It's been routine for the Runnin' Rebels this season to give strong performances against quality teams and to reel off a couple victories against the lesser opponents, before giving an extremely poor performance that makes you question whether they belong in the NCAA Tournament. Examples of these would include an early season blowout loss to UC Santa Barbara and back to back home losses to Air Force and Nevada. Last Saturday was no different as UNLV was taken to overtime by Fresno State (8-13, 1-7 Mountain West) on their home court. If not for a critical three pointer from Bryce Dejean-Jones with less than a minute to play, the Rebels would've added yet another inexcusable loss to their resume.
Roscoe Smith, the nation's leading rebounder coming into the game averaging 12.2 per game, grabbed 15 boards and put up 12 points. Guards Deville Smith and Bryce Dejean-Jones each scored 13 points for the Runnin' Rebels, with Smith finishing the night with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. UNLV lead this game from start to finish and dominated just about every aspect of it. This is the kind of performance the Rebels need to have if they want to be taken seriously down the stretch.
Forward Jeleel Williams was one of the few bright spots for San Jose State, scoring 16 points and grabbing nine rebounds for the Spartans, who shot an abysmal 28.8 percent from the field, making just 3 of 21 3-point attempts. Freshman guard Rashad Muhammad added 13 points going 5 of 13 from the field with 3 rebounds.
It doesn't get any easier for the Spartans as they will now travel to New Mexico to face the Lobos (16-4, 7-1 Mountain West) Saturday night in The Pit.
UNLV will face a much tougher opponent in Bosie State (15-6, 5-3 Montain West) this Saturday at the Thomas and Mack Center. Most of UNLV's major slip-ups have occurred at home this season so if they want to avoid another let down, the Rebels must bring their A-game and expect nothing less of the Broncos.