Runnin’ Rebels fall to Boise State, now just 1-3 in Mountain West

Source: UNLV Athletics

UNLV’s fourth Mountain West conference matchup of the year pitted the 12-win Runnin’ Rebels against the 12-win Boise State Broncos. With a final score of 84-66, the Broncos were the team to leave the contest with their 13th victory of the year. Boise State’s 84 points were the most scored against the Rebels this season, who suffered their first double-digit loss of the year. With the loss, the Rebels’ record drops to 12-4 overall and 1-3 in Mountain West competition.

UNLV head coach Kevin Kruger said the Broncos had a great night against them.

“They did a really good job finding open shooters and they were sharing the ball,” Kruger said.

The Rebels got off to a slow start, just like in their previous game against New Mexico. In the first four minutes of the game, the Broncos had a 12-4 lead. A three-pointer by Jordan McCabe reduced the Broncos’ advantage to 12-7. The Rebels’ record for consecutive games with a made three-pointer increased to 1,177 with McCabe’s basket.

The Broncos led 23-16 with nine minutes remaining in the first half. With an 8-0 response, the Rebels took the lead for the first time in the contest at 24-23. The Broncos took back the lead 31-30 with less than 40 seconds left in the first half. Then Keshon Gilbert received a continuation and completed a layup through contact. He made his free throw, and the Rebels went up at the half with a 33-31 lead.

The Rebels’ shooting was subpar during the first half. They managed to shoot just 14% from beyond the arc and only 44% from the field. They had an advantage at halftime thanks to their four more made shots than the Broncos. McCabe scored nine points for the Rebels off the bench, one of the team’s few effective scorers.

Kruger said McCabe had a good first half and provided a much needed spark off the bench.

“His spark was exactly what we needed,” Kruger said. “We got off to a tough start, but ended up finishing the last part of the first half really well, in large part because of Jordan.”

The Broncos turned things around early in the second half and went on an 18-7 run to take back the lead at 49-40. With 12 minutes remaining in the game, the Broncos were up 61-46. They would not look back. In response, the Rebels went on a 14-6 run to reduce the Broncos’ lead to 66-60. The Rebels would get no closer than this in the second half, and they were unable to convert. With a final 18-6 run, the Broncos defeated the Rebels 84-66. During the last seven minutes of the game, the Rebels scored just two field goals and one free throw.

In the second half, the Broncos outscored the Rebels 53-33, outshooting them in every category. The Broncos made 83% of their free throws while shooting 71% from the field and 62% from beyond the arc. The normally strong Rebels defense collapsed and was powerless to stop the Broncos offense.

Kruger said that his team just has to continue to work to get the results they want.

“We have to stay locked in, continue to lift each other up, and talk to each other,” Kruger said. “Just continue to get better at doing whatever we need to do to get a win.”

Key Performers

  • Guard Keshon Gilbert finished the night with 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists. 
  • Guard Justin Webster tallied 13 points and one assist. 
  • Guard Elijah Harkless totaled 12 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals. 

The Rebels must watch the film and take this opportunity to quickly correct their errors. They’ll host the Colorado State Rams on Jan. 14. Dick Calvert, also known as “The Voice of the Rebels,” will be honored at the game with a special ceremony held by the team.

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