FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs UNR – Game 28

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (17-11 / 9-6)  |  UNR Wolfpack (12-14 / 6-9)

Franchise Sports Media


UNLV continues to roll as they win 62-54 on the road at rival UNR for another sweep of a Mountain West Conference foe.


Photo Credut: Andy Barron/RGJ

Suppose UNLV head coach Kevin Kruger’s Runnin’ Rebels can turn his inaugural season into a Mountain West Conference championship run. In that case, they will need to do many things: winning as many of their remaining MWC games as possible is first on the list.

The latter is not an impossibility, as the Rebels have won 5 of their last seven games. If they were able to pull off such a feat; when we look back on the 2021-22 basketball season and reflect, we will see a run that began at the beginning of this month (February 1st) at the Thomas & Mack Center with a 69-58 win over Steve Alford’s Wolfpack. 

That win was a staple in their season as the Rebels invigorated the fans with a resounding victory over their in-state rivals and saw a rowdy student section that stood the entire game and screamed after every three-pointer, slam dunk, and blocked shot at a fevered pitch. The energy was high, and it seemed to carry over to the next two home games.

The Rebels responded with strong wins over Colorado State, Air Force, and now UNR, which puts the Rebels now in control of their destiny and sit firmly in 5th place in the MWC standings. As we inch closer and closer to March, the madness is lurking and prepares to make the Thomas & Mack Center the epicenter of nail-biting games right up until the last second of the final game of the Mountain West Conference tournament.


Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

Alford’s team sought to avenge that February 1st loss to the Rebels in Las Vegas, and the Lawlor Events Center was the perfect stage to do so…unfortunately, Tuesday was the night their night as both teams managed to play some of their worst basketball. The Rebels were not at their best and seemed to have cursed the Basketball Gods as they shot a dismal 38.7% from the field and 33% from the three-point line. However, the Wolfpack was downright blasphemous, shooting a horrendous 16.7% from the three-point line and a notch worse than the Rebels from the field, at 38.3%.

Good, bad, or indifferent, the Rebels are who they are. It just appears as though they have begun to embrace their identity with fervor. Royce Hamm Jr. continued to be an active force on the boards as he pulled down 12 against UNR. Jordan McCabe continued to dish the ball around with very few mistakes to the tune of 7 assists and only two turnovers, which makes for one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the nation. And of course, Bryce Hamilton continues to establish himself as one of the nation’s best collegiate scorers, if not the best, as he poured in a game-high 27 points, to go along with eight rebounds and three assists.

Early on, many Runnin’ Rebels naysayers questioned Kruger’s roster and their ability (or willingness) to pick up the scoring load when Hamilton is having a bad night. The hardcore haters even went as far enough to question whether or not Hamilton had the killer instinct to shoulder the scoring burden for W’s and not just to score averages. Well, Hamilton and his teammates are proving them all wrong. On numerous occasions through this season, Hamilton has been the only sign of scoring, and his teammates have also held down the fort while he has struggled and tonight was no exception.

The recipe to this team’s wins is a steady dose of Hamilton’s hard to defend style of play that makes him almost unguardable as the Wolfpack were subjected to as he sliced and diced his way to easy baskets at close range. Once Alford made the adjustment and threw an extra defender at Hamilton, he began to knock down three-pointers, whether contested or not. He narrowly missed a 30-point game after missing a few shots from within the paint. Mix in McCabe’s penchant for dishing the basketball WITHOUT turning it over and, of course, Hamm’s tenacity on the boards. This team will be just as dangerous in the tournament as they were last night against UNR.


A lackluster first half made for a not-so-exciting basketball game.


Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

However, the second half picked up steam until the Rebels went on a small run of their own.  And in the blink of an eye, the 40-40 game was a 14 point lead. UNR did make a couple of runs and showed some resistance only to allow the Rebels to score at will (in particular Hamilton).

I was pleased to see that what I had been calling for all season was once again implemented….it was David Muoka and Hamm playing side by side. I believed that this would allow Hamm to play a position he’s much better suited for, the 4, and allow him to be in a much more natural space.

Against some of the bigger bigs in the conference, Muoka has played well against them and proven that he’s a natural center that can handle much more prominent players, both defensively and offensively.

Allowing them to play together rather than spelling one another will enable Hamm to (1) stay out of foul trouble and (2) rebound in space, and last, but not least (3) match up against guys that are much smaller than the opposing teams center, usually 7-0 tall. The Rebels outrebounded another opponent with a 41-34 advantage this time. Even Hamilton got to the boards, pulling down 18 rebounds in the past two games.

Between the Muoka/Hamm frontline dominance on the boards and McCabe and Hamilton’s 1-2 punch, sprinkled in with a bit of Mike Nuga energy, this Rebels team could be very hard to beat come tournament time.




The “STREAKER” for this game was none other than Bryce Hamilton. Hamilton knocked down the trey with 17:44, and he gave the Rebels a 5-2 lead.

In tonight’s game, the “VEGAS HUSTLA” was Jordan McCabe! Despite not shooting the ball well, McCabe made a huge three-pointer and an impressive fadeaway midrange shot distance-short.

Swagger” goes to Bryce Hamilton, who had the nastiest step-back move three-pointer of the season! After crossing the defender and making him fall, Hamilton kept his dribble alive and stepped back two times to get behind the three-point line.


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


The Rebels will be back at Thomas & Mack Saturday to take on the Mountain West-leading Boise State Broncos at 7:00 PM. The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                           UNLV vs UNR                                                                                         

-Che Jones – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Che on Twitter @CoachCheJones

Follow The Franchise on Social Media