Unlv vs hawaii
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Hawaii – Game 9

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (9-0 / 0-0)  | Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (5-3 / 0-0)

Franchise Sports Media


UNLV’s defense and some late-game heroics from Luis Rodriguez powered them to victory over Hawaii 77-62 to improve to 9-0


UNLV vs Hawaii
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

This was the first-ever game in Henderson for the Runnin’ Rebels, and it was entertaining, to say the least. UNLV came in flaming hot with their first 8-0 start in 11 years. The only downside coming into this one was that Isaiah Cottrell was still out.

The UNLV starting lineup vs. Hawaii was Keshon Gilbert, E.J. Harkless, Eli Parquet, Luis Rodriguez, and David Muoka. They are the same starters as the first eight games. This unit has logged around 71 minutes together and has outscored opponents 136-101.

Muoka got the game started with a putback dunk. But outside of that, the beginning of this game was a defensive battle. Rodriguez drove baseline quickly and caught the Hawaii defense off guard, scoring the layup and converting the and-1 to take a 5-1 lead.

Then a quick spark from the reserves, as Jackie Johnson III made a three, and Victor Iwuakor got a transition dunk to make it an 11-4 run. Jordan McCabe hit Justin Webster in the corner for a three. The former Rainbow Warrior, Webster, was 42% from three on the year coming into this one.

McCabe tried to get his own game going, but his layup was deflected out of bounds. Bernardo Da Silva got a score inside, and it was a five-point game with 6:57 left in the first. Samuta Avea tried to continue the momentum for Hawaii but was blocked by Iwuakor.

UNLV forced a Hawaii turnover which didn’t lead to anything in transition, but Harkless got the ball on the reset and scored through contact to make the defensive effort worthwhile. Harkless knocked down a pair of free throws to extend UNLV’s run to 9-2. 

UNLV was shooting a horrible 33.3% overall, but as usual, they were playing good defense and forcing turnovers, with Hawaii at eight already. UNLV 30, Hawaii 18 with 4:20 left in the first half.

Gilbert got a highly contested baseline layup to go in to take a 17-point lead at 37-20 with 1:52 remaining in the first. Gilbert tried to get another layup inside but was rejected by Avea. Johnson III tried his luck inside but was rejected as well. At the end of the first half, McCabe converted a reverse layup to beat the buzzer.


At halftime, the score read UNLV 41, Hawaii 22. UNLV closed the half on a 17-4 run. Rodriguez had eight points, and Gilbert had seven points, three assists, and two steals. The defense had forced nine turnovers from Hawaii. Hawaii was 2-14 on threes, while former ‘Bow Webster had hit two first-half threes.


UNLV vs Hawaii
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

In the second half, Hawaii had a bit of a resurgence. Beon Riley was initially rejected inside but stayed with it and converted the layup through contact.’Kamaka Hepa cleaned up a miss from Noel Coleman, and it was a 14-point game. Mor Seck had put back in another miss and got called for a technical when he and Iwuakor (he also had a technical) exchanged words. 

Harkless slithered through the Hawaii defense and scored a tough layup. Harry Rouhliadeff subbed in and responded with a three. Hawaii then got out in transition and used their advantage in numbers to get Riley a score inside to cut the lead to 11. Rouhliadeff had it going as he hit his second three of the game off a Johnson III turnover, with both threes coming in the last five minutes. The swing resulted in UNLV’s lead diminishing to just eight points.

The Runnin’ Rebels just couldn’t find an offensive rhythm all night, as they were now shooting 23.5% from the field in the second half, with the score at UNLV 54 and Hawaii 46 with 9:02 remaining.

Gilbert got clocked driving to the rim but absorbed it and converted the layup to push the lead back to double digits. Coleman got a dunk but was countered by Rodriguez, Rouhliadeff made another three, but Rodriguez responded with a three of his own. Rodriguez then capped off an 8-3 run all by himself as he stole the ball and dunked it to take a 65-51 lead with 6:13 remaining.

McCabe drove left and got a pretty pass to get through to Muoka, and he got the finish in traffic. UNLV forced another turnover, and that got a transition bucket for Gilbert. Jovon McClanahan got a score inside despite Muoka being in the vicinity, and after free throws from McClanahan, UNLV still held a 71-56 lead with 2:39 remaining.

Something he’s done all night and frankly all season long as Harkless drove straight down the pipe and attacked the rim for two. Hepa took Muoka one on one and scored a sweet jumper over him. Then Hepa spotted up in the corner and made a three. Hawaii could’ve used that earlier in this one, as they fell to UNLV 77-62.


Runnin’ Takeaways


UNLV vs Hawaii
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Hawaii closed to within single digits, but Rodriguez caught fire, and that was that. It was a Game-high 18 points for Rodriguez, along with seven rebounds and two steals. Gilbert finished with 13 points, four assists, and three steals. Webster and Harkless combined for 23 points and eight rebounds.

Hepa dropped 15 points and six rebounds. Riley had 12 points and eight rebounds. UNLV held Hawaii to just 35.5% from the field and 20.7% from three. All the while, the Rebels shot a questionable 38.3% overall but made up for it from three, where they were 44.4%. In the last three games before this one, the Rebels are 47% from deep.

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 Washington State in the Las Vegas Clash at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, December 10th, at 1:30 pm. The game will be available to watch on FS1.

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-Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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