UNLV Runnin Rebels vs Pacific


Runnin’ Rebels (4-8, 1-0) | Pacific Tigers (11-3, 0-0)



After 11 days off from their last game, UNLV returned to the Thomas & Mack Center and lost to Pacific, 74-66.

Coached by former NBA player Damon Stoudamire, the win improves the Tigers’ record to 11-3, with just a few more games left before they enter West Coast Conference play. They were led by junior guard Justin Moore, who scored 22 points, on 6-12 (50%) shooting from the field and 3-5 (60%) from behind the arc. Grad transfer guard Gary Chivichyan also scored in double figures, totaling 11 points off the bench. The Hollywood native shot 3-7 (42%) from the field and 3-6 (50%) from on three-point attempts.

As for the Runnin’ Rebels, junior guard and team co-captain Amauri Hardy led the team with 19 points and three assists. He shot 5-11 (45%) from the field and 9-11 (81%) from the free-throw line. Two other members scored in double figures including, senior forward Nick Blair and sophomore guard Bryce Hamilton. They scored 14 and 13 points respectively. Hamilton and junior forward Donnie Tillman were bumped from the starting lineup and received a decrease in minutes as a punishment for an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Head coach TJ Otzelberger and Blair said post-game that they fully accepted their consequences and will learn from their mistakes

Another possible reason for either Hamilton or Tillman being scratched from the starting lineup was because junior guard Jonah Antonio returned to the lineup. The Australian native missed the previous six games with a left-hand injury. He had trouble getting back into the flow of things, amounting to only 5 points in the game. Senior guard and the other team co-captain Elijah Mitrou-Long missed his third straight game with a broken left thumb. He was averaging 12.9 points per game before his injury.

UNLV struggled to score, once again being stagnant on offense and forcing many bad shots late in the possession with close to no seconds left on the shot clock. At times, they looked out of sync, with no sense of awareness and aggressiveness.

The Rebels struggled on defense, allowing Pacific to shoot 25-56 (44%) from the field and 9-20 (45%) from the three.

After the game, Otzelberger stated that his team needs to improve on rebounding and diving on the floor for 50/50 balls. They were outrebounded 28-34. He said that the team would emphasize working on those things in practice tomorrow morning, hoping to increase their hustle and intensity levels. He also stated that Pacific just went out there and played hard and wanted it more than his players. The attitude on his face and tone in his voice clearly showed the disappointment and frustration in his team.

When asked if this was ever a problem for him when he was coaching at South Dakota State, he said no, and that it was a first to have to motivate his players to want to play hard for every possession. Otzelberger also stated that he will make sure to continue recruiting dedicated players who will give it their all for every second of the game. As someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes basketball, he will make sure to bring in the players who are the same for the fans, school, and program that deserve it.

The Runnin’ Rebels will now look to shift their focus on their next game against another non-conference opponent in Robert Morris of the Northeast Conference. They are currently on a two-game winning streak with an overall record of 4-8. The game will take place Saturday, Dec. 18 at noon, inside the Thomas & Mack Center.

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Isaiah Torres

Twitter: Isaiah_Torres24

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