FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Incarnate Word – Game 2

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (2-0 / 0-0)  | Incarnate Word Cardinals (0-2 / 0-0)

Franchise Sports Media


The Runnin’ Rebels cruised to a 88-63 victory over the Incarnate Word Cardinals, once again from a large contribution from their defense, and from their new emerging star, Keshon Gilbert


UNLV vs Incarnate Word
Photo Credit: Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

UNLV’s starters against Incarnate Word were Keshon Gilbert, Eli Parquet, E.J. Harkless, Luis Rodriguez, and David Muoka. Same starting lineup as the season opener, as this combination played about eight minutes together and outscored Southern, 17-15.

UNLV got things started early by forcing a turnover on Incarnate Word’s first possession after forcing 17 turnovers on 37 possessions against Southern in the first half.

Then the Runnin’ Rebels shot out to a 15-4 start. Featuring Gilbert drilling a three to start things off, Parquet converts an and-1, then he gets the steal off the inbound pass and lays it up and in. Muoka blocked a shot, leading to a Jackie Johnson III layup, and Jordan McCabe finished the run by draining a three.

But the Runnin’ Rebels were cooking on both offense and defense in this one, as they forced another turnover. After a missed shot, Muoka soared in out of nowhere and put the ball back in with a jam but was called for a technical foul as the referees deemed he was showboating after the play.

After Gilbert made another three, the score read 24-7 in UNLV’s favor. Johnson III would drive to the paint through traffic and throw a dime to a cutting Parquet to beat the shot clock.

The Runnin’ Rebels forced another turnover, and it was all UNLV so far, as expected, as Muoka dropped in a left hook, and UNLV capped off on a 7-0 run. Gilbert led the way with eight points and two steals. Incarnate Word was 3-of-16 from the field, and UNLV was in a comfortable lead 28-7 with 8:25 left in the first half.

But Incarnate Word, since then, had outscored UNLV 13-7 to shorten the lead to 35-20 while also hitting 3-6 threes. UNLV had multiple stretches in this game where they were faltering just a bit.

After another Incarnate Word turnover, Johnson III scored back-to-back with a nice lay-in and a three. But there were turnovers by both teams on their possessions, and this game was a bit sloppy all-around.

To finish the half, Rodriguez gets the steal and fights off the defender for the lay-in. Then, a late closeout by Harkless leads to another Incarnate Word three, but Gilbert answers with a tough layup. Not a good way to end the half, as UNLV turned the ball over and gave up a buzzer-beating two-pointer.


UNLV were in front for the entirety of this one from start to finish, as they didn’t trail for the majority of the game, they handled Incarnate Word with ease


UNLV vs Incarnate Word
Photo Credit: Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

At halftime, the score read UNLV 43, Incarnate Word 29. Unfortunately, it’s not as close as the score might indicate. The Runnin’ Rebels remained in firm control offensively and could score whenever they wanted. 

Gilbert so far had a game-high 12 points, Rodriguez had four points, five rebounds, and four steals, Johnson III had nine points in 11 minutes, and the Runnin’ Rebels were a solid 4-of-7 from three. They’re up 14 at the break, but they were up by as many as 21. The first 12 minutes were excellent, but the final eight of the half weren’t so good. Incarnate Word had way too many offensive rebounds with 11, and head coach Kevin Kruger emphasized that in the 2nd to crash the defensive glass. The Runnin’ Rebels also had 11 turnovers.

UNLV came out of halftime confidently, going on a 13-0 run. As Gilbert started the second half with a three, Rodriguez was feisty all night and got the rebound off a missed free throw and put it back up and in, and another steal for UNLV led to a Parquet score.

Incarnate Word countered by going on their own 10-4 run. The score, however, remained out of reach at 60-41. It stayed out of reach as Rodriguez had his stretch of domination as he hit a tough close shot, got the steal, and lay in. 

Incarnate Word would respond by making a three, but Keyshawn Hall makes the contested layup to answer. Johnson III continues the offensive explosion by draining the three after pump-faking the defender and stepping to the side to get an open look.

The frustration started to show as Incarnate Word’s Niki Krause committed a frustrating foul after a turnover. Gilbert continued his offensive brilliance as he was too crafty and scored while evading the charge attempt. Frustration for Incarnate Word continues as Harkless drops the defender on the break, but he commits a foul as he’s falling to avoid maximum embarrassment.

To finish out this one, Kruger gave some minutes to the Runnin’ Rebels reserves. First, Shane Nowell came in for the first time this season and scored the layup for his first points, then Nowell cleaned up a rebel miss with a layup. Next, Karl Jones fought inside to get a score and a big block, but the ball went right into the hands of Trey Miller, and he hit a three. There wasn’t any doubt in this one, and as time finally ran out, UNLV walked away with a win of 88-63.


Runnin’ Takeaways


UNLV vs Incarnate Word
Photo Credit: Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Gilbert leads UNLV in scoring for the second straight game, as the sophomore goes for 23 points on 6-of-10 field goals and adds four steals. Johnson III had 13 points on 5-9 overall. Rodriguez had ten points on 5-6 overall, six rebounds, five assists, and six steals. The three combined for 64% shooting overall.

The Runnin’ Rebels’ defense forced 25 turnovers. That’s 53 total for the season. Of those turnovers, UNLV had 29 points off them and 23 fast break points.

Incarnate Word’s Charlier Yoder led the team with 15 points. Krause had 12 points on 5-6 overall, eight rebounds, and six assists. Miller and Josh Morgan combined for 20 points. But all four had four turnovers or more.

UNLV shot 7-15 (46.7%) from three and held Incarnate Word to 32.3% (10-31) from three. It’s also worth noting Incarnate Word only shot three free throws to UNLV’s 29.

Kruger, after the game, spoke about the stellar bench play in this one as they totaled 33 points from the bench, “Our depth is something that we can rely on. And as the season goes on, and as they continue to get reps with each other, I just think that group is going to continue to play better for each other. Anytime you can bring a wave of offensive threat like that off the bench, I think it’s something to be pretty excited about.”

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


The Runnin’ Rebels will now host No. 24 Dayton Tuesday, November 15th at 8:00 pm at the Thomas & Mack Center. The game will be available to watch on CBS Sports Network.

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-Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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