Coming off a week of fast-paced and exciting offense, old problems from earlier in the season came to plague UNLV in its 86-72 loss against UNR.
The Rebels struggled to make shots, going 23 of 64 (35.9 percent) from the field. They were also cold from behind the arc, going 28 percent, (7 of 25).
The lone stars for UNLV were Amauri Hardy and Bryce Hamilton. They combined to shoot 50 percent (19 of 38) from the field, combining to score 49 points (23 for Hardy and 26 for Hamilton).
Aisde from those two, the rest of team went 4 of 26, 15 percent. No other player made more than one field goal.
After two UNLV free throws for the first points of the game, UNR went on an 11-0 run to take the lead. And they never looked back.
“We were kind of playing from behind the majority of the night,” Otzelberger said of his team’s offensive struggles. “They (UNR) hit some shots early to open the game up. We knew we were going to have some of those same shots, we didn’t hit early. And then that gave them that separation.”
All of the missed Rebel shots gave the Wolf Pack momentum in its transition offense. UNR took full advantage of the open three-pointers UNLV gave them. They hit 42.3 percent of their threes, (11 of 26).
The Wolf Pack’s defense gave the Rebels plenty of problems. They had eight steals and forced UNLV to commit 12 turnovers.
Four UNR players scored in double-figures. Jalen Harris lead the Wolf Pack with 28 points, and Jazz Johnson has 19.
“We didn’t do a great job locating them (UNR’s backcourt of Harris and Johnson) early, taking them off the three-point line and getting stops,” Otzelberger said.
A note for the Rebels is Elijah Mitrou-Long. He traveled with the team to Reno and dressed for the game. Prior to his absence, Mitro-Long was able to give the Rebels points when they needed. With his 12.9 points per game, he is still the third leading scorer on the team.
Given this group’s struggle to make shots, the Rebels desperately need some assistance on offense. And Mitrou-Long could be the help the Rebels need.
His return will not fix all of the Rebels problems, but his veteran leadership and ability to score will help.
Besides making shots, the Rebels will have to fix its transition defense in preparation for San Diego State.
All of the missed UNLV shots gave UNR opportunities on offense, but it also led to UNLV committing silly fouls. The Rebels committed 23 fouls, both Nick Blair and Marvin Coleman fouled out. The Wolf Pack did not squander its chances at the line, going 25 of 29 from the charity stripe.
UNLV falls to 11-10 overall and 6-2 in conference, which still has them in second place. The road gets tougher for the Rebels as they host undefeated, fourth-ranked San Diego State at the Thomas and Mack Center, Sunday at 1 p.m.