It wasn't always pretty. In fact, at times it was downright ugly during UNLV's game against Cal-State Fullerton at the Thomas and Mack center Saturday night. Despite some stale and stagnant offense during certain stretches, the Rebels earned themselves a hard fought victory 77-68.
Once again Jalen Poyser lead the Rebels in scoring (Totaling 15 points and delivering 3 assists), but it was Jovan Mooring who put UNLV on his back and willed the team to victory down the stretch. Fullerton took a page out of prior Rebel opponents South Alabama and UC-Riverside by playing a tough brand of perimeter defense that stymied the Rebel backcourt. Mooring only went 1-5 from the field, but he had the wherewithal to drive into the teeth of the CSUF defense again and again and put himself on the line over and over. Once he was there, he hit 10-12 of his attempts. The Rebels who had been struggling mightily to get into a rhythm offensively to that point finally stole the momentum of the game and they never gave it back.
Other notables in the stat column were Kris Clyburn, Uche Ofoegbu and Dwayne Morgan. Clyburn who was coming off both a knee and a hip injury played his best game of the young season. He went 6-10 from the floor going for 13 points and 4 rebounds. Ofoegbu, the graduate transfer from San Francisco came into this season with lofty expectations and he finally began to live up to them a little bit tonight. He scored 11 points while collecting 3 rebounds. Dwayne Morgan played in only his 2nd game for the Rebels and he was a force on the glass, grabbing a team high 8 rebounds.
The Rebels deserve credit for getting it done despite losing the rebounding battle rather badly (40-27) and giving up another 2nd half lead due to a lot of one on one basketball. There's a lot of new faces for Marvin Menzies and the chemistry is a work in progress, but when the going got tough this group stayed calm and hit a ton of clutch free throws to pull away late. You have to respect a team that can find a way to win even though they didn't play their best basketball.