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Bryce Dejean-Jones leads Runnin' Rebels past Fresno State 75-62

While UNLV Football came up short against North Texas in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Years Day, the Runnin' Rebels tipped off conference play with a win at Fresno State. Improving to 10-4 on the season.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

There were many moments where it appeared the Rebels would take full control of this game and put it out of reach for Fresno State, but the Bulldogs consistently found a way to answer. Keeping it competitive for most of the game. The difference would ultimately be junior guard Bryce Dejean-Jones who scored a career-high 24 points, answering a 6-0 Fresno State run in the second half. UNLV eventually found themselves ahead by double digits and never looked back.

Sophomore guard Marvelle Harris was a definite bright spot for the Bulldogs, putting up 25 points (19 in the first half) and grabbing 7 rebounds. He played with a lot of energy and provided a spark for the Bulldogs whenever it was necessary. 6-1 guard Cezar Guerrero was also a solid contributor for the Fresno State, adding 16 points to go with 8 assists and 5 rebounds.

Junior forward Khem Birch played an important role for the Runnin' Rebels as well, scoring 14 points in addition to 17 rebounds and four blocked shots, while Roscoe Smith continues his impressive season, putting up 13 points and 12 rebounds for his nation leading 10th double-double.

UNLV has now picked up their 7th straight win and appears to be a much improved team compared to what they were earlier this season. Shot selection and free-throw execution were some of the biggest issues that plagued the Rebels early on, but they have definitely made strides in both categories and I credit that to head coach Dave Rice addressing these issues head on.

The Runnin' Rebels will undoubtedly have tougher challenges ahead of them in conference play this year, but this was a good way to get things started. They'll now return home to face the Air Force Falcons Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center.