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UNLV uses wire-to-wire win to avoid 0-5 start

Junior guard David Jenkins had a breakout game in his fifth outing as a UNLV Runnin’ Rebels to help the team stave off a 0-5 start to the season.

UNLV beat Kansas State, 68-58, on the road Saturday, Dec. 5 capping over a weeklong road trip for the program.

The Runnin’ Rebels now take their 1-4 back to the Thomas & Mack Center for a two-game homestand beginning with Eastern Washington Wednesday, Dec. 9 and ending with Pepperdine Monday, Dec. 14.

Tip-off against Eastern Washington is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. while Pepperdine’s start time has yet to be determined.

It was the first time this season that UNLV held the lead at halftime during it’s wire-to-wire win over the Big-12 squad.

Jenkins scored a season-high 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting from the floor, including going 7-for-13 from three-point range.

It’s the second time in three games that UNLV had a player recorded at least seven made three-pointers.

Over the last three games, Jenkins has upped his scoring output in each one shooting 11-for-21 from beyond the arc and 15-for-30 overall.

As a team, the Runnin’ Rebels shot 52 percent from the field and 44 percent from long distance while holding the Wildcats to 34 percent shooting from the floor and 25 percent from deep.

Fellow junior guard Bryce Hamilton scored 18 points on 8-of-15 from the floor including going 2-of-5 from three-point range.

He came into the game leading the team in scoring with 21.5 points per game. In addition, Hamilton added eight rebounds and six assists, both of which were team-highs.

Sophomore guard Caleb Grill scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half including a flush on the backend of an alley-oop from Hamilton.

Grill capped off the highlight reel play by pointing to some friends and family in the stands as he’s from Wichita, Kansas.

It was the first time all season UNLV has played in front of a live crowd at 15 percent of Kansas State’s Bramlage Coliseum.

Last season with Iowa State, Grill got his first career start against Kansas State.

Grill also helped lead the way in the steals department, tying sophomore forward Moses Wood for team-high with two.

As a team the Runnin’ Rebels totaled seven steals, scoring 11 fast break points in the process.

On the defensive end, UNLV held Kansas State to just two fast break points despite committing 16 of the game’s 28 turnovers.

In the pregame, head coach TJ Otzelberger talked about defending without fouling.

The Rebels committed 12 of the game’s 25 fouls but senior forward Cheikh Mbacke Diong committed nearly 42 percent of the team’s fouls.

The Senegal native fouled out in 13 minutes.

It’s the sixth straight game, dating back to last season, where a UNLV player has fouled out.

However, Mbacke played with four fouls for a good part of the second half and got the free throw line from the Rebels’ pick-and-roll offense.

Mbacke shot 4-of-6 from the charity stripe, all of UNLV’s free throw attempts.

Kansas State won the rebounding battle, 32-30, but the Rebels made a second half jump from being -10 at halftime when Mbacke played only five minutes.

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