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Season ends with NIT Quarterfinal loss on road for Kurger, Runnin’ Rebels

One step away from being one of the final four teams in the National Invitational Tournament, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels’ spirited stretch ended as they were bounced from postseason play.

UNLV suffered a quarterfinal loss in the NIT to Seton Hall, 91-68, Wednesday, March 27 from Walsh Gymnasium in New Jersey. Over the last eight days, the Rebels had traveled back-and-forth cross country three times, facing two top seeds along the way.

With the season-ending loss, UNLV closes the campaign 21-13 on the year after finishing fourth in the Mountain West. Over the final 16 games of the season, Kevin Kruger’s program recorded 12 wins in order to set up this spirited postseason run.

Turnovers on two of the team’s first three possessions set the tone for a game that UNLV just never appeared to be able to get in front of. After recording just one turnover in the second round win against Boston College, the team posted four by the first media timeout on the way to 13 for the game.

That start resulted in Seton Hall racing out to a double-digit lead early in the first half. The Pirates would close the half on a 7-0 run punctuated by a buzzer-beating dunk just moments after converting on eight straight makes from the field.

The Rebels would go down by as many as 18 points in the first half.

Things only slid further in the second half after Seton Hall came out of the halftime break with a 9-0 spurt to stretch the lead to the largest of the game at 27 points. At no point of the game, did UNLV hold a lead.

Fifth-year forward Kalib Boone scored 16 points for a second straight game since returning from an ankle injury, this time leading the Rebels in scoring. He did so on 8-of-10 shooting from the field.

Fellow fifth-year player Justin Webster was the only other player in double-figures with 12 points in his final game for UNLV.

Fifth-year forward Keylan Boone and freshman guard Dedan Thomas Jr. combined to go 6-for-20 from the floor for 15 points including a 1-for-7 mark from three-point range with six turnovers.

Kruger and company entered play once again without fifth-year guard Luis Rodriguez as he tends to a family issue.


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