UNLV vs Air Force
Photo Credit: UNLV Basketball

FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Air Force – Game 16

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UNLV (7-9) vs. Air Force (4-13)

 

UNLV comfortably defeats Air Force, end losing skid.

 

The Runnin’ Rebels defeated the Air Force Falcons in the first game played of two between these teams by a score of 68-58. UNLV was never in trouble with the Falcons and cruised to another home victory. They are now 6-2 at home this season. They were led by star Bryce Hamilton who finished with 22 points. It was mentioned in the preview article that UNLV has the height and bodies down low to dominate the boards and they did just that. They outrebounded the Falcons by ten and helped them secure their 7th win of the season as they now improve to 7-9 with one more game hosting Air Force.

 

Bryce Hamilton returns with a vengeance leading his Runnin’ Rebel team to a home win.

 

UNLV vs Air Force  
Photo Credit: KTNV

All UNLV fans were happy to see Bryce Hamilton back on the court after missing the two games at Nevada and he did not disappoint in his return. He had 15 points in the first half alone nearly scoring half of his team’s total first-half points as the Runnin’ Rebels had 31.

David Jenkins started on the bench in today’s game as Moses Wood and Nicquel Blake both got starts. UNLV did not shoot the three-pointer well during the entirety of the game, in fact, did not hit their first three-pointer until the second half. They were 0-9 from deep in the opening half.  Air Force had the lead for most of the beginning of the game as UNLV didn’t get their first lead until there was 8:06 left on the clock in the first half. Bryce Hamilton didn’t have a lot of offensive help in the first half, but he didn’t need it as the Runnin’ Rebels had a 31-28 lead over the Falcons at the break.

UNLV started the second half going on a 10-0 run led by Mbacke Diong who had 6 of his 16 points on that run. Air Force eventually caught back up and evened the game up at 46 before Caleb Grill, who did not have his best game, hit his only three-pointer shot of the game at an important time. That shot really changed the game as it started a 12-0 run for the Runnin’ Rebels. They went on to finish the game and win 68-58.

Bryce Hamilton finished with a game-high 22 points adding on 13 rebounds and 5 assists. It was an all-around performance from Hamilton. Nicquel Blake resumed his good play scoring 11 while in the starting lineup for David Jenkins who had 2 points off the bench. For Air Force, their offense is mainly split up between two guards. AJ Walker did his thing scoring 18 points while Senior Chris Joyce finished with 14 points.

 

The Runnin’ Rebels will look to sweep the Falcons with another victory on Monday.

 

UNLV vs Davidson
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

UNLV was the better team for the majority of the game on Saturday and deserved to win the game. However, one thing UNLV struggled within this game was their shots from beyond the arc. They were 0-9 in the first half and 2-14 on the game. Clearly, they did not need the three-point shot to win as they shot 55% from the field in general as a team.

UNLV outscored Air Force in points in the paint 46-10 and shot 25 of 35 (71.4%) on shots from inside the 3-point line.

“We knew coming into this game Air Force has a very deliberate style offensively and defensively. For our young guys that hadn’t played against them before, we knew it was going to pose some challenges. I felt like when we were able to get stops – I think at one point we made nine in a row – we were able to create some separation. But we lost that focus when they scored on seven straight possessions. In the end, I was really happy with our guys, how they came together and found ways to get stops at key moments. We’re going to do that even better come Monday.” – UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger

The Runnin’ Rebels have not lost to Air Force since 2014 and will look to continue that on Monday.

 

NOTES: 

  • UNLV ended a three-game losing skid with the win.
  • It marked the Runnin’ Rebels’ ninth straight win at home over Air Force. UNLV is now 29-2 all-time against the Falcons at home.
  • UNLV was 0 for 9 on 3-point attempts in the first half, but shot 63.6% from the field in the second half. 
  • UNLV shot 55.1% from the field for the game, marking the sixth time this season it has made at least half its shots. The Runnin’ Rebels are 5-1 in such games.
  • Air Force made 15 3-pointers in the game, going 8 of 15 in the first half (53.3%).
  • Air Force made just five field goals inside the 3-point arc all game.
  • UNLV outrebounded the Falcons 33-20.
  • There were five lead changes and three ties throughout the game. 
  • UNLV led in fast-break points 14-0.
  • UNLV held a 31-28 halftime lead.
  • UNLV has made at least one 3-pointer in an NCAA-record 1,118 straight games. The Runnin’ Rebels missed each of their first 12 3-point attempts in the game before finally making one.

UNLV wins behind a fantastic game from Bryce Hamilton, will battle it out with the Falcons again on Monday at at 6:00 on CBSSN. 

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-Jarret Thompson – Franchise Sports Media

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