The Marvin Menzies era at UNLV didn’t start the way that everyone had hoped it would, but started the way just about everyone figured it would, with a season opening loss to the South Alabama Jaguars 76-68.
The Jaguars would score the first basket of the game, but the Runnin’ Rebels would quickly counter, taking control early and jumping out to an early 16-10 lead. However, that would not last as South Alabama was able to consistently exploit the size disparity in the post, regain the lead, and head into the break with a 34-30 advantage.
The second half would be much more the same.
With 7 minutes left, and UNLV trailing by five, Senior Tyrell Green hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to two, but the Jaguars answered, using their size and depth advantages to mount a 7-0 run, and put the game out of reach for good.
UNLV’s Christian Jones led all scorers on the night with 20 points while also snagging 13 rebounds, logging his first of what will likely be many double doubles. Sophomore guard Jalen Poyser also chipped in 17 points, on an inefficient 3-11 shooting, including 0-3 from 3-point range.
South Alabama was led by their senior forward Don MeupoKelly, who notched a double double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The most telling, and ominous statistic on the night was South Alabama’s advantage on glass, specifically on the offensive side. The Jaguars were able to secure 14 offensive rebounds, which they converted into 16 second chance points, and contributed to them dominating in points in the paint, with 46 to UNLVs 28.
While all is not lost on the season, this is a young, new team, that will continue to improve as the season progresses, they are going to need to find a remedy for their rebounding woes. With December dates against Oregon, Duke and Kansas looming, this team is going to face much bigger and better competition and if they are going to have any hope of not getting blown out in those games they will have to limit their disadvantage in the post.
Here’s post game press conference with Christian Jones, Kris Clyburn and coach Menzies:
Up next for UNLV:
The Rebels will look to notch their first victory of the season on Wednesday against UC Riverside.