The University of Nevada-Reno pulled out all the stops to market this game and hype it up. Michael Buffer was hired to yell his trademarked phrase, "Let's get ready to rumble!" at the start of the game. They even made custom, "Battleborn" jerseys to celebrate the spectacle. Well, the Reno ball team certainly bought into their own motivation and they steamrolled UNLV 104-77 in front of a raucous sellout crowd.
Once again UNLV put forth a very dispassionate effort. They were constantly flat footed on defense and watched on frequently as Wolfpack players shot wide open jumpers. Reno shot a blistering 52% from the field and 52% from deep. It turned into a dunkfest as well. Alleyoops soared over UNLV defenders adding insult to injury on numerous occasions. They also killed the Rebels on the glass 46-32. It was quite ugly to behold as UNLV was outworked and out hustled for 40 straight minutes.
UNLV actually shot over 40% from the floor for the first time since December, but it did little good. The Rebels always seem to find other ways to derail themselves from victory. Despite shooting a decent percentage (43.5%), they missed 10 free throws (16-26) and turned the ball over 14 times.
Three Rebels notched double figures in scoring. Jovan Mooring tallied 20 points, but the UNLV floor general has fallen in love with the deep ball and has developed porous shot selection. Nevertheless Mooring also had assists and did his best to put his struggling teammates on his back so he can carry the load. Tyrell Green did his best to shoulder some of that burden. Green had 13 points and a couple of rebounds. Kris Clyburn the Juco product from Ranger College was a rare bright spot. The former starter went 5-6 from the field and 2-2 from beyond the arc. He totaled 14 points.
It was quite odd seeing former UNLV head coach Dave Rice on the Reno sideline as an assistant for Pack coach Eric Musselman. The Rebel program has spiraled to rock bottom levels since he was fired last year just 3 games into the MWC slate. I'm sure his new team ravaging his former team must have felt bittersweet.