FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Utah State – Game 23

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (13-10 / 5-5)  |  Utah State Aggies (14-9 / 6-5)

Franchise Sports Media


Another strong offensive output by Hamilton won’t suffice as the white hot Aggies win their 5th in a row over the Rebels, 90-75.


UNLV vs Utah State
Photo Credit: Eli Lucero/Herald Journal

On the Road Again! Marketing may want to consider renaming this UNLV team the “Ridin’ Rebels,” considering how much this team has traveled in the past couple of weeks. For a team playing their fifth road game in 7 games, the road should not be unfamiliar. However, for the latter part of the second half, The Rebels looked lost and even perhaps a step off their game.

The Rebels took on the Utah State Aggies Saturday afternoon in Logan, Utah. In a game that had many “peaks and valleys,” the Rebels seemed to be spinning their wheels in their own Valleys, while the Aggies stood proudly amongst their Peaks.

Rebel fans took a collective sigh of relief to not only see UNLV’s Donovan Williams in the lineup the other night at the Thomas & Mack Center against intrastate rival UNR but to see him score 17 points and get back to his old self was the icing on their proverbial cakes! Nonetheless, the never-ending saga of whether or not Williams is indeed healthy continued in Logan as the Rebels were once again tasked with taking the court minus their second-leading scorer (Williams).

If that wasn’t enough, the Rebels were punched in the gut just for good measure, as forward Victor Iwuakor started the game but only played 5 minutes as it appeared (yet not confirmed) as if he may have reinjured the same shoulder that had sidelined him for the early part of the season.

However, playing without Williams, nor Rebels’ Royce Hamm Jr., Reece Brown, and Bryce Hamilton himself due to early foul trouble, was not going to be an excuse for the Rebels’ leading scorer. Hamilton continued his miraculous scoring stretch as he dropped a herculean effort upon the Aggies on his way to another 30-point outing.

Hamilton has proven many times over that he is more than willing and capable of wearing the superhero cape, even more importantly. Be it the absence of Williams on the perimeter or Iwuakor in the post, Hamilton continued to be aggressive with the basketball in his hands and played with a heightened sense of urgency en route to 33 points and five rebounds, and three assists, but unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough.

Bean had three teammates score in double figures for the Aggies, Brandon Horvath with 17 points, Sean Bairstow and Steven Ashworth added 14.


Kruger got a valiant effort from Rebel point guard Jordan McCabe who dished out 8 assists to go along with only 1 turnover and 13 points


UNLV vs Utah State
Photo Credit: Eli Lucero/Herald Journal

UNLV head coach Kevin Kruger also got a valiant effort from Rebel point guard Jordan McCabe who dished out eight assists to go with only one turnover! McCabe continues to take care of the basketball and, as of late, has managed to find his shooting stroke due to a lot of extra shooting after practice with UNLV assistant coach Tim Buckley, as he also chipped in 13 points.

At no time has it been more evident that the Rebels need to have a second fiddle to Hamilton than it is now. The story all night for the Aggies was the play of former walk-on Justin BeanBean played a fantastic game, finishing with 32 points to go with his game-high ten rebounds. Bean made five three-pointers on 5-7 three-point shooting. Hamilton was equally as efficient, shooting 4-7 from the three-pointer.

The Rebels and Aggies traded jabs in the 1st half and traded the lead back and forth until the final seconds of the half. As Hamilton and Bean battled it out for most of the half, the war was waged, and the battle itself was your classic back and forth as the Aggies and Rebels ducked and dodged one another. Statistically, this game couldn’t have been any closer. In the final 30 seconds of the half, Justin Webster knocked down a three to give the Rebels the lead, only to see Utah State’s Brandon Horvath knock down his own three-pointer, which got the Aggies fans in Logan up and on their feet with the Aggies leading the Rebels 40-38.

As the 2nd half began, it was more of the same as the Rebels were competitive for the vast majority of the game…and then came the final 10 minutes! The Rebels went on a biblical scoring drought of over 5 minutes late in the 1st half. With just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, the Rebels couldn’t score for a stretch that lasted about 5 minutes, and the Aggies took full advantage of it. Utah State went on a 16-0 run that was too much for Hamilton and his teammates to overcome. Aside from McCabe and Hamilton, only Justin Webster scored double figures with 10 points.


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


This afternoon’s “STREAKER” was Royce Hamm Jr. Hamm’s three-pointer came with 17:21 to play in the 1st half and tied the game for the Rebels a 5-2 lead.

In tonight’s game, the “VEGAS HUSTLA” was once again, Mike NugaNuga drove the ball to the basket and had his shot blocked. At the beginning of the play, Nuga was almost on the baseline and was behind the Aggie ballhandler by at least 15 feet. Nuga took off on a dead sprint and was able to not only catch up to the ballhandler but also was able to make an excellent “effort play” by knocking the ball out of his opponent’s hands and down his leg…UNLV BALL!!!


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


The Rebels will take on the Aggies of Utah State on Saturday, Februaray 2nd at 3:00 PM in Logan, Utah. The game can be seen on CBS Sports Network.

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-Che Jones – Franchise Sports Media

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