FSM Essential Recap: UNLV vs San Diego State – Game 25

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (16-9 / 5-8) | San Diego State Aztecs (20-5 / 11-2)

Franchise Sports Media


The Runnin’ Rebels were outplayed entirely as they were defeated by the San Diego Aztecs 82-71, falling to 5-8 in MWC play.


UNLV vs Colorado State
Photo Credit Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The UNLV men’s basketball struggled to compete with the No. 25 San Diego State Aztecs. UNLV had won four of their last five games this season, so they came into this one with some momentum, but they haven’t defeated SDSU since 2020, and that unfortunate streak continued. The last time Kevin Kruger and his squad came, they lost to SDSU 80-55.

San Diego State had its way on both ends of the court from beginning to end in claiming its fifth straight win over UNLV. EJ Harkless scored 24 points, and Keshon Gilbert added 19 points, but San Diego State shot 51.7% as a team to negate their efforts. UNLV has now fallen to 16-9, 5-8 in the Mountain West.

Keshad Johnson and Nathan Mensah had their way offensively, as Victor Iwuakor seemed to be lost early on in the game. However, UNLV, as a unit, underperformed on defense. Even when UNLV finally managed to get a stop, Gilbert blew a transition layup, and David Muoka fumbled the put-back. If there was any play to describe the first half of this game, that was it. San Diego State immediately went back down the floor and got a layup from Johnson.

San Diego State had four offensive rebounds, while UNLV had four total rebounds. Gilbert was called for a flagrant foul for hitting Johnson on the arm on a layup attempt. It was a bizarre call, which only added to UNLV’s miserable start.


San Diego State went on a 14-0 run, with most of the points coming from dunks. There was very little resistance from the UNLV defense. This one already looked like it was over, with nine minutes remaining in the first half.


UNLV vs Colorado State
Photo Credit Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

In addition to the nightmarish start, Gilbert struggled with San Diego State’s press. So much so that Kevin Kruger had to sub for the veteran Jordan McCabe. Kruger, during a timeout, told his guys, “You have to play harder. You have to play harder.”

At halftime, the score was San Diego State 43, UNLV 23. The scoreboard made it seem closer than it was. UNLV went the final 8:45 without a field goal. SDSU had six dunks, while UNLV had six total field goals. UNLV also had zero assists and seven turnovers. A brutal half for the Rebels.

Harkless was doing all he could, as he had 14 points, but no other Rebel had more than four points. Somehow, trailing by 20 at halftime seemed like a blessing for UNLV.


The Rebels had the lead down to 14 to open the half. However, they would falter as the Aztecs regained control.


Photo Credit: Kyla LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Gilbert and Mouka fought back down the stretch as Harkless fouled out. However, the Aztecs were too dominant on both ends of the court at home. The final score read San Diego State 82, UNLV 71. It was a non-competitive game from tipoff to the final buzzer.

Adam Seiko diced the Rebels up for 18 points on six threes. The Aztecs were +19 on the boards, which included 18 offensive rebounds. San Diego State also shot 12-28 (42.9%) from three and 51.7% (31-60) overall.

UNLV received minimal offensive production from its starting lineup aside from Harkless and Gilbert. The trio of Iwuakor (zero points), Eli Parquet (two points), and Luis Rodriguez (three points) combined to score five points on 1-12 shooting.

Kruger has been at the helm for the last four matchups, but he has yet to notch his first victory in the series against San Diego State. After the game, all Kruger had to say was, “We’ve got to get better, keep working and get better.”


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


The Runnin’ Rebels will return to the Thomas & Mack and take on San Jose State Tuesday, February 14th, at 7:00 pm PT. The game will be available on MWN/SSSEN.

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-Jake Ideguchi-Furukawa – Franchise Sports Media

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