This was a barometer game for the Rebels tonight. UNLV hasn't been fairing well against the titans of college basketball like Duke and Oregon, but the Salukis came to town with the same record as UNLV (6-5) and sporting similar talent. This one was tightly contested from the opening tip and UNLV committed 23 turnovers for the game, but a spirited Thomas and Mack crowd along with big time 2nd half performances from Jovan Mooring and Cheickna Dembele propelled the Rebels to the victory 68-61.
Tyrell Green continued his stellar play as well as his hot shooting. The sizzling senior shot 4-5 from three point range and 9-13 from the field overall. His 23 points and 7 rebounds were pivotal in UNLV holding on for the home victory. Jalen Poyser scored 10 points and Kris Clyburn pitched in 11, but it was Dembele and Mooring who stole the show late in the game. When the score was tight in the 2nd half, Marvin Menzies drew up a pick and roll on multiple possessions between these two that worked to perfection and ultimately broke the game open. Mooring had 6 assists on the night and none were bigger than the dimes he tossed to Cheick when he was deep in the post and finished with clutch layups. Jovan also sealed the game with two very important steals in the waning seconds and Cheick was a prototypical rim protector with his 3 big blocks and the innumerable shots he challenged at the rim.
While the ridiculous amount of turnovers could have ended up costing the game for UNLV, it was the effort, intensity and heart that won out instead, The Rebs have had a brutal schedule to contend with so far and it doesn't get any easier with the third ranked Jayhawks coming to town at 6pm Thursday evening. Whatever happens against Kansas, the Rebels have something to be proud of tonight after the guts and determination that they displayed.