The Rebels fell 76-68 to the South Alabama Jaguars from the Sun Belt Conference in a disappointing effort to get the 2016-17 season underway on Friday night. If one word could sum up the start of the Menzies era at UNLV, it would be discombobulated. UNLV was never able to get into a rhythm as USA used staunch perimeter defense and a brand of physicality that the Rebels couldn't seem to match to cruise to an 8 point victory.
UNLV was exposed tonight again on the glass, something that carried over from the exhibition games. Although they won the overall rebounding battle 46-42, they gave up 14 offensive boards, which lead to a lot of easy baskets.
Another thing that was a cause for concern was the lack of ball movement. The Rebels played too much one on one basketball when they had the ball in their hands and it showed as they were only able to produce 12 assists (Against 16 turnovers) on 21 made field goals. Just 3 of those assists came from a Rebel point guard.
Christian Jones, the graduate transfer from St. John's had a big game putting up an impressive double-double. He scored 20 points and pulled down 13 rebounds. Jalen Poyser struggled from the field, but he used a strong second half to bring his totals for the evening to 17 points and 6 boards. The sophomore did a good job of getting to the foul line where he went 11-14. Other Rebels in double figures were Tyrell Green and Kris Clyburn. Green went for 10 points and Clyburn scored 13, but the tandem was a lowly 6-18 from the floor. The rest of the team didn't fare much better, shooting only 36% from the field overall and a dismal 13% on three point shooting.
The Rebels are back in action Wednesday November the 16th against UC Riverside. They have a lot of work to do in the meantime and I'm looking forward to see how Menzies and his team react to this tough loss.