It wasn't exactly deja vu, but it was definitely a recurring theme for this season. UNLV faced a lot of zone defense and they had to fight tooth and nail for forty minutes. This time it was outside of the comfortable confines of the Thomas and Mack. The Rebels went on the road for the first time and they came away victorious 89-81 over former Rebel assistant Todd Simon and his Southern Utah Thunderbirds.
Dwayne Morgan was an absolute monster. He has been arguably UNLV's most important player (Definitely its toughest) this season and he elevated his game in a major way tonight. The only 5 star prospect left on the roster played up to his prep rating by going for a gaudy 19 points and 14 rebounds. UNLV needed every point and every board he gave, but he wasn't alone in stuffing the stat column.
Five other Rebels scored in double figures. Jalen Poyser had an off night from the floor (Going 2-6), but he made 7-8 of his free throw attempts and he scored 11 points for the game. Kris Clyburn didn't miss a single shot he attempted. The JUCO transfer scored 15 points, drilling 3-3 from three. Tyrell Green kept up his impressive play as well. The senior racked up a near double-double and posted himself 12 points and 9 boards. Jovan Mooring came back to life after struggling a bit against TCU and WKU. "Jojo" tallied 16 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Lastly, true freshman Troy Baxter threw down some incredible dunks on his way to 11 points on 4-5 shooting.
UNLV has been far from perfect to this point, but that's to be expected. Coach Menzies is brand new and so is his staff. They had to bring in ten new players and they've dealt with a spattering of injuries over the first 7 games. If you take all that into account, going 5-2 over that stretch is an impressive feat. Particularly since the early identity of this UNLV team has been to grit it out and win despite not being at their best.