After an 89-81 scare at Southern Utah, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels are looking to win their second straight road win of the season. Marvin Menzies knows the difficulty of road games, which showed late in the second half of their win in Cedar City, Utah, on Wednesday.
“Every road game is a challenge,” Menzies said. “I’ve been doing this 36 years. You get a road win, that’s big. I don’t care. There are going to be people complaining that we didn’t win by enough, and that’s fine. But we got it done and anytime you can get a road win, it’s a valuable thing, especially for the young guys to go through that experience.”
UNLV’s next game is going out of state to face Arizona State.
Some of the noticeable challenges UNLV will face is big men missing, that is Christian Jones and Cheickna Dembele with foot injuries. In the three games Jones and Dembele have played, they're averaging 14.0 PPG and 7.0 RPG and 1.3 PPG and 2.0 RPG, respectively. It looks like Jones will be out much longer than Menzies anticipated, possibly in a week or two, while Dembele should be back soon, hopefully against Duke on December 10th. They need the young guys to step up and fill the roles of 'Big Man on Campus'.
The Runnin' Rebels are filled with young guys, six freshmen to be exact. Menzies was especially pleased to see the bench perform the way they did. “I was proud of the young guys that got off the bench and gave us some contribution and some different positions and some good minutes … and it was valuable experience for them," he said.
UNLV continued their trend of fouling in key situations, tarnishing 21 fouls which saw Kris Clyburn fouling out and Jaylen Posyer playing only 24 minutes, getting zero points in he first half. Even though Clyburn was in foul trouble, he managed to be perfect from the field, shooting 6-6, including 3-3 on threes collecting 15 points. If Poyser steps up and plays conservative basketball, he should have no problem staying in the game longer.
Jovan Mooring improving every game
Menzies was impressed Mooring and his tenacity stepping up with his 16 points and five assists. "You’ve just got to watch him,” he said. “You just know. It’s a different gleam in his eye.” The Chicago native stepped up on the road when the Runnin' Rebels needed him the most. “I’m not used to playing on the road in front of a crowd like this," he said. "The gym’s pretty small, but it can get really loud. I think we did a good job of (facing) adversity on the road. It was a lot of times Coach was calling the play, and I couldn’t hear him. They were barking at me. Sometimes in Division I basketball, you have to make plays because no game is perfect."
Uche Ofoegbu returns
After missing last game with an illness, Ofoegbu returns to the starting lineup averaging 7.2 PPG and 4.5 RPG. He pure athleticism and strength was missed last game. Expect him to be in double figures for tonight's game.
Tip-pff is at 5 p.m. (PT) and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.