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UNLV ends longest active home win streak in Division I by edging Boise State

Kevin Kruger’s UNLV Runnin’ Rebels has always seemed to have a knack for the big game. After letting a chance to add another Top-20 win to the resume, the group was chomping at the bit to get a chance at redemption.

Redemption came in the form of a, 68-64, win over the Boise State Broncos Tuesday, Jan. 16 from the ExtraMile Arena. The win ended a stretch of 22 straight home wins for Boise State which was the longest active streak in Division I. Moreover, the program had lost eight straight to the Broncos and held a 2-11 overall record in Idaho in the rivalry.

UNLV is now 9-7 on the year after picking up its second conference win of the season in its fourth outing. Now, the team will look forward to the final of a two-game road trip when it travels to Colorado State for a meeting with the Rams. Gametime is slated for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19.

The Rebels’ most recent win was highlighted by eight meaningful offensive rebounds in the second half to keep the Broncos off their heels. One of the more vital second chances came 71 seconds left with fifth-year guard Justin Webster completing a mid-range hanging jumper.

Webster finished with 15 points with six of them coming in the final one minute and 11 seconds. Four of his six points came at the free throw line as he iced the game for good.

Junior forward Rob Whaley Jr. flashed bright from the moment he checked into the game, making highlight reel plays on both ends of the floor. Immediately after entering the contest, he rattled off back-to-back field goals including an and-one finish.

Whaley would eventually score eight straight points and 12 of 14 during a stretch in the first half on his way to a perfect 5-for-5 start to the game. He’d record a new career-high in just nine first half minutes on his way to closing the night with 18 points on a very efficient 8-for-11 from the floor.

As a result, UNLV ousted the Boise State bench, 20-2, while holding star Tyson Degenhart to without a field goal through the first 18-plus minutes of the game. He’d catch his rhythm in the second half to finish with a game-high 24 points.

Failure to convert at the free throw line presented the biggest issue for the Rebels as the team ended the night with a 10-for-17-mark from the charity stripe. Freshman guard Dedan Thomas Jr. went 50% from the line with 22 seconds left on the clock to keep his team ahead by two points. Earlier in the second half, he drilled a three to push the visitor’s lead back to six points.

The Liberty product would still manage to lead an efficient offense for a UNLV team that didn’t commit its first turnover until 3:03 remained in the first half. That marked the start of three straight turnovers on a night where the team committed nine total en route to the win.

Overall, the Rebels led the Broncos for more than 36 minutes of the 40-minute game.


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