FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Utah State – Game 29

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (17-12, 6-11 MWC) | Utah State Aggies (23-7, 12-5)

Franchise Sports Media


The Runnin’ Rebels failed to put up much of a fight down the stretch, as they lost to the Utah State Aggies 91-66, dropping to 6-11 in MWC play.

It was senior night prior to the UNLV vs Utah State game.

UNLV vs Utah State recap
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCost/Franchise Sports Media

It was the final home game of the regular season for the UNLV Men’s basketball team, and they took on the Utah State Aggies. EJ Harkless, Jordan McCabe, Eli Parquet, Cameron Burist, and their team manager Chance Blackdeer were all honored for their Senior Night ceremony before the game.

However, there wasn’t anything to celebrate as the Aggies dominated the game, defeating the Rebels 91-66.

Kevin Kruger said postgame, “We’ve got things that we have to talk about. This is still a group that wants to get better every day. I thought tonight was just more so a step away a step slow from that. Getting back tomorrow trying to find that rhythm and that sync.”

UNLV vs Utah State saw the Runnin’ Rebels get blown out.

A scoreless drought of nearly six minutes placed UNLV in a hole, but back-to-back 3-pointers from Harkless and McCabe provided a spark.

UNLV vs Utah State first half.

UNLV vs Utah State Jordan McCabe
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCost/Franchise Sports Media

Steven Ashworth made quick work of UNLV’s comeback attempt, as the Utah State guard went on a personal 8-0 run to restore the Aggies’ double-digit lead. Ashworth wouldn’t let off the gas pedal all night, as he totaled 27 points (10-for-17 FGs, 5-for-10 3s), seven assists, and three steals. 

McCabe on Ashworth postgame, “His confidence never wavers. It doesn’t ever dip below a certain point. But if he sees a few going through, it can swell really, really fast. He’s an elite player in this league.”

In addition to Ashworth’s performance, Max Shulga had 19 points (6-for-7 FGs, 3-for-4 3s, 4-for-5 FTs), five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and five turnovers. Off the bench, Dan Akin provided a massive boost of energy for Utah State, totaling 13 points (5-for-5 FGs, 3-for-5 FTs), three rebounds, and three steals.

UNLV’s starters only scored 19 points in the first half, with Harkless accounting for 15 points. As a result, the Rebels’ offense looked bleak. Meanwhile, Utah State shot 51.7% as a team.

Harkless finished the game with 20 points (7-for-15 FGs, 4-for-6 3s). Shane Nowell was the only other Rebel in double figures with 10 points (1-for-8 FGs, 0-for-2 3s, 8-for-10 FTs), nine rebounds, and two steals.

Before the start of the players’ postgame press conference, Justin Webster made a statement to UNLV fans, “To everybody out there, as a leader of this team, we apologize for the way we presented ourselves tonight. That’s not basketball. That’s not UNLV basketball.”

UNLV vs Utah State end of the first half.

Webster added, “That was the worst game I’ve ever played in my life.”

UNLV vs Utah State second half. 

UNLV vs Utah State EJ Harkless
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCost/Franchise Sports Media

When asked what they needed to do as a team to get back on track, Webster said, “Compete. It starts tomorrow. Compete. I have faith in our guys. We need to come out and compete in Reno.”

UNLV did show signs of life as they went on an 8-0 run, capped off by Jackie Johnson, who swished two 3-pointers, the last one being a long bomb after he came up with a steal at midcourt, prompting the crowd to be alive for the first time.

However, after Sean Bairstow drilled a 3, and it was a 13-4 run for Utah State, Kruger called a timeout to stop the bleeding, but fans were already streaming for the exits. The Aggies shot 73.1 percent from the floor in the second half, while UNLV only shot 26.9 percent.

Utah State killed UNLV on the glass with a rebounding advantage of 36-29.

UNLV’s defense and offense struggled, shooting 31.6 percent (18-for-57 FGs) overall and 34.8 percent (8-for-23 3s) from deep while they allowed Utah State to shoot an overwhelming 61.8 percent (34-for-55 FGs) from the field and 47.6 percent (10-for-21 3s) from three.

On the need for more ball and player movement, Kruger said, “We dribble more than any team in the country. We did exactly what they wanted us to do, dribbled into crowds, dribbled when we didn’t have anything.”

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

UNLV vs Utah State final score 91-56.

The Runnin’ Rebels will now head over to Reno, Nevada take on UNR Saturday, March 4th, at 2:00 pm PT. The game will be available on the Nevada Sports Network/Mountain West Network.


-Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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