UNLV vs San Jose State
Photo Credit: UNLV Basketball

FSM Essential Preview: UNLV vs Boise State – Game 18


UNLV (8-9) vs. Boise State (14-4)


The Runnin’ Rebels get ready to battle with third place Boise State, plus aim to even their record.


UNLV will hit the road once again as they travel north to play the Boise State Broncos. Boise State comes in with a record of 14-4 and 10-3 in Mountain West Conference play. However, all three of the conference losses have come in their last four games. Boise State started the season 13-1. They, too,  are coming off a four-game road trip in which they played at Colorado State (winning both games), and at Nevada in which the Broncos got swept.

UNLV hits the road again after winning both games at home against the bottom of the table, Air Force. The Runnin’ Rebels have lost every conference game on the road this year and their next four games are being played away from Sin City as a trip to San Jose State awaits for them after the quick two-game series with Boise State.

The two Air Force wins (68-58 on Saturday and 69-64 on Monday) marked UNLV’s second series sweep over an MWC opponent this year (New Mexico was the other). Prior to that, the Runnin’ Rebels dropped two games at UNR.


UNLV has a difficult challenge in playing Boise and their strong offense. 


UNLV vs Air Force
Photo Credit: UNLV Basketball

Boise State ranks first in the Mountain West Conference in scoring as they average 78.4 points per game. They are led by guard Derrick Alston Jr. who is averaging 16.9 points a game shooting 41% from beyond the arc. He had his season-high 27 points back in November. Abu Kigab averages 13 points a game and 5 rebounds for the Broncos.

UNLV has been their most successful when they have been playing strong defensively. It is easier to show your defensive strengths when playing teams like Air Force who are at the bottom of the standings, but it will be a nice test to see how the Runnin’ Rebels defense can match up against statistically the best offense in the conference.

Offensively, UNLV will have to get production from multiple players. They know what they are going to get out of Bryce Hamilton, who is averaging 18 points for UNLV this season. David Jenkins scored 26 points last time out in the win over Air Force. It would be big if UNLV could get consistent scoring out of him, not in just these two games against Boise, but the rest of the season. In both games vs Air Force, Jenkins came off the bench.

Hamilton missed the series at UNR with an ankle injury but returned vs. Air Force. He also leads in assists with 3.8 APG (5th in MWC), steals with 1.6 SPG (1st in MWC), and field-goal percentage at .429 (8th in MWC). Diong is the team’s rebounding leader (8.3 RPG, 4th in MWC). Jenkins Jr., is also averaging in double figures in scoring with 14.9 ppg, is second in the MWC in 3-pointers made (2.8 per game), and is second in 3-point percentage (.436).


UNLV’s weak road record vs. Boise State’s strong home record.



As mentioned before, UNLV has not been good on the road so far this season. They have been much stronger at home. The said cannot be said for the Broncos. Boise State has won their last seven home games averaging 79 points in that span. UNLV is 0-9 this season when letting the other team score 72 points or more.

Boise State is 14-4 overall this season and 10-3 in MWC play. The Broncos are coming off two losses at UNR last week after having won 14 of 15 games. The team is led in scoring by Alston with 16.9 ppg, rebounding by Mladen Armus with 7.4 RPG, and assists by RayJ Dennis with 3.4 APG.


The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels travel to Boise, Idaho to play the Boise State Broncos at 7:00 on Thursday on CBSSN. Thursday’s television broadcast will be called by Tom McCarthy and Julianne Viani, while Saturday’s announcers will be Daron Sutton and Wyking Jones. Jon Sandler and former Runnin’ Rebel Curtis Terry will handle the UNLV radio call, which may be heard live on ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas.

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-Jarret Thompson – Franchise Sports Media

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