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UNLV Returns To The Thomas & Mack to Face Incarnate Word

Runnin’ Rebels look to bounce back after tough loss to Duke.

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

Let’s face it. UNLV lost to arguably the best college basketball team in the country Saturday to Duke at the T-Mobile Arena. From the moment Duke made their first shot, it was over. They were bigger, faster, stronger and showed the experience that embodies them to get to the Final Four.

The Runnin’ Rebels committed 21 turnovers and made 16, yes, 16 field goals (16-54). 29 percent of made field goals will not win you a game. Jalen Poyser was the lone Runnin’ Rebel to score in double figures with 16 points.

Poyser was especially dismayed by the dominance Duke showed on Saturday.

“We have to turn it up a notch, obviously,” Poyser said. “Really key in on boxing out, rebounding, taking care of the ball, being able to play with pressure. We’re just going to attack it in practice, get better, and come Wednesday we’re going to try to perform better than we did today.”

The Runnin’ Rebels face a team from the Southland Conference in Incarnate Word (5-3, third in the Southland) tonight at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Looks like Dwayne Morgan (shoulder) and Christian Jones (ankle) will be out tonight, per Menzies. Jones will miss his sixth game of the season dealing with a foot/ankle injuries while Morgan will miss his second game, his first since the season opener recovering from offseason hip surgery.

If UNLV wants to win the in rebounding category, Cheickna Dembele needs to play more minutes now that he’s back from his foot injury. He played 17 minutes while snatching five boards with no points. Expect Marvin Menzies to start him tonight as they need to get him ready for a big road matchup against Oregon on Saturday.

Uche Ofoegbu will be the difference maker come Wednesday as he only had seven points and two rebounds. Poyser is the true leader of this squad, but Ofoegbu has more experience and strength to power his way in the stat column.

Incarnate Word keys players

Shawn Johnson is averaging 19.3 ppg and 9.4 rpg and three double-doubles. He will probably be matched up with Ofoegbu, who committed two fouls to the Blue Devils and will have to rely on his athleticism to maintain pressure on Johnson.

Devin Wyatt is a 6’8 transfer from Loyola Marymount University and New Mexico Junior College. He comes into his first season for the Cardinals averaging 6.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg and has 25 blocks. Dembele has to make sure to box out and not commit too many fouls in the paint. He only committed one foul to Duke, but that was only in nine minutes of play. Expect to see Dembele attack down low and and secure the rebounds.

Game Prediction

Incarnate Word is riding a three game winning streak, while UNLV has lost two straight. For the Cardinals, they haven’t won a road game this season, while the Runnin’ Rebels have lost twice at the Thomas & Mack (South Alabama, TCU). Ofoegbu will drain treys from all over the floor and light it up from the free throw line. If UNLV doesn’t turn over the ball a lot and makes more than half of their shots, they should have no problem getting a victory. UNLV wins 80-65.