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Runnin’ Rebels vs Kansas State Wildcats 

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Runnin’ Rebels vs Kansas State

Despite leading for most of the game, UNLV’s efforts were not enough in a close overtime loss to Kansas State 60-56.

 

Junior guard and team captain Amauri Hardy played like a man possessed, putting up a game-high 27 points, his career-high. He shot 50% from beyond the arc, including some buzzer-beaters that were way behind the three-point line. Elijah Mitrou-Long, the Runnin’ Rebels’ other team captain, finished with 10 points and four rebounds. Most of his points came in the clutch moments down the stretch of the second half and overtime periods.

Hardy and Mitrou-Long were the only two to be in double figures for UNLV. The other players struggled to score throughout the game, all thanks to the defensive pressure of the reigning Big 12 Conference Champions. The Wildcats made things tough for UNLV for most of the game, where the Rebels had to force shots late in the shot clock for a handful of their possessions.

Runnin’ Rebels vs Kansas State

“They kinda of took us out of our stuff offensively,” said Mitrou-Long. “We were on our heels more so than our toes.”

Runnin’ Rebels vs Kansas State

Photo by Isaiah Torres

 

“They switched a lot of things on us to hurt our rhythm and balance,” said Runnin’ Rebels head coach TJ Otzelberger.

Runnin Rebels vs Kansas State

There were moments in the game where the Rebels looked in total disarray and scrambled while trying to run their plays on offense. This will be something that they need to work on in practice before their next game in Berkeley. One of the key players who needed to be a presence in this game was junior guard Jonah Antonio. UNLV‘s sharpshooter, who scored 17 points in their win earlier this week, was reasonably absent in this game and only accounted for 3 points, going 1-6 from the field.

 

“I got to do a better job getting [Donnie] Tillman involved,” Otzelberger said. “I got to do a better job finding ways for Jonah [Antonio] to be involved, I got to do a better job to get Bryce [Hamilton] at his best.”

Runnin Rebels vs Kansas State

Photo by Isaiah Torres

 

If Coach Otzelberger stays true on his word, look for some plays to get Tillman, Antonio, and Hamilton the ball more in the upcoming games for UNLV.

 

On the other side, Kansas State was led by returning leading scorer Xavier Sneed. The senior forward put up 19 points and five rebounds. Junior guard Cartier Diarra scored clutch points, knocking down free throws down the stretch of the game. He finished with 12 points, four rebounds, and six assists before fouling out with 2:12 left in overtime. His loss seemed to be a turning point in the game. His presence in the latter part of OT could have helped UNLV.

With 13 seconds left and Kansas State up by four, the Rebels ran a play to get Antonio open for a three-pointer. His attempt was blocked by DaJuan Gordon, and Kansas State got the rebound. They then got fouled and made a few free throws to clinch the game, making the final score 60-56.

Runnin’ Rebels vs Kansas State

Otzelberger and the Runnin’ Rebels will now have to prepare to face two consecutive Pac 12 opponents on the road. They will travel to Berkeley to meet Cal on Tuesday, before going to Westwood to play against UCLA.

Runnin Rebels vs Kansas State

Isaiah Torres

Twitter: Isaiah_Torres24

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Runnin Rebels vs Kansas State

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Runnin Rebels vs Kansas State