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Recap: UNLV throttled by Duke

The Blue Devils hammered the Runnin’ Rebels 94-45 Saturday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena.

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

When this game was scheduled, it was one that many, if not all UNLV fans circled on their calendars. A rematch with the Runnin’ Rebels arch rival from the 90’s, featuring teams loaded with 4 and 5 star recruits, and both with aspirations of deep NCAA Tournament runs. All of those remain true for Duke, but not for UNLV.

After the unusual mid season firing of head coach Dave Rice, the terribly handled head coaching search, which featured the even more usual hiring and resigning of a head coach, and the mass exodus of players, it was not expected that UNLV would keep this close. And while a blow out was expected, the sports books had the Rebels as 22 point dogs earlier in the week and it jumped to 24 leading up to the tip (also won by Duke), no one expected the Runnin’ Rebels to lose by 49.

"We ran into, if not the best, one of the top (teams). That's a Final Four team. I am disappointed we weren't able to put our best foot forward. I know I have better players than that. This is one game. It is what it is. We will be fine." Said coach Marvin Menzies after the loss.

Duke opened the scoring two minutes into the game on a made free throw by Allen and quickly raced out to 20-3 lead, taking a 42 to 26 lead into half time. Unfortunately, things would only get worse, as Duke would hang 52 second half points on the Rebels, and continue to dominate in every facet of the game.

On the night, the Blue Devils shot almost 60% from the field, compared to just under 30% for UNLV and controlled the boards, out rebounding the undersized Rebels 40 to 29.

The Blue Devils finished with four players scoring in double figures, with Junior Grayson Allen leading all scorers with 34 points. He also provided the highlight of the night throwing down this thunderous dunk:

Jalen Poyser was the lone Rebel to reach double figures, notching 16 points in 31 minutes.

And while this was pretty disastrous on all fronts, there was one bright spot:

This game shows just how much farther these young Rebels and their first year coach have to go if they are going to compete with the likes of the blue bloods of college basketball, and it’s going to be a long hard road back to national relevance.

Coming up

UNLV has four more games before conference play opens up, with the first of those coming on Wednesday night against Incarnate Word (5-4). After that it’s a tilt with the 24th ranked Oregon Ducks, followed by Southern Illinois and then the 3rd ranked Kansas Jayhawks. Yes, you read that right. UNLV’s last non conference game is against a team that has already beaten Duke this season.