The Runnin' Rebels 2015-2016 season that started out with so much promise, but quickly spiraled out of control once conference play started, has come to an end after a 95-82 loss to the Fresno State Bulldogs in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
Fresno State would score the first basket of the game, hit their first seven shots and never trail, as their size, depth, and experience was too much for the shorthanded Rebels who faded in the second half.
To UNLVs credit, despite the Bulldogs hot shooting, the Rebels were able to keep pace and went into half time only trailing by five, 35-40. Unfortunately, that would be as close as they would be able to get.
In the second half Fresno State attacked the post with their two big men, Karachi Edo and Terrell Carter, knowing that UNLV, specifically Stephen Zimmerman, needed to avoid picking up fouls. Carter would finish the game with 13 points, while Edo would tally 12 of his own, all of which came in the second half.
The only semblance of hope for the Rebels in the second half came when the Bulldogs star guard Marvelle Harris picked up his fourth foul and was forced to the bench. The Rebels would get the next three baskets, cut the lead to 66-59, but couldn't get any closer, as the veteran Fresno State squad stuck to their game plan, and used their size to score easy baskets in the post and push the lead back to double digits and seal the victory.
UNLV star sophomore guard Patrick McCaw led the Rebels, as he had a game high 28 points. An injured Jerome Seagears, playing in his last college game of his career, finished with 17 points while Freshman Stephen Zimmerman chipped in 13 points of his own. Zimmerman, possibly playing in his last college game as well.
Julien Lewis, who finished with a team high 27 points, while Marvelle Harris finished with 16, paced the Bulldogs.
For Fresno State, they have earned a date with Colorado State on Friday in the semi-finals.
For UNLV, while the season might be over, the real drama is just beginning as the administration will begin their search for a new head coach to try and lead the Runnin' Rebels back to national relevance.
Here's one last Patrick McCaw steal and score for the season. Hopefully there are many more next season.
Patrick McCaw gets one of these per game pic.twitter.com/VPngPokkJB— Mike Grimala (@MikeGrimala) March 11, 2016