UNLV vs Minnesota
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Minnesota – Game 6

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (6-0 / 0-0)  | Minnesota Gophers (4-2 / 0-0)

Franchise Sports Media

 

The Runnin’ Rebels have won the 2022 SoCal Challenge championship and their sixth game in a row after defeating the Minnesota Gophers 71-62

 

UNLV vs Minnesota
Photo Credit: Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

UNLV continued to use their starting lineup of Keshon Gilbert, E.J. Harkless, Eli Parquet, Luis Rodriguez, and David Muoka. They are the same starters as the previous five games. This unit has logged 52 minutes together this season and has outscored opponents 91-66.

Parquet started the game off by burying a three. Followed by an and-1 layup by Gilbert, UNLV was up 10-3. UNLV got right to the rim in the opening minutes. With two early buckets for Gilbert, including that and-1. He had a team-high five points. Minnesota was just 1 of 6 overall, with 15:53 left in the first half.

Dawson Garcia got himself going with a jumper from mid-range. But Johnson III went on a little run by himself with two made threes, the first one off an inbound pass. Then, Jamison Battle hit a fall-away jumper over Victor Iwuakor, and after Braeden Carrington hit a three and a Pharrel Payne dunk, it was a 9-0 run by Minnesota to cut the lead to one. Muoka ended the scoring drought with a dunk off a pass from Gilbert

The score was 20-19 as Minnesota took the lead, capping off a 17-9 run for the Gophers. But Gilbert re-tied the game with a free throw and took the lead back with a wide-open three. Justin Webster saved a ball from going out of bounds and fed it to Harkless for a three to extend the lead to six, which was his first bucket of the game. Gilbert lobbed it up to Rodriguez to cap off a 9-0 run of their own. In total, UNLV went on a 19-2 run at the end of the half.

 

At halftime, the score read UNLV 38, Minnesota 24. The Runnin’ Rebels used their efficient offense and pressure defense to stay ahead. Gilbert had 12 points and three assists, and Johnson III had nine points. All the while Minnesota already had 11 turnovers.

 

UNLV vs Minnesota
Photo Credit: Kylas LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

UNLV had to manage foul issues, with five players having two fouls. However, the Rebels were outstanding from three as they went 7-15. 

Battle started the second half with a three to cut the lead to 11. Parquet pulled himself off the ground after not getting a foul call, sprinted down the court, found the shooter in the opposite corner, and swatted the shot into the stands.

Harkless countered a layup from Garcia with a layup of his own. Garcia then somehow lost his shoe and gave up a three to Gilbert. But, unfortunately, UNLV gave those points right back as they left Battle wide open in the corner, and he sank the three.

Harkless got the ball on the top, burst right, and scored through the foul on Treyton Thompson. He converted the free throw to put UNLV back up by 14.

Rodriguez was able to tip in a bucket after Iwuakor was fighting so hard to get the ball in the basket. Shortly after, Webster got an and-1 layup after being run off the 3-point line by Carrington. Minnesota no longer wished to be burned from three after the first half.

Jordan McCabe didn’t have it going in this game, but he forced Minnesota into a charging call. Yet another turnover forced for UNLV.

Minnesota couldn’t get anything going offensively. Gophers head coach Ben Johnson was forced from playing most of his bigs. The Gophers hadn’t scored in 3:46 and were shooting 23% in the 2nd. The Rebels led 52-34 with 11:41 left.

However, the Rebels were piling up fouls. Harkless got his 4th with 9:57 left. Iwuakor and Parquet had three fouls each. Rodriguez then made a three to pull ahead by 19. After Parquet got a block, Rodriguez went to work in transition, made the contested layup, and pushed the lead to 21 points. Minnesota was now more than five minutes without scoring. UNLV 59, Minnesota 38 with 8:01 remaining.

Webster found a wide-open Johnson III in the corner and sank the three, but Ta’Lon Cooper responded with a three of his own. Then, Gilbert spun through the Gophers’ defense and bounced passed to a cutting Muoka, who dunked it home.

Garcia didn’t want this one to end just yet, as he made a three to cut the lead to 18. Minnesota went on a 16-8 run in the last six minutes after Carrington drilled a three. Rodriguez put a stop to that by getting out on a steal and throwing down a windmill dunk for the highlights.

However, the Rebels coasted a bit too much at the end as Carrington made a three, and Jaden Henley hit another three for Minnesota. After Harkless’ free throws, it was a nine-point game with 14 seconds left.

But this game was over minutes before it ended, and UNLV was now the 2022 Champions of the SoCal Challenge. They only won by nine points, but it was never really that close due to another vicious defensive performance. The final score read UNLV 71, Minnesota 62.

 

Runnin’ Takeaways

 

UNLV vs Minnesota
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Gilbert finished with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Harkless had 16 points, five rebounds, two assists, and one steal. Rodriguez posted 15 points, nine rebounds, and two steals. Johnson III, off the bench, had 13 points on 4-7 from three.

Battle led the Gophers with 17 points and nine rebounds but was held to 3-11 from three. Garcia posted 15 points and eight rebounds but coughed the ball up five times. Carrington, off the bench, had 15 points and eight rebounds as well.

UNLV forced 17 turnovers, with nine of them being steals. In addition, they held the Gophers to 36% shooting & 29% from behind the arc.

The guys just knew that they had to be really disruptive, and they had to get underneath them as much as possible just to make those passes as difficult as they could,” Kevin Kruger said after the game. “I thought they guys did a really good job with a lot of deflections. Overall, unbelievable effort. Just a good way to finish the trip.”

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

 

The Runnin’ Rebels will now travel back home to the Thomas & Mack Center to play Life Pacific Saturday, November 26th, at 7:30 pm. The game will be available to watch on the Mountain West Network.

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-Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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