After an extremely disappointing 29 point loss last night against Stanford, there was a lot of question as to how UNLV would come out Saturday night against the Temple Owls and if they would be able to bounce back. While it was ultimately a low scoring game and the Rebels struggled at times get anything going offensively, they came out of halftime strong, took the lead and kept Temple at bay for the remainder of the game.
The Runnin' Rebels were led by Christian Wood, who scored a career high 18 points to go with 13 rebounds and four blocks. He was clearly the best player on the floor for the Rebels overall and had the largest impact on a night where the team failed to capitalize on Temple's miserable offensive performance, particularly in the second half. The Owls finished the night shooting just 22% as a team.
Following his poor performance Friday night against Stanford, freshman guard Rashad Vaughn once again failed to get anything going against Temple. Shooting just 2 of 10 on the night, his defense didn't inspire a whole lot of confidence either. Vaughn was constantly beat off the dribble and ultimately found himself on the bench for long stretches in the second half in favor of fellow freshman Pat McCaw who had a very solid night finishing with 7 points and perhaps the biggest play of the night. Pulling away from two Temple players on the fast break and scoring to put UNLV up 53-48 with 50 seconds to go.
Senior guard Cody Doolin was also a key contributor for the Runnin' Rebels. Finishing with 10 points and 5 assists. His impact on this UNLV team goes far beyond the stat line. Doolin plays with a tremendous amount of energy and is not afraid to get in his teammates faces when mistakes are made. When the Rebels appear to be at their best, they are in sync with Doolin and his willingness to distribute the ball. If they can get it going on a consistent basis with the talent on the floor, the Rebels will be a tough team to stop offensively.
UNLV is a young team, and it's been pretty obvious watching them 4 games into the season. But it's definitely encouraging to see them mount a steady comeback after facing an early deficit. The Runnin' Rebels trip to Brooklyn might not have turned out the way they had hoped, but they will come out of it with more experience and that should be very helpful for a team like UNLV going forward.
The Runnin' Rebels will return to the Thomas and Mack Center next week to face the Albany Great Danes (1-1) next Saturday at 7:00 PM.