Runnin’ Rebels unable to complete comeback against Fresno State

  • January 15, 2022, 09:55 AM
  • Jordan Anders-McClain
Runnin’ Rebels unable to complete comeback against Fresno State Jordan Anders-McClain Guard Bryce Hamilton moving the ball on offense during the Runnin' Rebels conference game against the Fresno State Bulldogs, Hamilton scored 24 points in UNLV's 68-73 loss.
Coming off their first conference win days prior, the Runnin’ Rebels looked to add another Friday night but were unable to complete the comeback as the Fresno State Bulldogs took the win, 73-68.

"I thought it was a really good fight by our guys,” head coach Kevin Kruger said. “We just turned it on a little late. We had a little bit of a stall, but in the last seven minutes there was a good fight to get back in it and make it a one-possession game." 

The Bulldogs got off to a quick 8-1 start before senior guard Bryce Hamilton was able to cut their lead by making the first three-point jumper of the game. 

Moments later, Royce Hamm Jr would make a three to close the gap, he shot 3-of-3 from behind the arc during the game compared to everyone else who shot 7-of-27. 

As both teams rallied through the first half, with five lead changes in total, the Bulldogs would eventually go on an 8-0 to end the first half with them up 33-23. 

On 32 possessions, UNLV scored 23 points through the first half, which made for a season-low of .72 points per possession. The offense wasn’t able to hold it down as the team shot 33% from the field and 20% from three in the first half. 

In the second half, shooting improved, however, fouls began to get the best of the team. With UNLV’s bigs, Hamm Jr and Victor Iwuakor, in foul trouble, Fresno State was able to stretch their lead to 14. 

Fresno State kept on the gas as they led the entire second half by double digits up until Hamilton made back-to-back three-point jumpers to cut the Bulldogs lead to 65-60.

With under three minutes left, fans began to get on their feet and cheer as UNLV began to close in on Fresno’s lead. UNLV was able to get within three points twice in the final minute to make it a one-possession game.

A drawn foul by Jordan McCabe to stop the clock at 14 seconds in hopes of getting the ball back on offense to tie if the Bulldogs missed the free throws. But Fresno State’s Isaiah Hill walked up to the line and drained the two free throws, sealing the Bulldogs victory 73-68. 

Despite the loss, UNLV’s shooting in the second half improved to 15-of-30 (50%) from the field and 7-of-15 (46.7%) from behind the arc. Hamilton finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds followed by Donovan Williams who scored 15 points, and Hamm Jr who scored 14.  

The Runnin’ Rebels will hit the road for back-to-back games, first at San Jose State on Monday, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. Then on Thursday they will travel to Colorado Springs to play Air Force at 6 p.m. 

The Rebels will return home to host San Jose State on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 12 p.m. for Coaches vs Cancer. The student tailgate starts at 10:30 a.m. which includes games, giveaways, and free food. Tickets can be purchased at UNLVtickets.com.

Jordan Anders-McClain

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