"It's deja vu all over again" is a baseball quote in reference to the New York Yankees. Well, it's also highly applicable to Jovan Mooring hoisting 30 footers with the game on the line for the Runnin' Rebels this season. UNLV and New Mexico went toe to toe at the Thomas & Mack Center in an extremely entertaining contest that saw innumerable ties and lead changes. The Rebels needed to be a tiger that could change its stripes and that's exactly what they did. UNLV has had a habit of falling in love with the 3 point ball, like most modern basketball teams do these days. For tonight's game, the Rebels did a fantastic job of driving into the lane and attacking the basket. Because of this tactic it opened up their offense and they played one of their most free flowing games of the 2016-17 campaign. Unfortunately, like most young teams something else comes up to throw a wrench in the proverbial spokes. This time it was because UNLV wasn't able to generate enough stops to win. Because of this it came down to another desperation heave by Mooring as the final buzzer sounded and UNLV's star player slipped slightly on his release and the ball clanged off the rim as time expired. New Mexico held on 80-77.
Tyrell Green enjoyed quite a resurgence on the evening. Conference play hasn't been kind to the Canadian export, but he came out of his slump to score a team high 25 points. Green came off the bench to hit 8-8 on his free throw attempts and he used a mixture of aggression and inside/out play to do his damage. Jovan Mooring went bombs away during the game shooting remorselessly from all over the court. Jovan only went 3-11 from distance, but he hit 2 clutch triples in the final minute to keep the Rebels within striking distance. Freshman Zion Morgan was the only other UNLV player in double figures and he continues to show why he deserves to be a starter who is logging a lot of minutes for this ball club. Morgan had 10 points and 5 rebounds and his defense and hustle was a constant benefit for coach Menzies' team.
UNLV has now dropped 3 games in a row and 6 of its last 8. It's been a tough season that continues to get tougher. It's hard for a young team to make such positive and crucial adjustments and still lose a tight game. These are the lessons that Menzies will have just have to continue to impart as this young group continues to mature. The Rebels next host Colorado State on Saturday the 4th as they try to get back on the right track.