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UNLV vs. Indiana final score: Rebels win for losing

The Rebels may have lost their first game in the Maui Invitational against UCLA, but they ended up with arguably a better win when they faced a ranked opponent in Indiana. The Runnin' Rebs leave Maui 2-1.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

UNLV looked more relieved than overjoyed as they walked off the court in Maui in their final of three games of the Maui Invitational. They came away with a victory (even if it came in the consolation bracket). They won by three points, 72-69, but for much of the game, they dominated No. 13 Indiana's stagnant offense. If it were not for their continued free throw woes - most evident in the last minute of the game - the Rebs likely could have won by double digits.

Most of the credit for UNLV's win will go to Patrick McCaw and Ike Nwamu and this credit is due.  Particularly in terms of McCaw, No. 22 was the Rebels' most consistent player throughout the tourney.  But in this game, the credit should also be shared with Ben Carter.  Carter poured in 16 points and provided some excellent post moves to make a case to be a regular starter for the Rebs in the future rather than come off the bench.

Even though the Runnin' Rebels came away with a win, there were some glaring problems that will need to be addressed in the very near future as UNLV's non-conference schedule will continue to be rough.  Free throws need vast improvement, because 11-20 is not going to cut it (especially in tight games).  Also, the Rebs need to be more cautious with the ball; this was best exemplified in the last 30 seconds of the game when a wild in-bound pass turned the ball over at a crucial time and led color commentator Bill Walton to say:

The Rebels end the tournament 2-1, and they nearly beat UCLA in the opening round.  They now go onto face a very winnable game against Prairie View A&M before tackling a much tougher test against the Oregon Ducks.