UNLV Opens Up Conference Play Against Colorado State With A Win
UNLV was able to overcome poor shooting to top Colorado State.
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Putback dunk/goaltending helped Rebels win.
The UNLV Runnin Rebels (7-6) opened conference play against the Colorado State Rams (5-9). There is just something about conference play that makes college basketball more exciting and this game had it all. A close game that took the fans on both sides on a wild ride which saw the Rebels win 78-76.
Coach Marvin Menzies went with a new starting lineup against the Rams going small with the lineup of Robatham, Hardy, Clyburn, Ntambwe, and Tchamwa Tchatchoua. Going into the game that five-man lineup had outscored opposing teams 92-70 in only 36 minutes of play. This was the Rebels first game of the season since it was announced that Senior leader Shakur Juiston would be out for the remainder of the season.
The Rebels could not make a shot in the first half finishing 10 of 40 from the field including going 2 of 15 from three. On the opposite end of the court, Colorado State could not be stopped on the offensive end in thanks to one player Nico Carvacho.
Carvacho went for 18 points and 12 rebounds in the first half. Carvacho did not see a double team at all in the first half and dominated down low. Carvacho is second in the nation in rebounding with 12.4 per game and it showed. The Rams led by as much as 11 in the first half. The only thing that kept the Rebels in the game was their free throw shooting 14-15 from the line.
In the second half of the game got even better. Carvacho came out hot showing no signs of slowing down from his brilliant first half. The Rams managed to get a 10 point lead 3 minutes into the half. The Rams could not keep the Rebs down for long as they mounted their comeback.
Joel Ntambwe came alive in the second half finishing with 17 points. He hit back-to-back threes and cut the deficit down to five. He followed up those six points by getting to the line on the next possession. Ntambwe was the offensive spark the Rebels needed to get the win
Down the stretch, the Rams one-two punch of J.D. Paige and Nico Carvacho seemed to tire out and that allowed the Rebels to take the game. UNLV went on a 8-0 run for two minutes leading to them tying the game up with 2:03 left in the game.
Following a missed three from Paige, UNLV got the rebound and on their final possession Amari Hardy drove for a layup missed and after several putback attempts, it was Carvacho who accidentally put his hand through the net and was called for goaltending with 1.2 left in the game giving UNLV a 78-76 lead. Carvacho who had the game of his career finishing with 28 points and 20 rebounds gave UNLV the win in the final seconds of the game.
The Rebels Start conference play strong getting a win. The Rebs were great on the boards outrebounding the Rams 53-40. The best offensive rebounding team in the Mountain West finished with 24 offensive rebounds and 20 second-chance points. Six Rebels finished in double figures in points and came away with double digits in the rebounding department. Up next for the Rebels is another home game as they take on Wyoming(4-10, 0-1 MW)
Up next for the Colorado State Rams is Fresno State (10-3, 1-0 MW). That game will take place in Fresno. With one night of conference play in the books it is shaping up to be an exciting season.