UNLV vs Fresno State
Photo Credit: FanDuel

FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Fresno State – Game 23

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UNLV (11-12) vs. Fresno State (10-10)

 

UNLV wins a nail biter to take game two against Fresno State. 

 

After a disappointing loss to Fresno State on Wednesday, UNLV bounced back with a one-point victory on Friday night. The Bulldogs had an 8 point half-time lead over the Runnin’ Rebels and were looking like they would win their second straight against UNLV and leave Las Vegas with two wins.

UNLV prevented that from happening with a great defensive second-half performance holding the Bulldogs to only 27 points. The Runnin’ Rebels shot 47% from the field behind a fantastic performance from Caleb Grill.

 

Caleb Grill pops off as UNLV wins their 11th game of the season. 

 

UNLV vs Fresno State
Photo Credit: UNLV Basketball

Fresno State got off to a quick start as around halfway through the first half, and they led by 12. Orlando Robinson paved the way early on. The Las Vegas native had nine points early on for the Bulldogs as they took an 8 point halftime lead into the break, 40-32.

UNLV opened up the second half of the game with a 12-5 run to get within one point. The Runnin’ Rebels carried that momentum as they eventually took the lead with ten minutes to go. The game was locked up at 60 with 6:29 left to go in the game. David Jenkins turned on another gear towards the final minutes scoring the Runnin’ Rebels final 4 points as they held on to the one-point win.

The UNLV defense stepped up in the final minutes as Caleb Grill had a steal and Mbacke Diong had a block, both within the final two minutes of the game. Mbacke Diong had 3 blocks on Friday night.

Caleb Grill had an amazing performance on Friday night, scoring 18 points on 6-12 shooting and shot 4-7 from beyond the arc. David Jenkins was moved back into the starting lineup in last night’s game, and so was Devin Tillis. Moses Wood and Nicquel Blake were both moved to the bench. Bryce Hamilton had 13 points as well as a team-leading 7 rebounds. The UNLV bench doubled the number of points scored than the Fresno State bench.

Junior Ballard led the way with 17 points for the Bulldogs as he was very efficient all game long, shooting 5-8 from the field. Orlando Robinson had 15 points, as well as Fresno State had four players in double-digits scoring.

 

The Runnin’ Rebels split the two game series with Fresno State, add two games to their schedule.

 

UNLV vs Fresno State
Photo Credit: UNLV Basketball

UNLV followed their three-point loss to Fresno State on Wednesday with a one-point victory over the Bulldogs on Friday. UNLV will now shift their focus to arguably the toughest opponent they will have played all season in San Diego State. The Aztecs are the 22nd ranked team in the nation and will travel to Las Vegas to meet with UNLV on Wednesday. These two teams were scheduled to play each other earlier in the season, but COVID-19 denied that from happening. The Runnin’ Rebels also had a game scheduled for next Saturday in which they will travel to Wyoming for a matchup with the Cowboys.

We knew it was going to be another hard-fought game. I am proud of our guys. Coming out that second half we talked about energy, enthusiasm and passion. Mbacke (Diong)’s steal and dunk really got us going. I felt like down the stretch, even though we still weren’t perfect, it was as together as we’ve been as a team and I could tell in the huddle and as we communicated that the guys felt good about how they were playing together. Hopefully that’s something we can continue to build on as we move forward.UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger told reporters after the game. 

 

NOTES:

 

  • UNLV trailed by 16 (36-20) with five minutes left in the first half and by 15 (40-25) with 2:30 until halftime. The Runnin’ Rebels closed the first half on a 7-0 run, then opened the second half on a 12-5 spurt to trail by just one (45-44) with 16 minutes to go.
  • UNLV shot 56.0% (14 of 25) from the field in the second half.
  • Grill also recorded a game-high-tying three steals.
  • Fresno State went to the free-throw line 11 more times than UNLV and outscored the Runnin’ Rebels 15-6 in free throws.
  • There were a total of 15 lead changes and seven ties throughout the game.
  • UNLV led in points in the paint 32-18 and bench scoring 14-7.
  • UNLV improved to 18-6 all-time against Fresno State at home.
  • UNLV has made at least one 3-pointer in an NCAA-record 1,125 straight games.

 

The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels defeat Fresno State. Will meet with the 22nd ranked team in the nation, the San Deigo State Aztecs on Wednesday. The game will be televised by CBS Sports Network and may be heard on ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas.

 

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-Jarret Thompson – Franchise Sports Media

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