FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs San Diego – Game 13


UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (7-5)  |  San Diego Toreros Mavericks (7-5)


Hamilton and Williams once again lead the way as the Rebels run past San Diego in a 80-57 win.


Naughty or Nice? Which Runnin’ Rebels team were we going to see on Wednesday night at Thomas & Mack?


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After a topsy-turvy week that saw the Rebels possibly facing the University of Kentucky or perhaps spend a week working on individuals’ work and getting ready for the University of San Diego. In the end, Kevin Kruger’s team was more than willing to play someone, and it inevitably was the scheduled Toreros.

From the onset, the Rebels appeared to have a sense of urgency pushing the ball down the throat of the Toreros, but scoring was still sparse. Many missed layups prevented the Rebels from separating themselves early on in a classic game of back and forth.


The Rebels were able to extend their lead to 10 points at 4:09, and shortly after that, the Rebel fans were in an uproar after a charge was called on Donovan Williams in transition, which also infuriated Kruger and perhaps ignited his team. The Rebels went on a 12-2 run and quickly extended their lead to 18 points right before the half to make it  42-24.



A major turning point in the game came when a charge/block call went against the Rebel much to the chagrin of the UNLV fans and Rebel head coach Kevin Kruger.


This seemed to spark a Rebel’s run. Then, right before the intermission, Kruger inserted forward Reece Brown into the game. Brown brought energy and helped spark the Runnin’ Rebels.


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Photo Credit: TQ for Franchise Sports Media

The Rebels went up by 20 points on a Bryce Hamilton layup 5 minutes into the 2nd half. After a slow start in the first, Hamilton came alive offensively after the 2nd half began and finished the night with 20 points. The offensive productivity in the early part of the game by Donovan Williams (20 points, six rebounds, and three assists) and the combination of Royce Hamm Jr. (12 points and ten rebounds) and Jordan McCabe (9 points, seven assists, and five rebounds) prevented the Toreros from making a serious push early.

The combination of Williams and Hamilton is proving to be a catalyst moving forward for the Rebels as they head into conference play on New Year’s Day against the San Diego State University AztecsKruger was delighted with the duo, especially with Williams, who has done everything that the staff has asked. Kruger added, “Donovan has really transformed. If you were to go back and check game for game, a couple of the things that he was doing earlier in season, he’s cut out all of that out.


At this juncture, Kruger was delighted with his team’s effort and even joked that finally getting Victor Iwuakor back on the floor for limited action was great. At times he was annoying him begging to get back on the floor, but that was better than the opposite.



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



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After 1,142 games, the three-point streak continues to be “NICE” for Rebel fans and “NAUGHTY” to their opponents. The final “STREAKER” of 2021 was none other than Bryce Hamilton. The Hamilton three was knocked down in transition, extending the streak with 16:42 to play.

This game’s “SWAGG-BAGG” goes to Jordan McCabe. McCabe impressed the Rebel faithful with nifty ballhandling, great passes, and he even mixed in a few nice buckets of his own. In addition, McCabe threw many passes over the top of the San Diego defense in transition as the Rebel PG got into form right before conference play!  


This game’s “LAS VEGAS HUSTLA” was Royce Hamm Jr. Once again, the Rebel big man posted another double-double and is making a living doing the dirty work underneath.


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


The Rebels will start Mountain West Conference play on New Year’s Day at the Thomas & Mack Center at 1:00 PM against the Aztecs of San Diego State University.

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-Che Jones – Franchise Sports Media

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