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UNLV vs. ASU final score 77-55: Rebels lose Vaughn, fall apart down the stretch

UNLV lost Rashad Vaughn and the game.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

UNLV dropped its second game of the season and second to a Pac-12 team, losing 77-55 at Arizona State. But more importantly Rashad Vaughn went down grabbing at his lower back after scoring in the paint with 8:50 left in the game.

Vaughn didn’t get hit in the back on the shot, so this may be the dreaded non-contact injury. With their leading scorer out of the game, UNLV scored just five points the final 8:50.

Eric Jacobsen throttled UNLV in all aspects scoring 16 points on 13 shots, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out four assists.

Analysis

  • Eric Jacobsen highlighted a potential problem for UNLV when he pump faked his way to two layups in the first half. UNLV chases blocks, and that can lead to easy shots with defenders out of position.
  • UNLV’s starting lineup looked as competent as they have all season, as the Rebels jumped out to a 21-6 lead 6:54 into the game. But after that Arizona State dominated and turned a 15-point deficit into a 22-point win.
  • Kendrick played well early, which resulted in Vaughn subbing out first instead of the usual McCaw for Kendrick sub.
  • UNLV played the 1-3-1 zone for a single possession in the first half. Again Cody Doolin was the back man, and he got called for a foul under the basket.
  • UNLV switched nearly all screens, which was likely an effort to reduce Arizona State’s three-point shooting. But the Sun Devils still hit 11 of 22 threes.
  • That marks the second time this season an opponent has drilled UNLV by draining threes. Stanford was 14 of 20 from beyond the arc. Pac-12 teams are shooting 59.5 percent on threes this year; everyone else is shooting 26 percent.
  • Arizona State’s plays that have Jonathan Gilling as the secondary or tertiary option are tremendous. If a defense makes one wrong move, the right pass gets Gilling an open shot.
  • Defenses should just run Gilling off the line. He traveled twice in the first half dribbling inside the arc, and he got his fast-break layup hilariously swatted by Dwayne Morgan.
  • Doolin, Goodluck Okonoboh and Chris Wood all finished with four fouls. Plus Vaughn had three before he left the game. Foul trouble could be a huge problem for a small rotation team in UNLV.
  • Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported before the game that Kendall Smith is looking to transfer. That leaves Dave Rice with nine scholarship players, which includes Dantley Walker who hasn’t played in meaningful minutes.
  • With Vaughn’s injury yet to be determined, UNLV could have an extremely short bench. And the offense could struggle. The offense should probably focus on getting Doolin into positions to penetrate and kick.

What’s Next

It is a short turnaround for UNLV as the Runnin’ Rebels play again on Friday. But it won’t be an issue, as UNLV is playing one of the worst possible opponents, St. Katherine College. The Firebirds have one win this season over Division II Hawaii Pacific University. Last year San Diego State beat St. Katherine 118-35.

The game will tip at 7:00 p.m. PST from The Orleans Arena, as the National Finals Rodeo has taken over the Thomas & Mack.

UPDATE: Dave Rice said in post game interviews that Kendall Smith asked for his release earlier in the day. He is no longer a member of UNLV's team.