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FSM Essential Preview: UNLV vs Benedictine – Game 11

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UNLV (4-6) vs. Benedictine Ravens (12-4)

 

UNLV will look to continue winning streak against the Benedict Ravens.

 

UNLV vs New Mexico
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

The Runnin’ Rebels will play their second NAIA school in as many weeks as the Benedict Ravens travel to the Thomas and Mack. UNLV is the undoubtedly heavy favorite in this matchup and will hope to dominate this game before moving on to play Utah State. UNLV is in the midst of a 3 game win streak, all those wins being at home. They have 2 more home games following this matchup with the Ravens.

The Runnin’ Rebels were 1-4 before going more than a month without playing a game. Since that break, head coach TJ Otzelbergers squad has gone 3-2 with both of the losses coming at a combined 2 points. Both being tight games late at Colorado State. Benedictine College comes in with a record of 12-4 and off a win against Mid-America Nazarene University.

 

UNLV will need the entire team to step up the rest of the season.

 

UNLVmbb
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

The Runnin’ Rebels are coming off a 53-46 win over New Mexico sweeping them in the two games played in Las Vegas. In both wins, they were without starting point guard Marvin Coleman. Coleman has a stress fracture in his right leg that will force him to miss the rest of the season.

Disappointed for Coleman, his teammates, and the fans, Head Coach TJ Otzelberger had this to say about the injury,

“This is a tough situation for Marvin and I disappointing for our program. He has been an inspiration and extremely coachable. He helped turn our season around last year and as one of our two team captains and a great leader, we were looking to him to help provide that again for our team.”

It is very unfortunate news for the Junior guard who walked on in 2018. He was averaging 6 points 4 assists and 2 rebounds so far this season.

As upsetting as the news is about Coleman, it just means there is a spot for another player to step up and play their game at an even higher level. In the past few games, Nicquel Blake has done just that. The Freshman guard has been a bright spot off the bench for the Runnin’ Rebels and continues to get better. In the two games against New Mexico he finished with a total of 28 points contributed off the bench. Since he has improved his play over the course of the season, he has been seen to get more and more minutes as the season continues along. Earlier in the campaign, in games against Alabama and Davidson, he played less than 10 minutes. Now, he is getting over 20 minutes of game time and it is safe to say he is earning them.

 

The Runnin’ Rebels will use this game to get ready for the tough games with Utah State.

 

UNLV will need to focus on this game as anything can happen in the game of basketball. However, there is no question that players, coaches, and fans are looking forward to the two games against Utah State next week. The Runnin’ Rebels can use this game against the Benedict Ravens as a game to fix their little mistakes and rest some of their main guys. Expect players like Bryce Hamilton and David Jenkins to get limited minutes, especially in the second half of the game is ugly, similar to the win against St. Katherine last week.

 

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels host the NAIA school, Benedictine Ravens tonight at 5:00.

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-Jarret Thompson – Franchise Sports Media

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