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FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Florida State – Game 4

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (2-2)  | Florida State Seminoles (3-1)

Franchise Sports Media

 

The Runnin’ Rebels’ scrappy performance fell short against the Florida State Seminoles 83-75 as UNLV dropped to 2-2.

It was UNLV vs Florida State on Monday afternoon

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Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

After a questionable start that had every UNLV alum, booster, former players, and general fan scratching their heads, the Runnin Rebels seemed to rally the troops and get back on the saddle.

However, when doing so at the hands of the Stetson and Pepperdine, the casual sports fan may rightfully reserve judgment until the competition gets a little stiffer.

Well, the Florida State Seminoles seemed to fit the bill.

FSU is an imposing team from a highly respectable conference in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) that boasts a mixture of size, length, quickness, and extremely defensive-minded players. The ‘Noles were able to give Rebels‘ head coach Kevin Kruger the opponent he so desperately dreams of to make his team better. While simultaneously prompting him to jump out of bed due to their nightmarish full-court pressure defense.

As for Kruger, said defense caused the Rebels to turn the ball over five times in the first 10 minutes of the game. Their pressure not only turned the Rebels over often, but when they weren’t turning UNLV over, they were denying Dedan Thomas Jr. the ball and really disrupting the Rebels‘ rhythm.

Perhaps it was his youth or size deferential, but it took Thomas a few possessions to adjust to the constant face-guarding by the Flordia State guards that prevented him from bringing the ball down the court on their first few possessions of the game.

The Seminole’s suffocating defensive style frustrated the Rebels and culminated in a technical foul against UNLV and an early 11-point. After a back-and-forth battle between the two teams, UNLV and Florida State lingered around 8 points for the latter part of the 1st half. Kalib Boone purchased prime real estate above the rim and proceeded to move in and settle down against the Seminole frontcourt. Once the Rebels were able to adjust the pressure defense of the ‘Noles, Thomas was able to find Boone, and he had dunk after dunk after dunk.

Unfortunately for the Rebels, as their offensive opportunities increased, so did Florida State, as they began to run against the Rebels and get easy baskets in transition.

The Rebels appeared to gain some momentum and better footing after a Justin Webster layup in transition cut the Seminole lead to 6 at 39-33 and a quick Flordia State timeout. The Rebels came out of the 30-second timeout in a soft press that disrupted Florida State, and after a Jalen Hill steal that sent him to the line, the Rebels were able to cut the lead to 4, 39-34, after he drained two pivotal free-throws.

UNLV vs Florida State was a semi-final matchup in the Sunshine Slam.

The Rebels never led at any point in the game, as the Seminoles maintained a sub-double-digit lead all night.

UNLV vs Florida State saw the Seminoles’ pressure defense frustrate the Runnin’ Rebels.

UNLV vs Pepperdine | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels went into the locker room down by eight again after defending the Seminoles the length of the court only to give up a 40-foot desperation three-point heave by  Jamar Watkins.

The harassing defense of the Seminoles did tend to slow down as the Rebels tempered their energy and, at times, played with a sense of urgency. Heady play by Thomas got the Runnin’ Rebels back within 5 points at 57-52, but Darin Green Jr. nailed a long two-pointer to build his team’s lead back to 7 points, and once again, the back-and-forth appeared to be back on.

After a brief stint of trading baskets, Florida State began to pull away from the Rebels and imposed their will on UNLV defensively.

Florida State seemed to score easy baskets at will and with little resistance. Whereas UNLV seemed to fight against pressure, length, and poor shot selection, every basket seemed to be under duress for the Rebels.

Once again, the freshman point guard displayed potential that may ultimately lead him to become one of the best collegiate point guards in the nation. However, with the constant miscommunication on defense between his teammates and the inability to ever run their offense thoroughly, the Rebels figuratively chased the Seminoles from start to finish. Florida State led the game for 39:05.

The Rebels only shot 2-10 from the three-point line with three-point baskets made by Thomas and Webster, who finished with 13 points. Kalib Boone led the Rebels off the bench with 15 points. Thomas, along with Jalen Hill, added 13 points, with Thomas leading all Rebels with six assists and six rebounds. Luis Rodriguez added 12 points for Kruger’s 2-2 Rebels.

UNLV vs Florida State saw the Runnin’ Rebels play scrappy ball only to fall to the Seminoles.

THE FOLLOWING ARE TIDBITS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT SHOW UP IN THE BOXSCORE!

Here are some things that UNLV did that won’t show up in the box score.

This game’s “STREAKER” was none other than Justin Webster…OF COURSE! J-Webb hit a three-pointer with 7:16 left in the 1st half, cutting the Seminole lead to 25-19.  Webster’s three-pointer continued the Rebels‘ NCAA record streak of 1,197 games with a made three-pointer.

In Monday night’s game, the “VEGAS HUSTLA” was undoubtedly Dedan Thomas Jr. The freshman guard played with confidence and swagger and quite honestly made plays as often and as well as any player on the floor. His maturity on the court was evident and beyond his years.

The final score of the UNLV vs Florida State was 83-75, Seminoles over the Runnin’ Rebels. 

The Runnin’ Rebels will now take on the Richmond Spiders on Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. in the consolation round of the Sunshine Slam at the Ocean Center. The game can be seen on FloSports.

 

-Che Jones – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Che on Twitter and IG @CoachCheJones

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