UNLV Takes Care Of Rival Nevada, 69-58
UNLV starts hot and never trails in what would be an effortless win against in-state rivals Nevada, winning 69-58.
Wolf Pack can’t overcome Rebels shooting
UNLV started hot and failed to let up early, climbing to a quick 21-8 lead with nine minutes left in the first half following a Jordan McCabe three-pointer. The 6’0 West Virginia transfer would finish the game with 16 points on 5-11 shooting from the field, including four threes. Kenan Blackshear was able to score Nevada’s third field goal with just eight minutes left in the first half, cutting the Rebel’s lead to nine. A huge ally oop dunk from Blackshear to Desmond Cambridge Jr. brought the game to within six points with just three minutes left in the first half. Nevada’s energy was quick-lived, as the Rebels took a commanding 42-26 lead going into halftime.
RENO BEAT ✅ pic.twitter.com/kpFTARk2ng
— UNLV Men's Basketball (@TheRunninRebels) February 2, 2022
UNLV shot a commanding 39% from both the field and from beyond the arc in the first half. The Rebels also had Bryce Hamilton, Jordan McCabe, and Donovan Williams all in double digits in just the first half. The Wolf Pack on the other hand struggled to get anything going offensively in the first half. Nevada shot 25% from both the field and from beyond the arc, after shooting an abysmal 1-11 to start the contest. The Wolf Pack’s 25% from the field in the first half is the lowest first-half shooting percentage so far this season. Cambridge Jr. led the Wolf Pack with eight points on 2-11 shooting in the first half.
Nevada was able to turn things around immediately coming out of the locker room. The Wolf Pack was able to go on a 20-6 run coming out of the break, to cut the Rebel to just five with 11 minutes left in the game. A huge three by McCabe would put an end to that run, stretch the lead back out to eight with 10:30 left in the contest. Nevada seemed to play better defense in the second half, displaying a zone defense that seemed to slow the Rebels down. UNLV would be slowed for long as four players scored in double digits and three scored more than 15.
Ultimately, it was Bryce Hamilton and Donovan Williams who would put things away from UNLV. Williams, in his first game back from a knee injury, scored 17 points on 6-11 shooting. Hamilton had quite the game as well, finishing with his own 17 points.
— Nevada Basketball (@NevadaHoops) February 2, 2022
Nevada sincerely missed their leading scorer Grant Sherfield. Not only is Sherfield the Wolf Pack’s leading scorer, but Nevada’s offense truly flows through the 6’2 guard. In response to Sherfield being out, Nevada struggled to score throughout the game. After starting 1-11 from the field, Nevada would only make X three-pointers and shot XX% from the field. The Wolf Pack also sincerely missed 7-footer Warren Washington who is Nevada’s third-leading scorer with 11 points a game. One bright spot for the Wolf Pack was the number of times they were able to get to the free-throw line, finishing 17-18 from the charity stripe.
UNLV was led by their usual suspects, with Hamilton, McCabe, and Williams all scoring about 15 points. Royce Hamm Jr. also had an impressive outing scoring nine points while grabbing eight rebounds, while dominating Will Baker down low.
The combo play between Williams and Hamilton looked unstoppable against Nevada. The two do-it-all guys need to continue to lean on one another to propel UNLV to more victories. If the Rebels can stay healthy and continue to click, this could be yet another Mountain West team, competing for a top spot.
The Most Valuable Player in this contest was easily Donovan Williams. This was Williams’s first game back from a knee injury and looked as if he didn’t skip a beat. The 6’6 forward shot efficiently and dominated the game offensively, inside-out. Williams was able to get to the hoop when needed, all while knocking down contested threes with hands in his face.
Up next for Nevada (9-10, 3-5), the Wolf Pack continue the road stretch and head to Fresno State to face the Bulldogs (15-6, 5-3). For UNLV (13-9, 5-4), the Rebels travel to Utah State to face a red hot Aggies team (13-9, 4-5).