Rebels Leash Lobos in Game 1 of Doubleheader

Image courtesy of Las Vegas Review Journal

Shortly before today’s tipoff against the New Mexico Lobos, UNLV men’s coach T.J. Otzelberger announced that junior guard Marvin Coleman had suffered a stress fracture in his right leg, and will miss the remainder of the season.

A crushing blow for a team who desperately needs all of the talent on its roster, the news is even more painful when considering how well the young man played against New Mexico last season wherein he recorded the program’s first triple-double in over 20 years with 11 points, 12 boards and 11 assists.

Out with injury, his team would carry the load in his stead.

The first half of play was a fast paced affair which saw the Runnin Rebels controlling much of the action. Coach Otzelberger’s team continues to play hard, engaged basketball. They play smothering defense, and with offensive threats abound, they’re an absolute blast to watch in half-court sets.

UNLV finished the first half of play with an 11 point lead on 15 of 29 from the field, and 5 of 15 from downtown as they looked to familiar faces in Bryce Hamilton, Caleb Grill and Cheikh Mbacke for scoring. Rebel fans also witnessed what appeared to be Nick Blake’s coming out party. A Las Vegas native, the 6’6″ freshman guard would shoot 6 of 9 from the field and 4 of 6 from deep, pouring in 18 points.

The Rebels’ coaching and leadership is a thing to behold. Fortunately this is true for both the men’s and women’s programs. Like Lady Rebels coach Lindy Laroque, coach Otzelberger and his staff are constantly communicating and providing direction.

UNLV would play well in the second half as the Lobos ratched up the offense. While New Mexico would take several trips to the charity stripe, the Rebels were a team determined. Cutting drives to the basket coupled with solid shooting and any team should fare well. The stat that jumps out the most and speaks the loudest is the points in the paint as UNLV would have 34 to New Mexico’s 16.

A scary moment came at the 10:21 mark in the second half as Cheikh Mbacke would set a hard sceen on New Mexicos Emmanuel Kuac sendining him to the ground and causing him to leave the game. The rebels would go on to win the match 54 to 77.

This Rebel squad has been sidelined with on and off the court issues and still continues to play confident Mountain West basketball. Today’s game is the first half of a douhle-header agains the Lobos who suit up again against the Rebels at the Thomas & Mack Center Monday at 6:30 PST.