Rebels bounce back, 83-55, over Washburn

The UNLV Runnin' Rebels got the bad taste of last Friday's 79-76 home loss to UC Santa Barbara out of their mouths in plenty of time to enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey thanks to an easy 83-55 victory over Division II Washburn on Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The Rebels (3-1) jumped out to a 24-8 lead in the first nine minutes, led by 22 points (43-21) at halftime and were in front by as many as 33 points (79-46) in the second half. Not bad considering the Ichabods (2-2) had taken Bob Huggins' Kansas State squad to triple overtime before losing, 94-90, on Nov. 4.

Wink Adams led the way for UNLV with 17 points (3 of 3 from 3-point range) and 5 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action and Joe Darger and Gaston Essengue added 10 points each for the Runnin' Rebels.

"I thought it was pretty solid from start to finish," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said of his team's performance. "It feels good taking some steps that you hope to see coming off the results we had last week. We just need to keep taking steps."

Kruger said he was happy to see the way his team responded following the disappointing home loss to the Gauchos.

"You're always interested in seeing how a team responds to a loss," Kruger said. "Typically you expect them to focus a little better. And I think the last couple days of practice have been good, and I thought they carried that over into the game. I was pleased to see the response we did get."

Senior point guard Kevin Kruger, playing in his first game since suffering a sprained ankle against Hawaii on Nov. 10, scored six points, three assists and zero turnovers in 23 minutes of action but made just two of his eight field goal tries.

"A couple of times I landed on it funny (and felt a twinge)," Kruger said. "But other than that it was a good game ankle-wise. I think by Saturday night (when UNLV hosts San Francisco) I should be close to 100 percent."
The Runnin' Rebels return to action on Saturday night at 7:30 when they host USF at the Thomas & Mack Center.

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