Neither team shot particularly well Wednesday night. It was pretty ugly for the most part. Utah State shot an extremely poor 16 of 52 from the field while UNLV didn't fair much better going 21 of 55. Guard Deville Smith led the Rebels in scoring with 18 points, going 4 of 7 from three point range. Roscoe Smith once again finished the night with a double-double putting up 13 points to pair with 14 rebounds. Outside of these two, the Rebels didn't get any major contributions on the night. A contrast to most of their better games this season, where multiple players would finish in double figures.
More than anything, it was a stout defensive effort that won this game for the Runnin' Rebels. They held Utah State to a season low 42 points, continually forcing the Aggies into difficult shots and not giving them anything easy. Utah State led the game early on, but the Runnin' Rebels went on a 10-2 run to go up 24-19 and then scored the final 10 points before halftime to lead 34-24 at the break.
Jarred Shaw had a solid outing for Utah State, leading the Aggies with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Unfortunately the Aggies were out-rebounded 44-29 and made just 2 of 17 3-point attempts while UNLV went 7 of 22 from beyond the arc. Outside of junior forward Danny Berger, Utah State got little to no contributions from their bench, managing a mere 7 points and 5 rebounds Wednesday night.
It's definitely encouraging to see Runnin' Rebels put up such a solid defensive effort as UNLV has shown the potential of scoring on offense for most of this season when necessary. The Rebels will have to start clicking on all cylinders if they hope to find themselves in the NCAA Tournament. Hopefully this win is a step forward for a UNLV team who has performed much better on the road than at the Thomas and Mack Center this season.
Utah State will now return to Logan to prepare to face No. 7 San Diego State (17-1, 6-0 Mountain West) Saturday 11:00 PM ET, while UNLV will remain in Vegas to get ready for Fresno State (8-2, 1-6 Mountain West) Saturday 10:05 PM ET.