UNLV vs San Jose State

UNLV vs San Jose State


Runnin’ Rebels (9-9, 4-1) | San Jose State Spartans (6-12, 2-4)


After splitting their recent two-game road trip, UNLV looks to get over .500 against San Jose State.


The Runnin’ Rebels played two games on the road last week. They lost to Boise State 66-73 on Wednesday, then won in overtime against Wyoming 78-69 on Saturday. They now have two straight home games this week against San Jose State tonight and then New Mexico on Saturday. The first order of business? Get past the Spartans.

San Jose State is coached by Jean Prioleau, who is currently in his third season at the helm. Their team finished last season with an awful record of 4-27 (1-17), so they are already an improved team from last year. UNLV swept their season series against the Spartans with commanding wins. They won 94-56 in Las Vegas and 71-64 in San Jose.

Heading into this game, San Jose State has split their last four games, including a close 70-68 win over UNR and losing to Colorado State 70-81. Sophomore guard Seneca Knight leads the Spartans in scoring this season with 13.7 points per game. The Lafayette, Louisiana native scored his season-high in the close win over UNR, with 28 points while also grabbing nine rebounds. Sophomore forward Christian Anigwe is currently the team’s leading rebounder with 6.2 rebounds per game.

Junior guard and team co-captain Amauri Hardy is currently leading the Runnin’ Rebels with 14.2 points per game. He is one of four players on the team averaging in double-figure scoring. Senior guard and the other team co-captain Elijah Mitrou-Long is averaging 12.9, junior forward Donnie Tillman is averaging 11.6, and sophomore guard Bryce Hamilton is averaging 11.5 points per game. Junior forward, Mbacke Diong is the team’s leading rebounder with 8.9 rebounds per game, which is fifth in the Mountain West. 

Although San Jose State does not seem like the toughest team, the Runnin’ Rebels should know not to overlook them ahead of this game. Despite the sub .500 record, the Spartans did give the currently seventh-ranked undefeated San Diego State a run for their money. Earlier in the season, on Dec. 8, SJSU barely lost on the road to SDSU 57-59, their closest game of the season so far.

UNLV looks like they will be without Mitrou-Long again for his tenth straight game. He has not played since the game against Cincinnati on Nov. 30 as he’s been sitting out due to a broken left thumb. Hamilton has been on a scoring tear since the beginning of conference play, leading the team in scoring in most games in the past month. He even was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week last week for his efforts in their wins over Utah State and Air Force. 

At the beginning of the season, head coach TJ Otzelberger said that this could be a huge season for Hamilton to step up and have a more prominent role. He started the season a bit slow, but it is now beginning to look like Otzelberger’s words might be coming to fruition. Lately, he’s been that sixth man off the bench that creates a spark as the team’s lockdown defender and streaky scorer, but when will the time come for him to enter the starting lineup.

I look forward to seeing him continue to put up close to 20 points per game in conference play and eventually become the team’s leading scorer. The Runnin’ Rebels will need Hamilton to continue producing at high levels for them to win this game and the rest from here on out.


UNLV will play San Jose State on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 8 pm. The game will be televised AT&T SportsNet and can be heard live on ESPN Radio 1100 AM.


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Isaiah Torres

Twitter: Isaiah_Torres24


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