UNLV Runnin’ Rebels maintain momentum with win over San Jose State, 68-50

This win secured UNLV's spot at fifth place in the Mountain West Conference, earning them a bye in the conference tournament.

UNLV continued their momentum in Mountain West play, defeating San Jose State 68-50 on Saturday night. With the win, Runnin’ Rebels have now won nine out of their last ten games and are on a four-game win streak.

The team received an influx of support against UNR and Colorado State with over 8,500 fans in attendance.  Despite 2,000 less fans in attendance and a slow first half, UNLV managed to win decisively to lock up a first round bye in the Mountain West tournament.

The score had stalled at 4-2 for the first five minutes of the game and then stayed relatively the same until the halfway point of the first half.  Kalib Boone was responsible for most of the initial scoring.  However, Jackie Johnshon III was quick to make an impact with a 3-point field goal moments after he went into the game.

Turnovers and fouls allowed San Jose State to narrow the lead UNLV had on them.  The score was within 5 points with seven minutes left in the first half.  However, this was the closest San Jose state came to a lead, despite the 19 UNLV turnovers.

In the second half, fans saw a more consistent Runnin’ Rebels team.  They led by as many as 22 points in the second half and were able to win decisively despite not playing up to their standard at points.

Freshman Dedan Thomas Jr. all scorers with 18 points in the win.  Luis Rodriguez trailed behind him with 15 with the rest of the scoring being distributed throughout the lineup.

Head coach Kevin Kruger praised his team for the job they did defensively.  However, he acknowledged that their next game against San Diego State will be a tough one and that many of the same mistakes can not be made without San Diego taking advantage of them.  

Kruger said, “This is a league that’s been well respected all year.  We’ve cemented our place in those five spots, but I think this group is just looking at winning the next game.”  

This win secured the team’s spot as fifth place in the Mountain West Conference to earn a bye-in at the conference tournament. Luis Rodriguez told the media after the game, “We all have the same goal: play in March.  We know there’s more work to be done, but when you have a bunch of guys that are bought in and trying to achieve a common goal, it’s more motivation in practice and moving forward.”

“We talk about it night and day.  Before games, before practice, after practice.  We need to keep the ball rolling and we’ll  have a chance to take care of business.”

Similarly, Keylan Boone said, “I think we’re playing good basketball, but we could play even better basketball as a team.  Our team is in a good spot…It’s gonna take physicality, our team being together for 40 minutes, and everyone being together 100 percent.”

The Runnin’ Rebels take on San Diego State at home on Tuesday and end regular season play on the road at UNR next Saturday.