FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs UCLA – Game 7


UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (4-3)  |  UCLA Bruins (6-1)


The Runnin’ Rebels put forth a solid effort early only to see the Bruins pull away late in the second half, outclassing the home team 73-51.


Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

UNLV Runnin Rebels 90, #1 ranked North Carolina Tarheels 80 to shock the college basketball world!

It was ten years ago, almost to the day (November 26, 2011) that the Rebels were able to stun the Tarheels for the upset, and today 6.392 fans were eagerly anticipating the Rebels (4-3) repeating the feat against the #2 ranked UCLA Bruins (6-1) of the PAC12 conference.

Unfortunately for the Rebels, Mick Cronin’s Bruins had no intentions of allowing an upset to happen. After a 20-point drubbing (63-83) on Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena by the Bulldogs of Gonzaga, the Bruins appeared to be focused and locked into their game plan, which seemed to focus on keeping Royce Hamm Jr. off the boards. As a result, Hamm spent the night in constant foul trouble and had a season-low four rebounds to go along with his 8 points.

The Runnin Rebels only committed a total of 5 turnovers. However, it was not an issue of being pressured by the Bruin defense that was their downfall; it was a horrid shooting night. The Rebels shot a dismal 30.4% from the field, and on numerous occasions, when the opportunity arose for them to make easy baskets, they struggled to do so. The proverbial lid was clearly over the rim when point guard Jordan McCabe had a wide-open fastbreak layup all by himself, and it rimmed out. The Rebels’ shooting woes continued from the three-point line as they shot 22.2% from long-distance.

The Rebels appeared to hang around with the Bruins for the majority of the first half. After withstanding an early 9-2 Bruin lead at the first media timeout, the Rebels seemed to gain solid footing and not allow the lead to balloon to an uncontrollable deficit, mainly because the Rebels took care of the basketball, committing only one first-half turnover.  However, in the final four minutes of the first half, the Bruins separated themselves from the Rebels, and the Rebels ultimately trailed the Bruins by 15 points, 37-22.

On a night that saw the UNLV fans support one of the greatest three-point shooters in college basketball history, former Runnin’ Rebel Freddie Banks, by raising his #13 jersey to the rafters, the Rebels went a total of 5:58 before they saw a 3-pointer go through the hoop. When Donovan Williams made the first three-pointer of the night, the Rebels had scored only their 5th point, almost 6 minutes into the game.


Keshon Gilbert changes the tempo of the game immediately once he steps on the court with a combination of defensive intensity and youthful exuberance, traits that are near and dear to the hearts of Rebel fans.

Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Gilbert sparked a brief 7-3 run that got UNLV fans excited and sparked his team. After UCLA had increased their halftime lead to 15 points, the Rebels cut the lead down to 9 after a few stops and transition baskets, all in some manner affected by the play of Gilbert. Gilbert always manages to deflect a ball or disrupt an opposing player when he’s not busy harassing the ballhandler 94 feet.

After the season opener, Head coach Kevin Kruger said, “Las Vegas will love him,” and they do. Gilbert gets a sounding ovation when he enters and exits the game, and he very seldom has scored; it’s always due to his defensive effort.

The Rebels were outrebounded by the Bruins 47-27, and on a night when UCLA shot  47.1% from the 3-point line and 47.1% from the field, a 20 rebound gap will not suffice. The Rebels were led in scoring by senior guard Bryce Hamilton who had 15 points, and Williams, who chipped in 12 points and four rebounds.

The Bruins had four starters score in double figures. The near-unanimous PAC-12 favorites and 2021 NCAA Final Four participants had four starters in double figures. Jules Bernard led the way with 18 points, Johhny Juzang flirted with a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds, Tyger Campbell scored 15 points, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 12 points to go along with a nasty gash above his eye, which he received at the hands of his teammate, 6-10 Myles Johnson.


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


Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

After 1,136 games, the streak continues, and this game’s “STREAKER” is Donovan Williams. Williams knocked down the three-ball stopping a 5:24 scoring drought making the score 14-5.

Tonight’s “SWAGG-BAGG,” despite such a dismal performance by the Rebels, goes to Jordan McCabe. McCabe added got a UCLA Bruin to his highlight reel as he showed off his “handles” and got the defender up in the air and turned around as he faked a jumper, faked a pass, and went up and under for the score.

Keshon Gilbert is the consensus “LAS VEGAS HUSTLA” for his tenacious demeanor throughout the game. Gilbert defended UCLA veteran guards whether taller, stronger, faster, quicker and forced them, more often than not, to do what he wanted them to do. Gilbert is quickly becoming a fan favorite with his hustle and tenacity.

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


The Rebels will now head to Dallas take on the Mustangs of SMU on Wednesday at 5:00 PM CST.

UNLV vs UCLA                             UNLV vs UCLA                          UNLV vs UCLA                       UNLV vs UCLA                       UNLV vs UCLA                             UNLV vs UCLA                          UNLV vs UCLA                       UNLV vs UCLA                   UNLV vs UCLA                                                                           

-Che Jones – Franchise Sports Media

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