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UNLV gets much-wanted revenge against Air Force, win by 29

A 32-point loss at the hands of the Air Force Falcons sparked a season-best win streak for the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels. Despite having the win streak broken in the team’s most recent outing, UNLV avenged that lopsided loss with a favor returned in a blowout of its own.


The Rebels scorched the Falcons, 72-43, Wednesday, Feb. 21 from the Cadet Field House. That aforementioned drubbing from the Thomas & Mack still counts as the lone Mountain West win for Air Force in 13 tries.


UNLV is looking to restart its win streak after having its season-high five-game win streak snapped after the team’s previous loss to Nevada – Reno. In a wild Mountain West, the Rebels still find themselves in the thick of things despite having a 15-10 overall record.


The team currently sits in the fifth spot of the conference standings tied with the aforementioned Wolf Pack with five more regular season games left to play.


The regular season continues with a Saturday, Feb. 24 meeting with the Colorado State Rams, scheduled for 5 p.m. from the Thomas & Mack Center.


“When you look at it, we do have three games in six days,” head coach Kevin Kruger said. “This group is really good in film sessions, not necessarily as good when we walk through stuff. When we watch film and talk about things, they apply it.


“Which is really good for us because as we’re entering the latter part of the season with five games left, to have that confidence that we can meet and get something out of it without having to be on the floor going 100% and full speed that we can still get good things out of it.”


After notching that huge win in late January, Air Force only led for 43 seconds of this latest 40-minute outing. UNLV took control early and never relinquished it, eventually leading by as many as 29 points.


Late in the first half, the Rebs went up 10 on the heels of a 7-0 run before heading into the halftime break up 13 points. Much of the same would occur in the second half after a scoreless stretch of more than six minutes.


Falcons guard Ethan Taylor erupted for 17 points but would be the only Air Force player in double-figures with the next closest tallying seven. As a team, UNLV held its opponent to just 35% from the floor including a 5-for-28 mark from three-point range.


It was a dominant performance in nearly all aspects with many stats glaring off the final stat sheet. The Rebels outscored the Falcons, 40-22, in the paint and outrebounded them, 44-19.


That rebounding margin included a 16-7 advantage in the offensive rebounding category. UNLV turned those 16 offensive rebounds into 15 second chance points versus just two the other way.


Seven different Rebel players recorded at least six points with two reaching double-digit scoring beginning with starters junior Rob Whaley Jr. and fifth-year forward Keylan Boone.


Whaley led the team with 15 points on a near perfect 6-of-7 shooting. Boone added 11 points on 5-for-7 from the floor including a made three on his lone attempt.


Both Whaley and Boone were apart of the starting five that each recorded at least five rebounds on the night. Keylan’s twin brother, Kalib, led the team in rebounding with eight.


“We can’t get outrebounded by 20 like we did in the last game,” Whaley said. “So we got on the glass this game. Physicality, defense and just kept it moving throughout the whole game.”


Freshman guard Brooklyn Hicks was the final player in double-figures with 12 points highlighted by a pair of threes late in the second half.

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