Well it wasn’t pretty, but the Runnin’ Rebels got the result they needed, fending off the Salukis of Southern Illinois, 68 to 61 Monday night, improving their record to 7-5.
With game tied at 61 and 1:09 left, it looked like the season high 23 turnovers were going to be the undoing of the Rebels. Thankfully, Tyrell Green continued his impressive early season play, knocking down a contested 3 pointer giving the Rebels the lead 64-61.
On the SIU’s next possession, Rebels guard Jovan Mooring would strip guard Leo Vincent, and streak down the court for an uncontested layup, icing the game for the Runnin’ Rebels.
For the night, Green finished with a game high 23 points, on 9 of 13 shooting, including 4 of 5 from 3-pt range. He is now averaging slightly over 14 points per game, inching closer to taking over as the Rebels leading scorer.
Kris Clyburn and Jalen Poyser also scored in double figures, with Clyburn collecting 11 and Poyser 10 points of his own. And while Poyser was able to get into double figures for the first time in the last three games, a troubling trend was still present. He’s not attempting nearly enough shots.
With just under 10 minutes left in the game, Poyser had attempted only 4 shots. Yes, the Rebels most versatile and talented scorer had only attempted four shots. Matching his total from the Incarnate Word game, and two shy of his total against Oregon. This is a trend that cannot continue if UNLV has any hopes of competing once conference play starts (or when 3rd ranked Kansas comes to town). He’s UNLV’s only real threat to shoot from deep and also drive the basketball and finish at the rim. He showed it twice last night.
Five minutes into the second half, Poyser drove into the lane, creating space for himself to hit an easy floater.
Fantastic spin move by @_jalenp15 as he sinks in the floater #UNLVmbb pic.twitter.com/mI8Z5qavDg— UNLV Basketball (@TheRunninRebels) December 20, 2016
Eight minutes later, he hit the second biggest 3-pt shot of the game, tying it at 55.
After a @Kris_Clyburn21 block, @_jalenp15 hits the HUGE to tie things up as the Runnin' Rebs force the Salukis to call a timeout #UNLVmbb pic.twitter.com/iBw8I1iE0b— UNLV Basketball (@TheRunninRebels) December 20, 2016
Both are examples of the types of plays that Poyser is capable of making on a consistent basis and the types of plays the Rebels need Poyser to attempt more than four to six times a game.
For Southern Illinois, they were led in scoring by guards Mike Rodriguez and Armon Fletcher. Each tallying 15 points apiece.
The 5’10” Rodriguez, specifically, was a nightmare for UNLV. He was consistently able to blow past his defender while also causing havoc for the UNLV ball handlers on the defensive side, logging 3 steals. This continues a very worrisome trend for UNLV as they have struggled all season defending and creating offense against smaller quicker guards. A fact I’m sure the Kansas Jayhawk coaches will make known to their 5’11” senior guard, Frank Mason III. The Jayhawks leading scorer at just over 20 points per game.
A Thursday night showdown with the aforementioned 3rd ranked Kansas Jayhawks. Tip off is set for 6 p.m. PST at the Thomas & Mack.
Here’s the full highlights from last nights win.
What an intense hard-fought game as #UNLVmbb beats @SIU_Basketball 68-61. Here's all the highlights you need from a great game! pic.twitter.com/UzQ9q9x5iH— UNLV Basketball (@TheRunninRebels) December 20, 2016