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Runnin' Rebels look to avoid fourth straight loss Saturday night against San Jose State

After a devastating last second jumper lifted Nevada over UNLV Wednesday night, the Rebels (9-6) and Spartans (2-13) share one common trait going into the Thomas and Mack Center Saturday night. Both are seeking their first win in conference play.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The joy and euphoria of UNLV taking down the Arizona Wildcats a little over two weeks ago seems to have been long forgotten. Traveling to Wyoming and the Allen Fieldhouse back to back certainly isn't the most ideal situation for any team, but when your coming back to Las Vegas against a below .500 Nevada team, you have to go out there, execute and find a way to win. The Rebels failed to do so and that's why they've dropped three straight.

Going into Saturday's game, it's pretty obvious that UNLV is the more talented team. SJSU has yet to defeat a Division I opponent this season with their two wins coming against Bethesda and Notre Dame De Namur. A lack of depth has been a major issue among many for the Spartans. They have lost two players to season ending injuries and five others to suspensions. It's unfortunate for San Jose State, but they simply haven't had enough contributions to make up for this and as a result they have failed to compete with most teams.

Rashad Muhammad currently leads San Jose State in scoring with 13.3 points per game. His best outing came this past Wednesday against Air Force, where he put up a season high 26 points in a 78-56 loss to the Falcons. Freshman guard Darryl Gaynor has also stood out for the Spartans this season. He's seen a steady increase in minutes the past 5 games for SJSU and has managed to put up solid numbers when given the opportunity. He has averaged 8.4 PPG and 2.4 assists per game this season. If San Jose State is going to make this game interesting for UNLV, I'd expect Gaynor and Muhammad to be the ones leading the charge.

Sophomore Christian Wood and freshman Rashad Vaughn have continued to lead the way for UNLV this season. Vaughn is easily the biggest contributor on offense, leading the Rebels with 17.5 points per game. After being held to just 10 points last Sunday against Kansas, he was able to bounce back by putting up 20 in the loss to Nevada. Christian Wood also had an excellent performance Wednesday against the Wolf Pack. The 6 '11 forward put up 16 points to go with 13 rebounds on the night. We've seen these two contribute quite a bit this season, but if UNLV is going to take the next step, they will need others to step up and perform well on a consistent basis.

I expect UNLV to come away with a win tonight on their home court, but against a team like San Jose State, you would hope they win emphatically and use it as a confidence builder going forward. This game should give the Rebels an opportunity to iron some things out and prepare for the tougher slate of conference games coming up.

UNLV vs. San Jose State will not be televised tonight, but a live stream will be available on at 7:00 PM PT.