UNLV vs Wichita State
Photo Credit: UNLV Athletics

FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs Wichita State University Shockers – Game


UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (3-3)  |  Wichita State Shockers (5-1)


Late fouls doom the Runnin Rebels as they fall 74-73 to Wichita State University.


UNLV vs Wichita State
Photo Credit: Wichita State Athletics

After a questionable call fouled out point guard Jordan McCabe, another dubious call sent Wichita State guard Tyson Etienne to the free-throw line. The Shockers guard sank two late free throws to secure the victory.

The Runnin Rebels battled a T-Mobile Arena crowd that had used all of its excitement to cheer on the Arizona Wildcats in their win over the 4th ranked Michigan Wolverines. Or they were walking out of the arena to tend to their last-second desires at the crap tables.

There was very little scarlet and grey in the crowd, and when it was present, it was more than likely fans of the Wildcats than it was Rebel fans. The lack of energy didn’t seem to affect the players on the court as they battled amongst one another in the 3rd place game of the night.

UNLV head coach Kevin Kruger saw his team statistically outperform the Shockers throughout the night. The Rebels outshot the Shockers 49% to 43.1% from the field and 47.4% to 40% from the three-point line. Kruger’s Rebels also shot perfect from the charity stripe, going 14/14 on the night. Their slight edge on the defensive boards, 20 rebounds to 18 rebounds, wasn’t enough to overcome their slight edge in turnovers, 18 to 16. However, what proved to be the most damning statistic of the night was the 18 to 17 edge in fouls.


The foul that put the Rebels over the top was a foul called against freshman Keshon Gilbert against Etienne.


UNLV vs Wichita State
Photo Credit: Robert Scheer/IndyStar/USA TODAY Sports

The freshman had done as he had been doing against multiple Wichita State ballhandlers all night; slide his feet laterally and beat the ballhandler to the spot. In this instance, Gilbert beat Etienne to the sideline, and it appeared as though he forced Etienne to step out before the whistle was blown. Rebel fans and the Rebel bench were particularly upset.

Under the guidance of McCabe, the Rebels were under control and, for the majority of the game, enjoyed a lead that at one point even saw double digits. However, with a veteran group like the Shockers, the game was never appearing to be out of reach. Although Bryce Hamilton scored 18 points, he seemed to at times rush shots and often seemed to be out of sync due to the pressure of the Shocker guards and frequent double teams.

We wanted to make sure that every time Hamilton touched the ball, we sent two guys at him and forced him to pass the ball to someone else,” said Wichita State head coach Isaac Brown. That strategy seemed to work to speed up Hamilton or, at the very least pushing him away from the basket.

Although the Shockers game plan was to disrupt Hamilton’s rhythm, it failed to keep the crafty handiwork of McCabe in check. It also did not stop the hard straight-line drives of Mike Nuga. Nuga continues to drive the basketball right down the throat of the defense and score at the basket. He appears to be the only Rebel guard that can consistently beat his defender off the dribble and force his way into the paint. Hamilton and McCabe can confuse defenders and have an array of one-on-one maneuvers to get past defenders, but Nuga drives the ball right into the chest of his defender and, as of late, is getting right into the paint.

At the 13:00 minute mark, the Shockers had taken advantage of the fact that the Rebels couldn’t separate themselves and obtain a 7-0 run that changed the final stages. The Rebels failed to make a field goal for eternity, and although they were able to make free throws down the stretch, the late game of heroics was a glimpse into an issue the Rebels have had since day one: getting out on shooters and contesting the three-point shot. Etienne had his three-point contest down the stretch in a Steph Curry-esque performance from well beyond the three-point line.

Royce Hamm Jr continued to rebound well, pulling down 11 boards, and Nuga contributed with a strong 13 points. McCabe had a season-high eight assists to go along with his 11 points and played his best game so far, despite fouling out on what all would agree were a couple of questionable calls.

There were numerous times in which the Rebels could’ve taken the lead. A sequence saw the Rebels rebound a missed three-point attempt by Hamilton, and three point-blank layups were missed. The Rebels once again proved that their settle of basketball will be close games that are dogfights until the end and are borderline heart attacks for Kevin Kruger and Rebel fans alike.




The following are game tidbits that may not show up in the boxscore! 

After 1,134 games, the streak continues to breathe, thanks to this game’s “STREAKERBryce Hamilton.

This night’s “SWAGG-BAGG” was all Jordan McCabe. He dazzled both Wichita State and UNLV fans with his ball-handling and passing wizardry with the ball in his hands.

The “LAS VEGAS HUSTLA” for this game was once again Mike Nuga. Maybe we should start calling it the Nuga!


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


The Rebels will now take on the Whitter College at the Thomas and Mack Center on Wednesday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 pm.


UNLV vs Michigan                         UNLV vs Michigan                         UNLV vs Michigan                         UNLV vs Michigan                         UNLV vs Michigan                         UNLV vs Michigan                         UNLV vs Michigan                         UNLV vs Michigan                         UNLV vs Michigan                         UNLV vs Michigan                                          

-Che Jones – Franchise Sports Media

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