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UNLV stumbles at Air Force, drop under .500 in conference play

Photo Credit: Lucas Peltier/UNLV Athletics

Coming off its first road win of the season, UNLV had a hiccup resulting in dropping under .500 in conference play for the third time.

The Runnin’ Rebels were beaten by the Air Force Falcons, 69-62, Thursday, Jan. 20 from Clune Arena. This game was originally scheduled for Jan. 8.

Entering the game, Air Force was 8-7 and 1-3 in the Mountain West conference but were 5-1 at home.

UNLV is now 1-3 on the road with a 10-8 overall record. In addition, the team is 2-3 in the Mountain West.

A home game may be the perfect solution for the team as San Jose State are set to enter the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday, Jan. 22.

The Rebels just beat the Spartans by 25 points on Martin Luther King Day.

Tip-off is set for noon.

UNLV cut the deficit to as little as four points on two separate occasions in the second half but could not dig itself out of the hole it had built for itself.

The Rebels actually won the second half 37-36.

At the start of the game, UNLV jumped out to an early nine-point lead on the home team.

However, the team would go scoreless for 2:31 by the under-eight media timeout.

Upon return, the Rebels couldn’t make up ground despite turnovers from the Falcons due to going without a field goal for 4:18, to that point.

Air Force would snag its first lead of the game at 22-21 with 5:14 left in the first half.

The lead would grow to nine for the Falcons after going on an 8-0 run to close the first 20 minutes.

Over the final 10:15 of the first half, UNLV went without a field goal. Moreover, the team was one for its last 12 field goals in the frame.

At the halfway point of the game, Air Force was shooting 59% from the field while holding UNLV to 38%.

Senior guard Bryce Hamilton reached 30 points for the third time in his career and the second time this season.

Hamilton scored 32 points on 10-of-19 from the field with 10 made free throws and seven rebounds.

During that fiery start for the Rebels, Hamilton scored nine of the team’s first 14 points.

He scored 14 of his 32 points in the first half.

It was all Hamilton on offense for most of the game. When he dunked his 19th and 20th points of the game with 14:36 left in the game, no other UNLV player had more than six.

Junior forward Donovan Williams found an offensive rhythm late, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half.

Williams played most of the game in foul trouble as did multiple members of the Rebel team.

Four players had at least three fouls while three had four. Williams had four along with junior forward Victor Iwuakor and freshman guard Keshon Gilbert.

Hamilton had three fouls.

After the game, head coach Kevin Kruger called the game a “lesson learned,” before adding, “we’re past excuses.”

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