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FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Boise State – Game 16

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (12-4 / 1-3) | Boise State Broncos (13-4 / 3-1)

Franchise Sports Media

 

The Runnin’ Rebels have now lost four of their last six games after suffering another defeat to the Boise State Broncos 84-66

 

UNLV vs Boise State
Photo Credit: Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Eli Parquet was spotted at practice but did not participate. His rehab is reportedly on track. Maybe he’ll be good to go after the Utah State/Fresno road trip.

UNLV’s starting lineup vs. Boise State was the usual Keshon Gilbert, Justin Webster, E.J. Harkless, Luis Rodriguez, and David Muoka. Unfortunately, this unit has logged only around 25 minutes together in conference play.

Unfortunately, Harkless went down hard on UNLV’s first possession and looked like he was in all kinds of pain. However, he was able to get up and walk off under his own power as he exited for Jordan McCabe. After Harkless exited, the momentum pendulum began to swing towards the Broncos, and with back-to-back threes from Tyson Degenhart and Max Rice, UNLV found themselves down 12-4.

McCabe would pick up the slack though, draining a deep three over a defender. Boise State wasn’t making it easy, smothering the Rebels, and preventing them from driving inside. Harkless would eventually return. It took three minutes for the next basket to be scored as both teams locked in defensively. Again, McCabe was the culprit, sinking a mid-range jumper to cut Boise State’s lead to three at 14-11 with 11:35.

Lukas Milner ran the floor and scored a layup in transition to end the Broncos‘ drought. Boise State was then able to nab an offensive rebound off of a missed free throw. However, Harkless seemed lost and distraught and gave up a wide-open three to Pavle Kuzmanovic.

Rice seemed confident as ever as he nailed a three over Gilbert. Of course, it’s easy to have such confidence when your dad is the head coach. However, UNLV stuck with it and worked harder than ever, as they took the lead at 24-23 after Webster made a strong move, bodying the defender and scoring the bucket. 

Karl Jones got his chance to play some meaningful minutes, similarly to Muoka, throwing down a putback jam off of Gilbert’s miss. It was said that Muoka would receive more touches in the post, and he got his chance briefly, scoring the hook shot and securing a three-point lead. However, UNLV failed to secure a defensive rebound on another free throw, leading to another three from Rice

 

At halftime, the score read UNLV 33, Boise State 31. McCabe and Webster combined for 16 points on 7-13 FGs, they provided a much-needed spark. Only four points by Harkless, which hopefully meant that he’s going off for 20+ in the second half.

 

UNLV vs Boise State
Photo Credit: Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Heading into the second half, it was a less-than-ideal start for UNLV. Chibuzo Agbo hit back-to-back threes and was fouled on both of them, giving him two four-point opportunities. UNLV was lucky to only walk away with a three-point deficit. Agbo was scorching hot, torching UNLV with another three. Due to that eruption, Boise State shot out to a 14-3 run to begin the second half and now led 45-36 with 16:53 left in regulation.

Rodriguez finally got his first three to fall, which was much needed as UNLV’s ship was sinking fast. Rodriguez kept things alive when he answered a three by Jace Whiting with a three of his own.

With 12:06 remaining, the Rebels were down 58-46. Gilbert seemed to just run past Whiting, which was genuinely head-scratching as that left Whiting wide open. It seemed Gilbert expected Muoka to pick him up, but it was a bad read by Gilbert. Kruger knew that and promptly called a timeout to reel his guys in.

Webster drilled a three, but it wasn’t going to mean anything if UNLV couldn’t get a stop. Considering there were still 10 minutes left in the game, the Rebels still had a shot for a comeback, as Gilbert had a three fall, cementing an 8-0 run, and cutting Boise State’s lead to eight points.

UNLV finally had one of their best defensive possessions of the game, despite it coming after they gave up a layup to Whiting. However, they squandered the opportunity as McCabe was blocked by Naje Smith on a three-point attempt. It seemed that fatigue was settling in for the Broncos, though, as UNLV’s pressure afflicted Boise State, and Marcus Shaver Jr. threw a pass into the third row.

Agbo still had energy, though, as he scored in transition off a Jackie Johnson III turnover. Truly unfortunate for Johnson as he hadn’t received much playing time in this one and was quickly subbed out by Kruger.

The Rebels were still within striking distance, only down 68-60 with 6:22 left. Agbo and Webster traded threes, while Shaver and Gilbert traded layups. At this point, it seemed like both teams were trading blows until Harkless drew an offensive foul on Smith. UNLV followed up that tremendous defensive possession with a poor one, allowing Shaver to pull up for three and sink it over Gilbert casually.

The next thing you knew, UNLV was back down by a deficit of 13 points. That deficit becomes more extensive when you realize only three minutes are left. The lead increased when the Rebels gave up a wide-open layup to Degenhart, arguably the easiest bucket of the game for Boise State

Degenhart became more of a pest when he drew an offensive foul on Rodriguez. Then, Victor Iwuakor got too aggressive and fouled Shaver on a three-point attempt. Then, expectedly, the Thomas & Mack began to clear out, as there was no hope for a late-game comeback. The final score read Boise State 84, UNLV 66.

 

Runnin’ Takeaways

 

UNLV vs Boise State
Photo Credit: Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Gilbert had 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Webster added 13 points on 2-3 from three, and Harkless had 12 points on an alarming 5-18 FGs and 0-4 from three. Rodriguez and McCabe combined for 18 points and 14 rebounds but also combined for 3-10 from three and five turnovers.

Degenhart did it all with 17 points on 8-9 FGs, 12 rebounds, and six assists. Agbo was crucial with 17 points on 4-6 from three. Shaver did his thing with 15 points and six assists. Rice had 13 points on 4-6 from three, five rebounds, and two steals.

Boise State made 56.4% FGs and put up 53 points in the second half. Boise State also shot 53.8% from three. However, UNLV could not stop the onslaught and gave up too many good looks. The Rebels didn’t make matters any better: they shot 43.5% from the field and a terrible 31.6% from three. Their 42.9% from the free throw line also needs to be addressed. UNLV won the turnover battle (15-11) but was outrebounded (35-31).

 

Don’t forget to go out and support the Runnin’ RebelsClick here to get your UNLV Runnin’ Rebels tickets! 

 

The Runnin’ Rebels will now take on Colorado State Saturday, January 14th, at 4:00 pm PT. The game will be available on the CBS Sports Network.

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-Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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