UNLV Runnin Rebels vs Utah State Basketball


Runnin’ Rebels (11-13, 6-5) | Utah State Aggies (18-7, 7-5)


UNLV traveled up to Logan to try and sweep the season series against Utah State, but fell short 54-69.


It was the fourth consecutive loss for the Runnin’ Rebels after they won six of their first seven conference games.

Just two weeks ago, they were sitting at a surprising second-place spot in the Mountain West Conference standings, only behind the undefeated San Diego State Aztecs. Now, after four straight losses, they’ve dropped to sixth place in the conference, where they were predicted to finish at the start of the season.

The last time these two teams met was on New Year’s Day, and it was UNLV who pulled off the upset in the Thomas & Mack Center. The dominating 70-53 victory came amid a four-game win streak and helped catapult them to what was their best start to conference play in over a decade.

Things did not go their way this time around as the Aggies made sure to protect their home court and send UNLV on their away with yet another road loss. The Rebels are currently 2-7 on the road.

UNLV was led once again by sophomore guard Bryce Hamilton with 15 points and seven rebounds. He had been on a tear recently, scoring at least 26 points in the last four games, which ended tonight. Hamilton has quietly become the best player on the team and the player they look to when they need a basket.


Junior guard Amauri Hardy was the only other player to score in double figures with 10 points.


Hamilton and Hardy are the two leading scorers for the team on the season, averaging 14.8 and 14.1 points per game, respectively.

One big difference between this game and the last time these two teams met, was Aggies’ sophomore big man Neemias Queta. He did not play in that first game as he was still recovering from a knee injury, but he made sure to suit up and participate in this one. He definitely made his presence felt.

The reigning Mountain West Freshman of the Year posted a monster stat line of 21 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocks. Queta was just too dominant for Mbacke Diong and Cheickna Dembele and was a force inside going 8-11 (72.7%) from the floor. He also drew a handful of fouls and made good use of it on his free throws going 5-7 (71.4%) from the line.

Queta also got some help from senior guard Sam Merrill who scored 20 points. The reigning Mountain West Conference Player of the Year struggled in the first half and looked like he was on his way to having a bad shooting game like the last time he faced UNLV, but he caught fire in the second half to help put the Runnin’ Rebels away.


Utah State’s pair of star players were the only two to score in double figures as well for their team.


The turning point of the game seemed to be when the Aggies switched into a two-three zone in the middle of the second half. UNLV had no answer, and Utah State took advantage by going on a 16-1 run for the next six minutes to transform a tied game into a blowout.

I am sure that Rebel head coach TJ Otzelberger will implement more plays to run against a two-three zone in the team’s next practice to be more prepared for the next time they face this problem.


The Runnin’ Rebels will look to snap their losing when they play against Fresno State on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 5 pm. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU and can be listened to live on ESPN Radio 1100 AM.

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Isaiah Torres

Twitter: Isaiah_Torres24


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