Unlv vs fresno state

FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Fresno State – Game 19

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (12-7 / 1-6) | Fresno State Bulldogs (7-11 / 3-4)

Franchise Sports Media

 

The Runnin’ Rebels have now lost four games in a row after losing to the Fresno State Bulldogs 76-63, dropping to 1-6 in MWC play

 

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

Eli Parquet returned to practice earlier in the week for UNLV. The senior guard suffered a knee injury on December 10th against Washington State and missed the past eight games. Kevin Kruger told reporters that Parquet was day-to-day and could suit up at Fresno State. Parquet warmed up with the team and had a brace on his left knee. UNLV had gone 2-6 in his absence.

Fresno State’s Isaiah Hill (concussion) and Jemarl Baker (knee) were both game-time decisions. Both were healthy enough to play.

UNLV’s starting lineup at Fresno State was Keshon Gilbert, Justin Webster, E.J. Harkless, Luis Rodriguez, and Victor Iwuakor. Kevin Kruger stuck with Iwuakor as UNLV’s starting center. Iwuakor played 32 minutes at Utah State, while David Muoka was limited to three minutes.

It didn’t take long for UNLV to get on the board as Rodriguez made a three on their first possession. Fresno State did outhustle and outwork the Rebels, diving on the floor and winning the loose ball battles early. Eduardo Andre was doing whatever he wanted since Kruger had stopped using Muoka.

The freshman Keyshawn Hall earned himself some minutes after his career night against Utah State, and the big guard continued his strong play with two buckets through contact. However, his weaknesses on defense were still on display as Isaiah Hill would score from three over the former with ease.

Harkless hasn’t been a good shooter as the season has progressed, but that doesn’t mean he can’t shoot. Fresno State fell asleep, and Harkless made them pay from deep. With 8:55 left in the first half, UNLV was behind at 23-20.

With Kruger stepping away from Muoka, the Rebels were bound to have some problems inside, and that was the case early in this one. UNLV had five total rebounds, while Fresno State had five offensive rebounds. Fresno State also led the rebounding battle 10-5.

Parquet scored his first points since going out off a jumper from mid-range. Don’t expect him to be fully healthy just yet, it’ll more than likely take him another game or two to get fully acclimated, but he will be worth the wait.

Hill seemed to be the next troublesome scorer for UNLV as he took full advantage of a mismatch between him and Iwuakor. Hill hit a mean stepback, and Iwuakor was left chasing and fouling the shooter. This can happen with him on smaller guards, Kruger isn’t exactly wrong when thinking of Iwuakor as a guy who can guard 1-5, but he can still get exploited.

Fresno State tried to get something at the end of the half, but Parquet showcased his defensive ability, tracking down the shooter and sending their shot into the second row. He isn’t fully healthy yet, and the man is still a defensive juggernaut.

 

At halftime, the score read Fresno State 37, UNLV 33. Rough half of defense for UNLV, as they allow Fresno State to shoot 53.6%. Hill led the Bulldogs with 13 points. Rebels led by Harkless with eight points. Hall with seven points.

 

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

Heading into the second half, Webster got a bit uncharacteristic as he drove inside and went up for a contact layup. Webster didn’t absorb the contact well and ended up landing on his backside. Expectedly he was shaken up and promptly exited to the locker room.

The Rebels were still within reach after Gilbert converted an and-1, only down 47-42 with 13:38 left in regulation. Webster also returned to the court after being gone for a few minutes of game time. However, the issue was the defense, as the Bulldogs extended their lead to eight after an alley-oop to Jordan Campbell and a three from Destin Whitaker. McCabe luckily bailed UNLV out with a three of his own.

Iwuakor had himself a tough outing, he can be a very tough and physical defender, but he can also be overly aggressive, and that can backfire, as it did with Iwuakor when he picked up his fourth foul. Kruger was forced to sit him with 10 minutes of game time left. 

That did enable us to see more of Hall, but Hill wasn’t giving him any time to rest on defense, as Hill took Hall one on one for another bucket in the paint. Hall just wasn’t pressuring him enough, as Hill casually hit a three over the former on the very next possession.

Kruger seemed to have enough of Hall and subbed him out for Muoka in a move that should’ve happened a lot earlier in the game. With Muoka, the Rebels have a solid presence inside, no doubt. Muoka was ready as he nailed a hook shot with ease. UNLV locked in and cemented a 6-0 run after a transition three from Webster. The Rebels were only down 61-57 with 5:32 left.

The Bulldogs stayed ahead with a 5-2 run, but Parquet came out of nowhere for a putback tip-in. However, the referees became a problem, as Parquet was called for a foul on a three-point shooter. That was the third time that happened, enabling Fresno State to sit comfortably with an eight-point lead.

UNLV tried to stick with it, but they could not convert on offense, as they went into the final minute scoreless. All the while, the Bulldogs didn’t miss from the free-throw line. Eventually, Kruger waved the white flag and accepted defeat. UNLV lost to Fresno State 76-63.

 

Runnin’ Takeaways

 

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

Harkless finished with 15 points (3-13 FGs, 1-5 3PMs, 8-10 FTs), seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Gilbert chipped in 11 points (3-7 FGs) and three assists. Hall off the bench was solid offensively with 10 points (4-6 FGs, 1-2 3PMs) and five rebounds, but his defense won’t show up on the stat sheet that screams out as a red flag.

Hill dominated UNLV’s soft defense with 28 points (7-12 FGs, 4-7 3PMs) and five assists. Andre totaled 16 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks. Campbell and Leo Colimerio combined for 17 points and five assists.

UNLV is now 1-6 in Mountain West play and tied for last place in the conference with Wyoming.

 

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 Wyoming at the Thomas & Mack Center, Tuesday, January 24th, at 8:00 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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