Runnin’ Rebels losing streak continues with loss to Fresno State

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The Fresno State Bulldogs hosted the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels for their seventh Mountain West game of the season. By a score of 76-63, the Bulldogs handed the Rebels their fourth straight loss and sixth loss in seven games. After this game, the Rebels’ record is now 12-7 overall and 1-6 in the Mountain West.

The opening basket of the contest was a three-pointer made by Luis Rodriguez. As a result, the Rebels’ streak of games in which at least one three-pointer was made was extended to 1,180. In the opening two minutes of the first half, Victor Iwuakor made a dunk to give the Rebels a 6-2 lead. With 15 minutes remaining in the half, the Bulldogs retaliated with a 9-2 run to take the lead and go up 11-8. The Rebels were trailing 26-25 with six minutes remaining in the half as both teams were trading buckets.

With only four minutes left in the half, the Bulldogs went on a 6-0 run to increase their advantage to 35-32. With less than a minute left in the half, Keyshawn Hall hit a three-pointer to reduce the Bulldogs’ lead to 37-33. In order to set up a play, the Bulldogs, who had the final possession of the half, called a timeout. They attempted to draw up a three-point play, but Elijah Parquet leapt and blocked the attempt. Parquet, who had missed the previous eight games due to injury, made a crucial contribution to close the half.

Head coach Kevin Kruger was happy to have Parquet back, but was concerned with Rodriguez’s status after he received a knee to his thigh.

“Yeah I don’t know, I have to go ask about his status,” Kruger said. “Hopefully so, we just have to adjust if not.”

The Bulldogs outshot the Rebels in every aspect of the game, so the Rebels were fortunate to only be down four at the break. The Bulldogs scored more goals in the paint and pulled down more rebounds. It was clear that the Bulldogs were dominating the Rebels due to their size.

Kruger said he thought he saw a lot of good from his defense in the first half, but weren’t finishing plays. 

“We are just not finishing plays right now,” Kruger said. “We just have to take the next step forward with it.”

Coming out of half, Parquet replaced Rodriguez, as it was evident he couldn’t continue for the rest of this one. In the opening ten minutes of the second half, neither the Bulldogs nor the Rebels were able to establish a significant lead. With a layup, Elijah Harkless reduced the Bulldogs’ lead to 52-49. Unfortunately for the Rebels, with eight minutes remaining in the game, the Bulldogs would make back-to-back jump shots to extend their lead to 57-49.

This distance was deemed to be sufficient separation for the Bulldogs. However, the Rebels weren’t going down without a fight. The Rebels were losing by a score of 68-63 with two minutes left in the game. For the remainder of the half, the Rebels’ offense was unable to score due their lack of offensive production. Throughout this time, the Bulldogs made eight free throws, resulting in a 76-63 victory. The Bulldogs shot 54% from the field and 47% from beyond the arc, which showed how poorly the Rebels’ defense performed. Overall, the Rebels had a poor performance and their offense also didn’t help them.

Kruger said the team has to find themselves to be able to turn this losing streak around.

“We just have to find that chip on our shoulder,” Kruger said. “We just have to keep plugging away at it, it is going to change.”

Key Performers 

  • Guard Elijah Harkless finished with a team-high 15 points. He also added seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals 
  • Forward Keyshawn Hall tallied 10 points, five rebounds, and one block off the bench 

n Jan. 24, the Rebels welcome the Wyoming Cowboys. Only one other team has a worse conference record than the Rebels, and that is the Cowboys. If they are unable to defeat them, changes may need to be made.

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