One would imagine that UNLV men’s basketball head coach Kevin Kruger wanted his team to improve their three-point shooting after their win against Gardner-Webb last Thursday night, and the first-year head coach had to be pleased with the Runnin’ Rebels’ shooting following the team’s 55-52 win over Cal on Friday.
UNLV massively improved their effort from downtown, combining that with another stellar defensive performance, which included only giving up two points in the final 2:30 of regulation. UNLV handed a second-straight loss to the Golden Bears to begin their season 55-52 on Saturday night in front of a petite crowd of 4,937.
UNLV shot 10-29 from three, which was an apple compared to the orange that was the 2-25 effort that occurred Thursday evening in UNLV’S first tilt of the season. Bryce Hamilton had 12 points and 5 rebounds to lead the Rebels to their first 2-0 start since the 2017-2018 campaign. Mike Nuga chipped in with 10 points and Royce Hamm had 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Cal (0-2) was led by Grant Anticevich’s 10-point, 11-rebound double-double.
A crucial point in this game came when the Runnin’ Rebels used a 7-2 run to take a five-point lead with three minutes left. Cal cut the UNLV lead to just one point at 53-52 with two minutes to go, but a Hamm blocked shot with less than 30 seconds left and two big free throws from Jordan McCabe, (who made his first start) with 12 seconds remaining was the difference.
Next, UNLV will take on the North Dakota State Bison on Monday at the Thomas and Mack Center. Tip-off is set for 7 PM.
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