Aztecs Enter Uncharted Territory With 21st Straight Win At UNLV
The Aztecs fought the Runnin’ Rebels tooth-and-nail to register their unprecedented 21st straight win in Las Vegas.
Instead of celebrating, Aztecs reflect on the sudden tragic loss of NBA great Kobe Bryant, daughter Gianna and seven others.
Las Vegas, NV- Oh dear God. Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other souls were killed in a helicopter crash this morning. The news seems too unbelievable to be true, but so sadly it is real.
This news eclipsed anything else taking place today, including the Aztecs breaking San Diego State’s consecutive wins record set by the 2010-2011 squad led by coach Steve Fisher, and Aztecs legend Kwahi Leonard.
It also eclipsed the Aztecs’ 71-67 victory, their 21st straight victory, against UNLV. It also overshadowed another stellar Aztecs performance by Malachi Flynn– and a breakout 18-point off-the-bench contribution by Trey Pulliam.
The Runnin’ Rebels put up a wicked fight in this game, and at times appeared to be waging a major upset. They scored the game’s first two points, before the Aztecs early on took a nine-point lead.
The first shot for the Aztecs was made by Malachi Flynn who sank a shot-clock-beating statement three pointer from the “U” in the UNLV logo at half court, easily a thirty-footer.
So here it is again: if you’re not closely guarding Malachi Flynn out to 30 feet: you are not doing your job.
The Aztecs moved easily ahead, before the Rebels retooled and closed the gap. Going onto the half, the Aztecs led 34-28.
In the second half, each time the Aztecs seemed to be pulling ahead the Rebels cut the lead. Four minutes after the second half began, the Rebels caught the Aztecs at 36-36. The Aztecs pulled ahead. The Rebels tied it up again at 38-38…
Things got pretty crazy when at 13:28 UNLV took a 40-38 lead. The Thomas and Mack Center turned electric, and fans got really, really loud.
Yanni Wetzell answered back with a layup, then the Rebels scored again to lead again before Flynn hit a clutch 3 pointer. Bryce Hamilton answered with a triple of his own.
Back and forth back and forth.
Flynn then made an impossible layup, followed by the ball changing hands with a turnover on each side. Then Wetzell made a layup and got fouled, and made his third point. Trey Pulliam was then fouled and at 7:26 he helped the Aztecs regain the lead making two free throws.
Pulliam then hit a 3 pointer. Jordan Schakel was then called for fouling Dmitri Mitrou Long despite being a foot away from him. Mitrou Long went 2 of 3, making it 47-50. Flynn then made a hard-pressed teardrop- and one- adding for 3 points making it 53-47. Hardy then lost the ball, and fouled KJ Feagin.
Hamilton hit a 3 pointer, followed by Hardy getting a steal and feeding the ball to Marvin Coleman for dunk. Schakel and Flynn then each managed a layup, the second involving Flynn getting fouled. After going 1 for 2 it was 60-52.
Trey Pulliam fouled Mitrou Long who went 1-2. Shackel answered back with a 3 for a 53-63 lead. Coleman answered with a 3 pointer. Wetzell missed a layup and the Rebels got the board and made 2.
Trey Pulliam then made a crazy up and under layup. UNLV then turned it over with a travel. Aztecs get the ball back with 32 seconds. Rebels stole the ball from Flynn, and somehow drew a foul to make it 60-65.
Flynn was fouled on his inbound and made 1-2. Pulliam was then fouled by Coleman. Pulliam went 1-2 to make it 67-60. The Rebels made a quick layup, and then sent Matt Mitchell to the line. The Rebels refused to lose, down to the last second, when UNLV sank a buzzer beater three-pointer, but still could not overcome the dominant Aztecs.
The final score was 71-67
Trey Pulliam produced 18 points in 27 minutes off the bench in a breakout performance. He might have been the game’s difference maker.
Malachi Flynn led the Aztecs with 21 points, three rebounds and three assists in 38 minutes.
Bryce Hamilton had 29 points, 10 rebounds and two assists, registering another double double.
The Runnin’ Rebels fought incredibly hard to prevent the Aztecs from escaping with a win- down to the last second of the game- and nearly stole this game away. The Rebels are unquestionably on the rise.
Nine years ago to the day in Utah BYU beat the Aztecs 71-58, snapping their 20-0 season- opening win streak. Today the Aztecs broke through the barrier and are now in uncharted territory.
Congratulations to Brian Dutcher and the Aztecs for setting a new program record.