Tre’Von Willis’ 25 points help the Rebels beat the Salukis 78-69
The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels got their third win in three tries after defeating the Southern Illinois Salukis 78-69, in the Mountain West Conference-Missouri Valley Conference Challenge on Saturday night.
The Rebels, for the third straight game, got off to a slow start as the Salukis came out scoring and sustained a lead until nine minutes left in the first half. Even after catching up and claiming the lead, the Rebels were unable to hold onto it as they were down 37-34 at the half.
“SIU is tough,” head coach Lon Kruger said. “I thought they were a little more physical than we were early, then our guys figured out a little bit of that going into the second half.”
The game went back and forth for the first eight minutes of the second half before the Rebels went on a 9-0 run to take a 65-56 lead with seven minutes to play. They eventually extended their lead to 12 off of a jumper from Chace Stanback with four minutes left in the game.
The Salukis never were able to comeback as the Rebels handed them their first loss of the season.
Tre’von Willis led UNLV in scoring, shooting 8-11 for 25 points. He also led the team in rebounding with seven. Matt Shaw came off the bench to pitch in 13 points and Derrick Jasper had 11 and a team high seven assists.
“We have so many guys that can just come out and score 20 points a game,” Jasper said. “It was the freshmen last game that got us back in the game. Now tonight Tre’Von came out and played with extreme swagger and aggression.”
UNLV shot 56 percent from the field and 77 percent in the second half, while holding their opponents to 35. They also managed to out-rebound SIU 38-29.
The Rebels’ 20 assists almost doubled the Salukis’ 11.
“That is a result of getting great shots,” Kruger said about the second half shooting percentage. “Really moved the ball well, they drove and found teammates, made good plays for each other and stepped up and knocked them down.”
The next game for the Rebels comes on Wednesday against the Holy Cross Crusaders (0-4). The game will be their fourth straight home game and will be at 7 p.m.
The Rebels will host Louisville Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack.