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UNLV vs Sam Houston State final score: Runnin' Rebels win an ugly game, 59-57

Rashad Vaughn led the way with 18 points – on 19 shots – but it was all about UNLV’s defense for a second straight game. Sam Houston State 30.4 percent from the field, and UNLV got a least second stop to improve to 2-0.

Ethan Miller

LAS VEGAS – UNLV turned in another subpar offensive performance, but the Runnin’ Rebels got their second win of the season with a 59-57 over Sam Houston State.

"We proved we can win ugly," Cody Doolin said.

UNLV scored .81 points per possession, shot 44.2 percent on free throws and got outrebounded 53-39, but the Rebels are 2-0. Last year UNLV scored under .9 points per possession four times and lost all four times.

"Our defense was phenomenal," Doolin said. "It carried us again tonight. We have a week of practice before our next game, we’ll be working a lot on our offense."

For the rebounding, don’t get worked up about total rebounds. Rebounding percentages are much more important. Sam Houston State had an offensive rebounding percentage of 40 percent. That’s 10 points higher than what UNLV allowed last season, and Sam Houston State had one player over 6-feet-7.

The Bearkats had a chance to win the game on a final possession, but Dakarai Henderson’s open three missed; Jabari Peters grabbed the offensive rebound over Doolin, but couldn’t get a shot off before time expired.

Box Score Highlights

  • UNLV was 12 of 27 from the free throw line. Doolin and Rashad Vaughn were the big surprises going 2 of 7 and 2 of 5, respectively.
  • Goodluck Okonoboh registered six more OkonoBLOCKS, giving him 13 in his first two games.
  • Cody Doolin was more aggressive offensively, as he took seven shots and scored 10 points. His point total should have been higher with the missed free throws.
  • Jelan Kendrick came out with 16:18 left in the second half and never re-entered. Kendrick started, but played just 14 minutes. He was a team-low -22 for the night.
  • Expect Patrick McCaw to enter the starting lineup soon. The freshman played 19 minutes and is versatile enough to play four positions.
  • Kendall Smith saw just three minutes on the floor, while Jordan Cornish, playing in his first career game, logged 11.
  • UNLV held Sam Houston State to 30.4 percent shooting, but the Bearkats missed a lot of open threes, including the potential game-winner. Sam Houston State was 9 of 36 from deep.

Quotable

"I’m smart enough to say we are going to shoot some more free throws," Rice said.

"I don’t think I’ve ever won a college basketball game where we scored 60 points or less. Two games in a row is pretty awesome defense," Doolin said.

"It’s just what I do," Okonoboh said of his 13 OkonoBLOCKS in two games.

"Our guards did not do as good a job of rebounding the ball tonight as they did in the Morehead State game," Rice said. "They missed 27 three-point shots, so there are a lot of long rebounds. That is where our guards had to do a better job."

Analysis

Cody Doolin has played a ton of minutes in two games. UNLV has only been without the point guard for eight minutes this season. Rice said he’d like to have Doolin playing 32-34 minutes, but the situation called for him to play 39 minutes. Rice has to be careful; in the post-game press conference his point guard looked like he got in a fight. Doolin had to get his arm taped due to a scratch during the game. But UNLV’s offense is not ready for Doolin to sit on the bench for long.

Rashad Vaughn is going to have a ridiculous usage percentage after two games. The freshman again led the team in scoring, but it took him 19 shots to get 17 points. The Rebels have to find some consistent offense from someone else.

Sam Houston State shot 36 threes because they were open. The 1-2-2 zone got stretched out, and UNLV’s guards were scrambling to recover. Good ball movement and screens on the bottom two in the zone can get open shots. But so far UNLV’s defensive efficiency is incredible.

Video

Dave Rice's opening statement

Patrick McCaw, Goodluck Okonoboh and Cody Doolin

What’s Next

UNLV will travel to New York to take part in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Runnin’ Rebels will take on Stanford on Friday, Nov. 21. The following day UNLV will take on either Duke or Temple.

Stanford is 2-0 this season with wins over Wofford (74-59) and South Dakota (84-73). So far Stefan Nastic is averaging 20 points on 74 percent shooting this season to lead Stanford.