Two different comeback efforts fell short as UNLV’s slide to start the season continued with it’s latest loss to Davidson.
The Wildcats came away with a 77-73 win over the Runnin’ Rebels on day three of the Maui Invitational Wednesday, Dec. 2.
“I was proud of the competitive spirit that we had as the game wore on, our guys kept fighting,” head coach TJ Otzelberger said. “They really wanted to win that game and they were highly disappointed in that locker room -- there’s a lot of care factor.
“I know that we’re getting better. I feel like each night out there’s been improvement. We’ve minimized some of the mistakes that have caused challenges in each game.”
After the three-day tournament, UNLV leaves Asheville, North Carolina, winless in three games and still looking for it’s first win of the season at 0-4.
The Runnin’ Rebels have three non-conference games remaining on the schedule before the start of Mountain West conference play.
“When we can put together 40 minutes with the tremendous sense of urgency that we had down-the-stretch in this game in particular defensively, I know we’re going to be a really good team,” Otzelberger said. “We want to win every game but we’re getting better and look forward to getting back on the practice floor with our guys and really getting to work.”
A road contest at Kansas State is next on the ledger for UNLV Saturday, Dec. 5 with tip-off set for 5 p.m.
Davidson led by as many as 14 points including heading into halftime with a 41-29 lead.
By the 8:25-mark, UNLV cut the deficit to seven points and two minutes later, the team cut it to five.
The deficit was cut down to three minutes left with more than five and a half minutes left in the game.
Junior guard Bryce Hamilton scored all six UNLV points during that stretch.
The Wildcats would battle back and build the lead back to double-digits with 3:14 left in regulation.
The Runnin’ Rebels would mount one more comeback led again by Hamilton who scored the last 11 points of the game for UNLV, resulting in 17 of the last 20 points being scored by the guard.
Hamilton converted an and-one layup, with the free throw to cut the deficit to two points with 10 seconds left.
He finished the night with 27 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the field including going 3-of-7 from three-point range.
The 20-year old also added four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Hamilton has led the team in scoring in three of the four games this season.
Davidson guard’s Kellan Grady and Hyunjung Lee were a two-headed monster in the backcourt that caused a lot of problems for UNLV.
Grady and Lee combined for 43 of the Wildcats’ 77 points on a combined 14-of-25 shooting from the floor including making four three-pointers.
Guard Carter Collins also added 18 points for Davidson.
UNLV has committed at least 19 fouls in every game so far this season.
The team tallied 24 fouls, seven more than Davidson, on day three of the Maui Invitational.
There have been 92 foul calls that have gone against the Runnin’ Rebels in the first four games of the year.
Junior guard David Jenkins Jr. fouled out for the second time this season with under four minutes left in the game.
He scored a season-high 18 points on 6-of-13 from the field including going 4-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Jenkins has scored in double figures in back-to-back games after combining to score 11 points through the first two games of the season.