The UNLV Runnin Rebels lost to Fresno State Bulldogs 64-67 Wednesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center, in the first game of a two-game Mountain West series, after a miscue with just over 3 seconds left, failed to produce a last-second tying shot.
Both teams kept the tension and pressure high throughout both halves of the game. There were a total of 13 lead changes and seven ties throughout.
Fresno State entered halftime with a two-point edge (30-32), encouraging UNLV to step it up in the second half. With ten minutes left overall, UNLV had their final lead of the night, 50-47.
The Bulldogs also outshot UNLV at the free-throw line (17-9).
"We knew coming into this game that their defensive pressure, getting to the foul line, and second-chance points is their identity,” Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger said. “Unfortunately, that came back to haunt us late. I thought their press wore us down and we had a lot of unnecessary fouls, which put them at the foul line late.”
Bryce Hamilton and Mbacke Diong were the only UNLV players to score in double figures, with 27 and 16 points respectively. Diong and Fresno State's Anthony Holland each had a game-high eight rebounds.
The Runnin’ Rebels only managed to shoot 20 percent from the 3-point line for the game, while the Bulldogs connected with 10 3-pointers for 37%. UNLV held the Bulldogs to 36.4% shooting from the floor.
"We have to be more sound and fundamental in finishing plays and doing the things that we work on every day,” Coach Otzelberger said. “That wasn't the case here tonight and that's why we came out with the loss.”
UNLV will close out its series with Fresno State on Friday, February 26 at 8 p.m. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network and may be heard on ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas.