FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Southern – Game 1

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (0-1) | Southern Jaguars (1-1)

Franchise Sports Media


After a ton of offseason hype, the Runnin’ Rebels failed to open the season up with a bang, falling to Southern 85-71 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

It was opening night at the UNLV vs Southern game.

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

UNLV opened their season against Southern University on Wednesday night. The Rebels came in as heavy favorites and riding the wave of a ton of positivity entering the season. With the success of the UNLV football team and women’s team, fans had high hopes entering the season.

UNLV head coach Kevin Kruger added talent to the Runnin’ Rebels roster this offseason, highlighted by Las Vegas Liberty High School’s Dedan Thomas Jr. whose father played for UNLV in the 90’s. The 5-star prospect in the 2024 class, Dedan Thomas Jr. reclassified to 2023 and enrolled at UNLV making this the best recruiting class Kruger has had since being named the head coach.

With the high expectations and all the positivity UNLV Athletics has had over the course of the football season, it was easy to think that this would be a cakewalk for the Runnin’ Rebels, who entered the game as 21-point favorites. But the Jaguars had different intentions and came out firing early against UNLV.

The Runnin’ Rebels didn’t look like a team that had a rhythm nor did they play with urgency and Southern took advantage of it. At one point, Southern went on a 16-0 run and seized control of the game.

The crowd was not happy, nor did they stay as many decided to leave before the game was over. The 85-71 opening night loss was not what anyone had in mind when the schedule was announced.

UNLV vs Southern saw the Runnin’ Rebels get blown out.

What happened at Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday was shocking, and now UNLV has to move on.

UNLV vs Southern was a bad performance by UNLV.

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

UNLV vs Southern was a bad performance by UNLV.

Southern took control of the game with an impressive 16-0 run spanning five minutes in the first half, helping them to a commanding 25-11 lead with 7:56 remaining. By halftime, the Jaguars had extended their lead to 19 points, leading 40-21.

Southern built on their lead in the early moments of the second half, reaching a formidable 26-point advantage that proved insurmountable for the opposing team.

Joseph and Brandon Davis each made three 3-pointers for the Jaguars, who finished the game shooting 61.1% from 3-point range (11 of 18) and 56.7% overall on field goals (34 of 60).

After shooting just 3 of 16 on 3-pointers in the first half (18.8%) and 7 of 26 overall (26.9%) over the first 20 minutes, UNLV performed better in the second half by making 6 of 13 3-pointers (46.2%) and 16 of 28 from the field (57.1%). However, Southern led by as many as 26 early in the second half, which proved too much to overcome. UNLV cut it to 13 with just under two minutes to play.

When the final whistle blew at Thomas & Mack, the Jaguars had beaten the Runnin’ Rebels 85-71.

That’s not the result we wanted obviously, we were just a little timid. We came out on our heels. They came out and played hard for 40 minutes. We still have a positive outlook for this group. We will go watch the film and get into practice tomorrow, and we’ll be a different team on Saturday that’s for sure,” said UNLV head coach Kevin Kruger.

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

UNLV vs Southern final score 85-71, Southern.

The Runnin’ Rebels will play Stetson on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center.


– Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on all social media: @JoeArrigoFSM

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