Joel Ntambwe‘s Career-High 31 Points Fuels UNLV’s Win Over Wyoming
Ntambwe is looking like the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year
UNLV overcomes poor first half to defeat Wyoming.
Joel Ntambwe is officially the go to guy at UNLV. Ntambwe finished with a career-high 31 points in the Rebels 68-56 win over Wyoming on Saturday night.
He has scored double-digits in his last seven games for the Rebels.
The UNLV Runnin Rebels (8-6, 2-0 MW) had a below average shooting first half against Wyoming (4-11, 0-2 MW). The Rebels shot only 33.3 percent from the field in the first half.
The Cowboys zone defense kept UNLV at bay in the first half. In non-conference play it was proven that a zone defense could slow down the Runnin Rebels. Along with the zone defense Wyoming’s Justin James was in control finishing the first half with 12 points and taking half of the team’s attempts in the half. The Cowboys went into the break leading by two 32-30.
During halftime Coach Menzies made adjusts in the second half to attack the zone defense more aggressively and it paid off in a major way. The Rebels scored 10 straight points to start the second half to take a 44-38 lead.
Ntambwe was responsible for 8 of those 10 points. In the first ten minutes of the half UNLV jumped out ahead of Wyoming going on an incredible 24-4 run to take a 54-40 lead. From that point forward the Rebels were in control for the rest of the game-winning 68-56.
Coach Menzies turned up the pressure in the second half as well. UNLV’s defense approach of trapping and picking up their opponents’ full-court forced Wyoming to commit 17 turnovers compared to UNLV’s 10.
Justin James rolled his ankle around the 14-minute mark in the second half and appeared to be in a lot of pain needing to call a timeout to just take a break. James finished with 15 points in the game only scoring 3 points in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Starting off (2-0) in the Mountain West is the Rebels best start to conference play since 2006.
Up Next: The Cowboys next game will be this Tuesday as they travel to San Diego State (8-6, 0-1 MW) looking for their first conference win. It will be key to see How Justin James can play on his injured ankle going into next week. James is the team’s leading scorer on a team that only dresses eight players.
For the Rebels, their next game is on Tuesday against New Mexico (8-6, 2-0 MW) who won against previously unbeaten Nevada now (14-1, 1-1 MW). Going to New Mexico will be the Rebels first road game in conference play. After putting up a 31 point game it will be exciting to see how Ntambwe follows up on his spectacular performance.