FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Boise State – Game 25

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (14-11 / 6-6)  |  Boise State Broncos (19-5 / 10-1)

Franchise Sports Media


Runnin’ Rebels fell to Boise State 69-63 despite an early lead and Bryce Hamilton’s 32 points.


UNLV vs Boise State
Photo Credit: Jake King/Idaho Press

Well, Rebel fans, my mother used to say, “Beggars can’t be choosers!”

For some time, Rebel fans have been begging for a chance to be relevant again. We all know it’s a long journey. We all know it’s an arduous task. We all know that we need to embrace small wins before we can bask in the glow of victory.

We also know that for the second time in a matter of 6 days, the Rebels have squandered a solid first half of play only to fail to seal the deal. The latest coming at the hands of the Broncos as the Rebels went into the locker room with a 36-29 lead. The Rebels played good basketball in the first 20 minutes. They initially rode the wave of Mike Nuga (7 points), driving the ball right into the teeth of the defense. Jordan McCabe (6 points) and Justin Webster (5 points)  scored the ball well and defended it even better, as did Royce Hamm Jr., who, along with Bryce Hamilton and Nuga, all pulled down three rebounds apiece.

It wasn’t right away that Hamilton began to put his fingerprint on this game. However, once he got going, he was simply unstoppable. Hamilton went into the locker room with his team up by 7 points, and he had tallied precisely half of those  36 points, with 18 points, three rebounds, and one assist. By the night’s end, Hamilton would end up with 32 points, five rebounds, and two assists.

Hamilton, who’s now leading the Mountain West Conference in scoring, has made a strong case for himself as the 2022 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year… and in my opinion, he may even be the frontrunner at this point in the season. Hamilton has strung together an impressive string of 30-point games and is, without a doubt making a solid case for himself. Also, the 6-4 Pasadena native has all but shown that he is a volatile scorer than can score against smaller, quicker guards or lengthy, much taller wings. The most impressive part of his scoring resume has been his ability to get in the paint and score over and around 6-11 & 7-0 post players. Hamilton is on a stretch that has been unprecedented in the annals of Runnin Rebel history and nothing to gawk at!


The Rebels defended the Broncos well and were the aggressors throughout the first half.


UNLV vs Boise State
Photo Credit: Jake King/Idaho Press

They held Boise State to 1-9 from the three-point line while knocking down 5-12 themselves led by Hamilton’s 3-3. The Rebels really seemed to have the Broncos on the ropes and appeared to control the tempo after the second trip up and down the court. For a brief second, they even looked like the Rebels of old as they pushed the ball down the throat of the Broncos on numerous occasions, scoring with ease in transition.

The heavy lifting of the Broncos‘ offense, Abu Kigab, Marcus Shaver Jr., and Tyson Degenhart had limited success early despite their length. The faster, quicker, more athletic Rebels appeared to present matchup challenges for Boise State. Shaver and Degenhart only scored 8 points combined in the first half. In fact, at the break, the trio had failed to outscore Hamilton. Hamilton scored 18 to their combined 16 points.

Cognitive of the fact that a similar effort was erased by a 5-minute scoring drought against Utah State when the Aggies went on a 16-0 run, the Rebels did a good job of trading blows with the Broncos. The teams went back and forth for most of the game, and the lead sustained itself within two possessions for the better part of the half. However, down the stretch, the Broncos converted from the free-throw line, the paint, and the three-point line.

The only other Rebel (aside from Hamilton) to finish in double figures was Nuga. He scored 12 points and knocked down a huge three late in the game, but to no avail. Nuga, who plays with as much intensity as any Rebel in recent memory, was devastated by the loss. Although he felt this game was winnable and slipped through their hands, Nuga wanted to assure the Rebel faithful that he would personally be taking his leadership role to the next level. Through his anger and frustration, Nuga stated, “I’m proud of our guys’ effort.” he then added, “We know the potential of this team, and we’re going to continue to work hard to reach it every day!”



The following are in-game tidbits that may or may not appear in the boxscore.


This game’s “STREAKER” was once again Bryce Hamilton. Hamilton’s three-pointer came with 16:09 in the 1st half, giving the Rebels a 9-4 1st half lead. The streak is still alive at 1,154 straight games with a made three-pointer!

In tonight’s game, the “VEGAS HUSTLA” was Mike Nuga! Nuga set the tone early as he came out the gate with his eyes locked on the basket. Nuga drove the ball directly into the teeth of the Bronco defense. As he has done against almost every opponent that he has faced this season, Nuga drove the ball without any resistance from the Broncos en route to giving the Rebels an early lead.


Don’t forget to go out and support the Runnin’ RebelsClick here to get your UNLV Runnin’ Rebels tickets! 


The Rebels will have another road test as they take on the Fresno State on Wednesday, February 16th at 7:30 PM in Fresno, California. The game can be seen on FS1 Network. This game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

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-Che Jones – Franchise Sports Media

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