In a one year span, the Runnin’ Rebels went from one of the most experienced rosters in program history last year in terms of age to one of the youngest in program history this year.