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Video Credit: UNLV Athletics

FSM Recap: UNLV vs Princeton – NIT- First – Round -2023

Franchise Sports Media

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (20-12) | Princeton Tigers (24-5)


It was UNLV vs Princeton on Wednesday in a first-round matchup in the NIT. For the first time in 16 years, UNLV picked up a postseason win with an 84-77 victory over Princeton.


UNLV vs Princeton | Franchise Sports Media
Photo Credit: RJ Irbe/Franchise Sports Media

Rob Whaley Jr.Keylan Boone, and Justin Webster combined for 54 points on 21 of 28 shooting to lead the Runnin’ Rebels to its first postseason win since 2008 in an 84-77 victory Wednesday night at No. 2 seed Princeton in the first round of the NIT.

Whaley Jr. scored a career-high 21 points on a perfect 8 of 8 from the field with nine rebounds to help the Runnin’ Rebels advance to the second round. In comparison, Boone contributed 18 points on 8 of 13 shooting with a game-high 11 boards for his fourth double-double of the season, Webster added 15 points on 5 of 7 from the field, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers, and Shane Nowell added 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists.
UNLV’s last win in the postseason was over Kent State in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, and this marks its first NIT victory since 2005, when it defeated Arizona State at the Thomas & Mack Center. Wednesday also marked the Runnin’ Rebels’ first appearance in the postseason in 11 years.
Princeton, who entered the contest with a 12-0 home record this season and a 37-4 mark over its previous 41 games at Jadwin Gymnasium (since 2021-22), was led by Caden Pierce’s 22 points and six rebounds. Three other Tiger players scored in double figures.
UNLV has made at least one 3-pointer in an NCAA record of 1,224 straight games.


UNLV vs Princeton First Half:


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

Both teams came out on fire, nailing three-pointers. Justin Webster extended the Runnin’ Rebels NCAA record for three-pointers made while getting the scoring started for UNLV. Karl Jones capped off an 8-3 run with an emphatic slam dunk to give UNLV a 14-8 lead with 15:22 left in the first half.

Princeton’s Zach Martini cut the UNLV lead to three, 14-11 after he made his second three-pointer of the first half. Both teams tightened up their defense, and at the midway point of the first half, the score was tied at 18 apiece. 

Rob Whaley Jr. gave UNLV the lead with a layup, 20-18, with 9:54 to go in the first half. The Tigers roared back to take a 26-23 lead after another Martini three-pointer. The Princeton lead got up to 5 points, 30-25, after a Caden Pierce layup.

UNLV kept clawing and keeping the score close. Justin Webster hit a jumper with 45 seconds remaining in the first half to close out the scoring. The score at halftime was 38-36 Princeton. 


UNLV vs Princeton 2nd Half:


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

UNLV started the second half with an easy layup by Keylan Boone to tie the game up at 38. Shane Nowell gave UNLV a 47-42 lead when he made a three-pointer. The lead got as high as 11 points, 57-46, after Jackie Johnson III made a jumper with 12:05 left in the game.

But once again, Princeton came storming back to cut the lead to just four points, 54–53, when Pierce made a layup. Webster again made a three-pointer and helped UNLV to a 60-53 lead midway through the second half.

The UNLV lead got his highest 13 points after a Brooklyn Hicks three-pointer, which made the score of 66–53.  Boone extended to 15 points after he made a jump shot, and the score was 70–55 with 5:28 remaining in the game.

The Runnin’ Rebels could taste victory as they kept the lead and double digits over Princeton. Blake Peters made a three-pointer for Princeton to trim the lead to eight points, and after a Dedan Thomas Jr. turnover, the lead was just six, 73-67, after a Xaivian Lee layup.

UNLV and Princeton would exchange baskets and free throws for the rest of the way, and after Justin Webster made two free throws to give the Runnin’ Rebels a seven-point lead, 81-74, with just 19 seconds remaining. The game was all but over. 

Princeton would continue to file UNLV, who would make their free throws with Brooklyn Hicks, making two free throws to end the scoring and the game with UNLV winning 84–77 and advancing to the NIT’s second round.


UNLV will host Boston College in the NIT’s second round on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center. Thanks for visiting for your Las Vegas Sports news today.


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