The Runnin’ Rebels got fantastic performances from Michael Nuga who put up 21 points and eight assists and Bryce Hamilton who added 18 points.
“It was good to see the guys bounce back,” head coach Kevin Kruger said. “We had a tough stretch and to come back to Vegas, play hard and get the results they did, we are just really proud and happy for them.”
The Rebels got off to a slow start, as the Redhawks jumped out to an 8-0 lead to begin the first half. Riley Grigsby the catalyst, draining two 3-pointers.
The Runnin’ Rebels turned up the defensive intensity and woke up on offense. Nuga hit two 3-pointers of his own while the Rebels scored 10 unanswered points to take a 10-8 lead.
Royce Hamm Jr. got the crowd into the game, throwing down a dunk off an inbound pass from Jordan McCabe. Five minutes later, Hamilton blocked Kyree Brown’s shot which led to an assist from Nuga to Hamm Jr. for another huge dunk.
Missed free throws filled the first half stat sheet. Both teams combined to miss 9-of-14 free throw attempts.
The first half ended with a score of 36-30 to the Runnin’ Rebels.
The second half saw the Runnin’ Rebels outscore the Redhawks 40-26.
The Redhawks initially kept the score close. Cameron Tyson hit two huge 3-pointers to cut the score to 40-36.
Kobe Williamson also came out aggressive in the second half for the Redhawks, scoring eight of his 13 total points and grabbing five of his ten rebounds.
Nuga and Hamilton proved to be too much. Nuga hit three 3-pointers in the second half while Hamilton penetrated the paint at will.
The Runnin’ Rebels face a tough test next against 2021 NCAA Tournament participants Hartford on Saturday with a 12 p.m. tipoff at Mandalay Bay.
UNLV will return to Thomas & Mac on Dec. 15 to take on Omaha at 7 p.m.