Image courtesy of Bleacher Report
Bryce Hamilton was out for the game and Marvin Coleman is out for the season, and yet coach T.J. Otzleberger’s UNLV Runnin Rebels are on a roll. After back to back wins over the New Mexico Lobos, the Rebs took on the Benedictine Mesa Redhawks at their home arena the Thomas & Mack Center.
An exhibition game for the NAIA Redhawks and an overwhelming mismatch in UNLV’s favor, Rebel fans don’t have the luxury of criticizing wins as their team desperately tries to salvage their season.
That being said, the Rebels showed no mercy.
Benedictine, outmatched in every way, made the decision early in the game to live and die beyond the arc and their one-dimensional offense allowed the Rebels to score at-will. Cheikh Mbacke Diong and David Jenkins would both put up 13 a piece in the first half on 11 of 20 combined.
Nicquel “Nic” Blake continues to play well and find his way in this Rebel offense as he would contribute 9 fist-half points himself to help the Rebs take a 50-25 halftime lead.
The second half wasn’t kind to the Redhawks. The Rebels’ lead would balloon to 40 as they went on a 15-0 run coming out of halftime.
Unfortunately still for the Redhawks, that 15-0 run would be part of a larger 37-2 run for the Rebels as their lead would eventually zepplin to 60.
With several Rebels in double digits, Benedictine Mesa simply could not compete as they wouldn’t break 30 points on the eveining until there were 6 minutes left in the game. The Rebs would go on to trounce the outmatched Redhawks 99-44 on 40% from deep.
While blowouts are never particularly fun to watch, they can certainly serve as confidence building exercises for the winning team. The Rebels came into tonight’s game at 4-6 and will need to play some of their best basketball of the season as they return to Mountain West play with back to back games against a scorching hot 12-3 Utah State team. They’ll split the series with both teams playing a game a piece at home.
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