UNLV vs Jackson State




After not hitting the first basket of the game, and struggling to pull away for much of the first half, UNLV ultimately managed to beat Jackson State, for their most convincing win of the 2019-20 season so far.

Junior forward Cheikh Mbacke Diong had perhaps his best game as a Runnin’ Rebel, scoring a career-high 19 points. He shot 72.7% (8-11) from the field, including making his first three-point basket of his career. He went 1-1 from distance, adding 13 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. The Runnin’ Rebels leading scorer, junior-point guard Amauri Hardy had six of the last eight points for UNLV and became the leading scorer for the Rebels with 20 points on 4-6 shooting, including going perfect (3-3) from three.

For the Tigers, it was junior guard Tristan Jarrett, who led the way with a game-high 23 points on 5-11 shooting. He also grabbed four rebounds, including one offensive, and three assists. Up next for Jackson State and Head Coach Wayne Brent is a game at another Mountain West Conference foe, Air Force, to be played on December 1st at 1:00 PM PST.

unlv vs jackson stateUNLV Head Coach TJ Otzelberger said after the game that attention to detail is critical, “We got to get stops, we got to value the ball, there were long stretches tonight that we didn’t do either.” Coach Otzelberger pointed out the fact that turnovers were a big part of keeping Jackson State in the game. In the first half alone, UNLV had ten turnovers, and added another 16 in the second half, leading to 26 total turnovers as a group. That is something that Coach Otzelberger says the team works on every day.

Coach Otzelberger said, “It’s something that we work on every day, we demand that we catch every pass with two hands and that we meet every pass. We really work on passing and catching and fundamentals, I think par to fit is that we have to celebrate each other more, share the ball more, and celebrate each other’s successes, there’s a lot of things going into it and we’re going to continue to try different ways to inspire, and motivate, and emphasize, but [26] turnovers is way too many.”

When they limit turnovers and become the second-half team that won 44-30, in the second half alone, then the team has a chance to be successful, as Coach Otzelberger pointed out. “Fortunately in the second half, we kicked it in and had some energy and enthusiasm. We played the way we like to play. Getting stops, out letting the ball, pushing in transition, and attacking early. Instead of having glimpses, if we can become that team over a consistent period of time, we have a chance to be pretty good.”

The closest the Tigers got in the game was when they led 2-0 to start the game, and then again when they were down only 21-19 before the Runnin’ Rebels began running up the score. UNLV managed to pull away on a 15-9 run that brought the score to 36-23 with just under a minute left until halftime. Jackson State scored the final four points of the first half to bring the score to 36-27 at the break.

In the second half, anytime the Tigers tried making a comeback, UNLV would pull away by way of a three-point basket, whether it be by Donnie Tillman, who drained one when UNLV was only leading by three, or by Cheikh Mbacke Diong, who did the same thing. When the Tigers came to within three multiple times in the second half, the Runnin’ Rebels, again, would go on a run. UNLV wound up outscoring the Tigers 30-10 over the final 11 minutes to win 80-57, which is UNLV’s largest margin of victory this season. The previous being 14 against Abilene Christian.


The Runnin’ Rebels (3-5) next game is Saturday, November 30th, at Cincinnati (4-2) in a game that tips-off at 4:00 PM PST. This game is televised on ESPN3.


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