FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs New Mexico – Game 15

www.FranchiseSportsMedia.com

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (9-6 / 1-1)  |  New Mexico Lobos (7-9 / 0-3)

 

The Runnin’ Rebels impose their will and REBOUND from a 10-day COVID cancellation to knock off the Lobos 85-56.

 

UNLV vs New Mexico
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

A 10-day break can be the best thing in the universe for a basketball team, or it can be the absolute worst thing that can come between a team and their end-of-season goals. It appeared as though the time off served the Rebels well as they came out like a pack of wild dogs and jumped on the University of New Mexico seeming intent on controlling the pace of the game.

Donovan Williams scored early, and soon after that, Bryce Hamilton nailed the Rebels‘ 1,144th three-pointer to set off a stretch in which he stole the ball from a Lobo ballhandler, started the fastbreak, and proceeded to throw an alley-oop to Williams that got the Rebel faithful inside the Thomas & Mack Center on their feet as the Rebels went up 9-0. This run prompted the Lobos to call a timeout. However, when the Lobos came back onto the floor, they were met with another Rebel three-pointer and were down 12-0.

It wouldn’t be until the 14:32 mark that the Lobos were able to find their way into the basket. The Rebel sense of urgency, coupled with an inconsistent and staggering New Mexico offense, enabled the Rebels to impose their will early, setting the tone for the rest of the half and eventually the night. As the half progressed, the Lobos appeared to settle down and valued their possessions a little more, and closed the gap quickly.

However, the Donovan Williams show had just begun as the Rebels took control of the game and began to separate themselves once again. Ultimately, the Rebels went into the locker room with a 40-30 lead at halftime.

 

The plus-minus score is a sports statistic used to measure a player’s impact on the game, per this statistic every Rebel on the roster (except for one) had a positive impact on the game! 

 

UNLV vs New Mexico
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

In contrast, not a single player for New Mexico finished the night on the positive side. For a team whom head coach Kevin Kruger said were prepared to take the court with minimal players and stand in a 2-3 zone for 40 minutes against Air Force a week ago, to a team that was taking the floor with a roster full of well-prepared players that put the time in during isolation.

The effort was top-notch and produced some of the best moments of the season for the Rebels. The “weird feeling” of preparing his team in a new college basketball world. It’s a world as unpredictable as the 19 and 20-year old players who play the game. It looks to have paid dividends for the Rebels, even prompting Kruger to consider adjusting his staff’s approach to games.

Kruger even jokingly suggested that he may instead quiz his team about the game film to assure that they indeed watched the movie, something that they all did this past week. Their thorough understanding of the opponent and the game plan was self-evident. These kids were as well prepared as they have been at any point so far this season. They understood the assignment!

The second half saw the final act of theDonovan Williams Show” as he continued to knock down shots from all over the floor, using his length and athleticism to create opportunities for himself and his teammates alike. Williams displayed the ability to disrupt everything the Lobos tried to do, whether on the offensive or defensive end of the floor. The result of Williams’ big night saw him score a game-high 29 points on 10-12 shooting from the field and an improved 7-11 from the line.

The Rebels saw solid performances from the usual suspects, as this band of characters combined to put together a team performance that saw every player on the roster (except for one) finish the game with a positive “plus/minus” score. Led by a plus-minus score of 23 by Williams, the plus-minus score is a sports statistic used to measure a player’s impact on the game, per this stat. Per every Rebel on the roster (except for one) positively impacted the game! In contrast, not a single player for New Mexico finished the night on the positive side.

Royce Hamm Jr. put together another double-double as he scored 11 points and pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds. Hamm’s athleticism proved to be too much for the Lobos’ Sebastian Forsling, as he ran the floor well, rebounded quickly and often, and was able t,o move out of pick & rolls with his teammates and finish above the rim win he wasn’t scrapping for buckets around the basket.

 

The Rebels played aggressive defense and imposed their will on the glass!

 

UNLV vs New Mexico
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels‘ tenacity on the boards led them to a 48-30 rebounding advantage that proved too much for the Lobos to bear.

Hamilton was aggressive early but seemed to cool down midway through the first half, yet managed to play solid defense and along with Keshon Gilbert, disrupt the Lobo guards in their halfcourt sets.  Hamilton still had a solid night scoring 17 points to go along with 6 rebounds and three assists, not to mention a thunderous dunk much to the chagrin of a hapless New Mexico defender. Josh Baker also presented some issues for the New Mexico backcourt, particularly Jaeleparticularlynative Arizonans faced off for the first time collegiately with Baker taking the win while helping to force House to 4 turnovers and 0-4 from the three-point line.

Aside from the numerous contributions from the entire roster, the Rebels also managed to play a more physical style of basketball than in their previous few games. The Rebels played aggressive defense and imposed their will on the glass. The Rebels‘ tenacity on the boards led them to a 48-30 rebounding advantage that proved to be too much f Lobos to bear. The Rebels maintained the lead for the entire game, winning 85-56.

Next up for the Rebels will be the Bulldogs of Fresno State.

 

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

 

Bryce Hamilton is this game’s “STREAKER” after 1,14 games. Hamilton knocked down the 3-ball prior to an excellent effort in which he stole the ball from a Lobo ballhandler and proceeded to start the break himself. Hamilton then threw an alley-oop to his partner in crime Donovan Williams that got the Thomas & Mack Center rockin and rollin’, almost reminiscent of the late ’80s again!

The ’80s VEGAS HUSTLA” of this game was Josh Baker. The Arizona native stepped up to the challenge early and took on New Mexico point guard and Arizona State University transfer Jaelen House, and Baker did an outstanding job along with the help of freshman Keshon Gilbert.  The son of ASU’s all-time leading scorer and former NBA champion Eddie House, Jaelen was a highly decorated Phoenix high school player who won 4 Arizona state championships at Shadow Mountain high school with his uncle and coach, NBA veteran point guard Mike Bibby.

 

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

 

The Rebels will take on the Fresno State Bulldogs at the Thomas and Mack Center Friday at 8:00 PM

UNLV vs New Mexico.                                        UNLV vs New Mexico                         UNLV vs New Mexico                         UNLV vs New Mexico                                         UNLV vs New Mexico                         UNLV vs New Mexico                         UNLV vs New Mexico                                         UNLV vs New Mexico                         UNLV vs New Mexico                         UNLV vs New Mexico                                         UNLV vs New Mexico                         UNLV vs New Mexico                        

-Che Jones – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Che on Twitter @CoachCheJones

Follow The Franchise on Social Media

https://twitter.com/TheFranchiseLV

https://facebook.com/TheFranchiseLV

https://instagram.com/TheFranchiseLV