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Wolf Pack Preview: Nevada Basketball hosts intrastate rival UNLV on Wednesday

The Pack have won its last 15 MWC games at home.

NCAA Basketball: Nevada at St. Mary’s Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Nevada (11-8, 4-3) vs. UNLV (11-9, 6-1)

When: Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 8 p.m. PST

Where: Lawlor Events Center

TV: CBS Sports Network

Matchup Series: UNLV leads 60-29


Nevada men’s basketball (11-9, 4-3) returns home to take on intrastate rival UNLV (11-9, 6-1) in the first game of the annual Silver State Series.

The Rebels have been victorious in seven of its last eight games, including three straight. They earned a 99-78 victory over the New Mexico Lobos on Saturday. Bryce Hamilton led UNLV with a career-high 35 in 30 minutes off the bench.

UNLV has totaled 71.9 points per game this season — including 78.4 points in its last eight games. The Rebels place No. 8 in the conference in that scoring, one spot behind the Wolf Pack, who average 73.9 points per game.

Amauri Hardy leads UNLV at 14.8 points per game, shooting 39.5 percent from the floor and 34.5 percent from deep.

NCAA Basketball: UNLV at UCLA
UNLV Rebels guard Amauri Hardy (3) is defended by UCLA Bruins forward Jalen Hill (24) and guard Chris Smith (5)
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hamilton (12.9 ppg) and Donnie Tillman (11.3 ppg) are the only other double-digit scorers among active players for the Rebels. Elijah Mitrou-Long (12.9 ppg), a graduate transfer who previously played at Texas, broke his thumb in a practice following its Nov. 30 matchup versus Cincinnati. The expected timetable for his injury was 6-8 weeks and is expected to return either later this month or in early February.

Hamilton is shooting 45.2 percent from the floor and 30.0 percent from beyond the arc. He is third on the team in rebounding at 4.5 rebounds per game, while T-2 with Tillman in offensive rebounding at 1.6 per game.

The 6-foot-4 guard has only starting in three of the 20 games he’s played in this season. He has provided a key scoring punch while in a sixth-man role off the bench. In the 17 games he’s played off the bench, Hamilton is averaging 13.2 points on 48.3 percent shooting in 21.9 minutes per contest.

Tillman is second on the team in rebounding at 5.3 rebounds per game. Cheikh Mbacke Diong (9.3 ppg), standing at 6-foot-11, leads the Rebels in rebounding at 9.0 boards per game.

Diong is also a strong rim protector. His blocks per game (1.4) and total blocks (28) both rank within the Top-3 in the conference.

The Wolf Pack, who are 1-6 (.143) this season when losing the rebounding battle, will have to do a strong job on the glass versus the Rebels. UNLV hauls in 39.3 rebounds per game, only trailing Utah State (41.2 rpg) for most in the conference. The Rebels rank No. 12 nationally with a plus-8.7 rebounding margin and are T-21 in offensive rebounding with 13 per game.

Nevada is coming off a 69-58 loss to now No. 4 San Diego State, the only remaining unbeaten team in Division-I. Jalen Harris led Nevada with 19 points on 7-of-16 shooting.

Harris is second in the conference in scoring at 18.4 points per game. He has eclipsed double-digit scoring in 15 consecutive games, averaging 19.9 points per game in that span.

The 6-foot-5 guard is averaging a conference-best 22.3 points per game in MW play on 50.9 percent shooting. Harris leads the team in rebounding (6.3 rpg) and second in assists (3.8 apg).

Jazz Johnson is second on the team — No. 6 in the conference — in scoring at 16.9 points per game. He leads the conference in total three-pointers (62) and three-pointers made per game (3.3).

Johnson’s 43.1 three-point field goal percentage is the best in the conference among players who have shot at least 100 three-pointers.

Lindsey Drew (11.6 ppg) is the only other double-digit scorer for the Pack. He is shooting 48.3 percent from the floor and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc. Drew leads the team in assists (4.4 apg) and is second in rebounding (6.1 rpg).

Projected Lineups:



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Nevada looks to improve to 12-8 on Wednesday.