Runnin’ Rebel Report
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UNLV beats No. 15 New Mexico despite scoreless game from Moser
The stars were aligned for the Runnin’ Rebels on Saturday night as they put together their most fundamentally-sound game of the season against No. 15 New Mexico.
Jerry Tarkanian, former Orlando Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy, National League Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper and Chumlee from Pawn Stars watched UNLV’s 64-55 handling of the Lobos.
It seems as if the Mack has now become the Staples Center of college basketball.
The 17,738 fans were as rowdy as ever to support their Rebels who were coming off two horrible road losses. They knew this team needed a win, and it wouldn’t be easy against the No. 15 team in the country.
Well, UNLV made it look easy by holding New Mexico to just 34 percent from the field and 18 percent from beyond the arc.
Anthony Bennett continued his stellar freshman season by finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks and two steals, while Anthony Marshall finished with 11 points, six assists and three steals of his own.
Katin Reinhardt and Bryce DeJean-Jones nailed deadly three-pointer after deadly three-pointer all night long to deny any chance of a New Mexico comeback.
Lobos head coach Steve Alford, a former standout at Indiana and a product of Bobby Knight, was frustrated the entire game as his team never kept it close against the Rebels.
When Alford wasn’t pacing down the court with his left hand on his hip while his right hand flailed through the air in frustration, he could be seen barking at the refs while displaying the antics of his former college coach.
Only this time, no chairs were thrown in the process.
Alford watched his Lobos be completely outmatched as UNLV led by as many as 16 points in the second half.
Things were so bad for the Lobos that Nick Banyard managed to airball a free throw toward the end of the second half as New Mexico attempted its feeble comeback.
Think about it for a second. It was just Banyard and a completely uncontested 15-foot shot, and he managed to miss everything.
That’s pretty tough to do.
Chants of “overrated” were bellowed by the fans as the game reached its closing minutes, and Khem Birch’s vicious rejection of New Mexico’s Cameron Bairstow brought the crowd to its feet as UNLV sealed its most important victory of the season.
As the final buzzer sounded, a gigantic, collective weight had been lifted off the Rebels’ shoulders.
After two straight losses, including one to the conference’s worst team, this win was huge. UNLV dominated the No. 15 team in the country, and did it in every facet of the game.
All of this while Mike Moser and Justin Hawkins combined for just eight minutes and zero points all night.
The Rebels’ win proved they have what it takes to be one of the best in the country.
You don’t dismantle one of the best teams in college basketball without being legit.
UNLV was in desperate need of a major win after its miserable road trip, and the Runnin’ Rebels got it done on NBC Sports in front of a national audience.