UNLV was already at a disadvantage entering its Saturday matinee against BYU. The Rebels were without two starters and has been struggling all season to score points. Saturday was a game where everything came crashing down for the Rebels, as the Cougars won easily 83-50.
“It was an unacceptable effort by our guys,” Otzelberger said after the loss. “That’s not good enough, efforts not good enough, energy wasn’t good enough.”
It was another game where the Rebels struggled to score. 50 points was the lowest amount of points scored for UNLV in the short T.J. Otzelberger era. UNLV took a lot of threes and missed a lot of threes. The Rebels were held to under 30% from three (7 of 24). The were not much better from the field, as they only shot 35% and missed 37 shots.
Amauri Hardy, who had been UNLV’s most consistent scorer this year, had his worst game of the season. He only mustered nine points in 37 minutes, his lowest point total of the year. His shooting struggles continued, Saturday marked his seventh game this year of shooting under 40% as he shot 3 of 11 (27%) from the field.
The one thing that is at the top of every scouting report for BYU is three-point shooting, and that was a glaring difference on the stat sheet. BYU hit 14 of 27 three pointers, 52%, and five Cougars were better than 40% from three. It was not the only difference, BYU went 55% from the field and 85% from the free throw line, (11 of 13, compared to UNLV’s 3 of 8).
“We were shocked by their pace, don’t know why other than that, Otzelberger said on what got the Rebel defense off guard. “If you really want to win, you compete in everything you do. That was a non-competitive effort. We have to make sure our guys understand what that looks like.”
Donnie Tillman went to the bench early for the Rebels with two fouls, and the Cougars took full advantage. After Tillman picked up his second foul, BYU went on a 16-5 run to push its lead to 14 midway through the first half.
The deficit snowballed and grew to 20 late in the first half. It would remain at over 20 for the rest of the game, with its largest lead at 38.
Tillman was the only bright spot for UNLV, he finished with 13 points, four rebounds, and three assist. Tillman had half of UNLV’s assist. The Rebels moved the ball early, but when the went down, they stopped moving the ball.
Nick Blair, who was the only other UNLV player besides Tillman to score more than nine points. had 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Rebels.
Dalton Nixon lead the Cougars in scoring with 17 points off the bench. Nixon was one of four Cougars to score in double figures. In his second game of the season, Yoeli Childs had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
Otzelberger is glad they have time off to get back to work. He said that he is glad they will have a lot of time to practice for the team to develop better habits.
The Rebels will have a week off for finals before they return to the Thomas and Mack Center for five straight home games. Their next game is Wednesday, December 18th against Pacific.