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Recap: UNLV tops UC Riverside 74-62

On Wednesday night, in front of a sparse Thomas & Mack crowd, the Runnin’ Rebels secured the first win of the Marvin Menzies era, with a 74-62 win over UC Riverside. 

NCAA Basketball: South Dakota at UNLV Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Out of the gate, it appeared we would be seeing the same cold shooting Rebels that we saw during the first game against South Alabama, as they would only score 4 points through the first five plus minutes of game action. Those four points were both made jumpers by forward Christian Jones.

Fortunately for UNLV, Jalen Poyser would catch fire from 3-point range and hit his next three attempts in a row, pacing the Rebels to an 11 point half time lead, 37-26.

Coming out of the break, the Rebels appeared to have the game in control, extending their lead to 15, before UCR would begin to chip away, eventually taking a 50-49 lead after a made 3-pointer by Riverside guard Dikymbe Martin.

Christian Jones would answer on the ensuing possession, hitting a 2-point jumper, giving UNLV a one point lead.

Three minutes later, with UNLV up 58-54, new comer Jovan Mooring would hit the 3-point dagger, extending the Rebels lead to 61-54. UCR would never get within eight points for the rest of the game.

Jalen Poyser would lead all players, with a huge 20 point game, shooting an efficient 7 for 11, including 4 for 7 on 3-pointers. Christian Jones chipped in 13 points, on 6 of 8 shooting.

The Highlanders were paced by junior forward Alex Larsson, who finished with 14 points.

Game Observations:

  • Rebel fans got their first glimpse of freshman center Cheikna Dembele. While he only played 7 minutes, he showed the flashes of why he was so heavily recruited. He finished with four points, three rebounds and one block, but his presence as a rim protector was instantly noticeable on the defensive end. Rebels fans should be excited about Dembele’s future.
  • Rebel fans also got their first look at freshman forward Ben Coupet Jr and he is another player that Rebel fans should be excited about. He brought energy off the bench, logging 17 minutes which saw him score 8 points, while chasing down a team high 7 rebounds.
  • Kris Clyburn’s shooting struggles continue. For the season, he is now 5 for 20 (0-5 from three) after shooting 2 for 8 on Wednesday night. If the Rebels are going to have any success against the more talented teams on their schedule, Clyburn is going to need to find his shooting stroke.

Up Next:

The Runnin’ Rebels will look to improve to 2-1 on Saturday night against Cal State Fullerton (2-0).

Here are the full game highlights for those of you that couldn’t watch: