Runnin’ Rebels start 10-0 for first time since 1990

Source: Chase Stevens/Associated Press

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels hosted the Washington State Cougars on Saturday in the Las Vegas Clash for their tenth game of the year, and with a score of 74-70, the Rebels triumphed for the 10th time this season.

For the first time since 1990, the Runnin’ Rebels are 10-0.

The Cougars got off to a faster start than the Rebels would have preferred, going on an 11-2 run. The Rebels were trailing 13-4 after the teams traded buckets. But UNLV took off running in true Rebel fashion. Guard Keshon Gilbert hit a three-pointer during their run to reduce the Cougars’ advantage to 13-9. Gilbert’s three-pointer increased the Rebels’ record for the most consecutive games with a made three-pointer to 1,171 games. With 11 minutes left, the Rebels led 22-13 after a three-pointer by Rebel guard Justin Webster capped an 18-0 run.

The Cougars didn’t give up easily, despite the 18-0 run appearing to be the turning point in the half. In response, the Cougars went on a quick 6-0 run to reduce the Rebels’ lead to 22-19. The Cougars made a three with two minutes left to retake the lead 30-29. In response, the Rebels went on a 4-0 run to retake the lead while keeping the Cougars scoreless for the remainder of the half, taking a 33-30 lead into the locker room.

Gilbert scored eight points in the first half to lead the Rebels. The Rebels made 48% of their field goals and 36% of their 3-point attempts. In the first half, the Cougars were scorching hot, shooting 61% from the field and 60% from three-point range. Fortunately for the Rebels, their 16 forced turnovers helped counteract the Cougars’ excellent shooting. Elijah Parquet, one of the Rebels’ starters, unfortunately was injured and was immediately declared out for the remainder of the game.

Head coach Kevin Kruger said it was unfortunate that Parquet went down and hopes it isn’t something serious.

“The way he puts pressure on the ball handlers and makes it tough for them to get anything going is key,” Kruger said. “Unfortunately no, there is nothing I could say about his injury right now.”

As the game entered the second half, neither team was prevailing. But with 12 minutes left in the game, a Jackie Johnson III layup gave the Rebels their first double-digit lead of the contest at 57-47. A jump shot from Gilbert gave the Rebels their largest lead of the game at 66-54 a few minutes later.

The Rebels’ lead was reduced to 66-61 when the Cougars awoke and went on a 7-0 run. With one minute left in the game, the Rebels led 71-66. It wasn’t over yet, but the Rebels made just enough free throws to win the game. The 10-0 Rebels were led by Gilbert’s career-high 25 points as they defeated the Cougars 74-70.

Kruger said he credits Gilbert for being patient and playing within the system.

“It’s amazing what a little bit of patience, drive, and fire can do,” Gilbert said. “Now he’s in a role where I trust him as much as anybody.”

Key Performers

  • Guard Keshon Gilbert ended the game with a game and career-high 25 points. He also added five rebounds, three assists, and three steals. 
  • Guard Elijah Harkless finished the game with 20 points, four rebounds, two assists, and one steal. 

The Rebels have a week off before they host the University of San Francisco Dons on Dec 12.

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