UNLV vs Air Force
Photo Credit: UNLV Basketball

FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Air Force – Game 17

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UNLV (8-9) vs. Air Force (4-14)

 

UNLV sweeps Air Force after a big game from David Jenkins Jr.

 

The Runnin’ Rebels improve to 8-9 on the season after a 69-64 victory over the Air Force Falcons. UNLV continued their good play at home while Air Force has now lost 7 straight games and falls to 4-14 on the season. It was a slow start for UNLV, but a strong second-half surge led by David Jenkins, who finished with a game-high 26 points, gave them the five-point win.

 

The UNLV defense continues to be the key to their success.

 

UNLV vs Air Force
Photo Credit: UNLV Basketball

The Runnin’ Rebels have been great defensively so far this season against teams in the Mountain West Conference. In all their wins this season, the 64 points let up Monday night are the most let up. The previous high was 58 points. When this team is clicking on the defensive side of the ball, that is when they are at their best.

Air Force shot the ball a lot better in this game than they did in the 68-58 loss to UNLV on Saturday. They shot exactly 50% from the field led by AJ Walker. Walker had 20 points on 7-11 shooting as he continues to be one of the few bright spots for the Falcons this season. He has been playing at a high level for many games now. Nikc Jackson had a great game scoring 18 points for the Falcons. He had 8 of their first 16 points to open up the game. Air Force was off to a great start, leading by six at halftime, 34-28.

UNLV turned the tables in the second half when David Jenkins Jr., who was coming off the bench for the second straight game, was electric, finishing with 26 points and six made three-pointers. The Runnin’ Rebels outscored Air Force 40-31 in the second half. Thanks to Jenkins performance off the bench, they outscored the Falcons bench by 20 points, and UNLV’s bench nearly outscored their starters. Bryce Hamilton had 14 points and was very efficient, shooting 7-9 from the field in only his second game back after missing two games before that.

The Runnin’ Rebels as a team shot way better from beyond the arc than they did in the first game. In the win on Saturday, the three-point shot was not a factor as they went 2-14 from deep. However, on Monday night, they shot 56%, with Jenkins making 6 of his 8 shots from deep. For the second straight time, UNLV dominated the boards against the Falcons as well. This time, Mbacke Diong led the way with 9 rebounds as he also contributed 4 blocks.

 

UNLV has a chance to get to .500 or above when they travel to Boise.

 

UNLV will need to take the momentum from the two home wins on the road with them for this tough test. They will need David Jenkins Jr. to provide that offensive spark, whether off the bench or in the starting lineup. It will take a team effort as they can’t completely rely on Bryce Hamilton to carry all of the offense.

Boise State started the season 13-1 before they recently lost 3 of their last 4. They are on a two-game losing streak after falling twice to Nevada. UNLV will look to carry their momentum while Boise tries to bounce back after a few tough losses.

 

NOTES: 

  • It marked the Runnin’ Rebels’ 10th straight win at home over Air ForceUNLV is now 30-2 all-time against the Falcons at home.
  • Jenkins was 9 of 14 from the floor.
  • UNLV out-rebounded Air Force 30-20.
  • UNLV has now shot 50% or better from the field this season seven times and is 6-1 in such games.
  • It marked UNLV’s second Mountain West sweep of the season (also swept New Mexico at home).
  • There were 10 lead changes and three ties throughout the game.
  • UNLV led in bench points, 32-12.
  • UNLV trailed at the half, 34-28. 
  • UNLV has made at least one 3-pointer in an NCAA-record 1,119 straight games.

 

UNLV will head back out on the road to play at Boise State for a two-game Mountain West series on Thursday, February 11, and Saturday, February 13. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. PT with Thursday’s to air on CBS Sports Network and Saturday’s on FS1. Both games may be heard on ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas.

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-Jarret Thompson – Franchise Sports Media

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