Image courtesy of The Las Vegas Sun
After painful back-to-back 3-point losses to Colorado State University to enter conference play, the UNLV Runnin Rebels took on St. Katherine’s in a matcuhup at their illustrious home arena, the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Rebs enter todays game 1-6 on the season and winless in Mountain West Conference play.
Despite a litany of on and off-the court issues, coach Otzelberger’s Rebels have remained focused in every outing this season.
While many expected the 33 day hiatus from play due to COVID-19 protocols to have negatively affected the team’s performance, they played hard, structured basketball against a red hot Colorado State team last week.
The upward trend would continue into the first half of play against St. Katherine.
Shooting 40% from deep and over 58% from the field, the Rebels smothering defense and offensive efficiency would glide them to a 20 point lead to end the the first half of play. Three players would round out the half with double digits including the much-needed Cheikh Mbacke who poured in 17 first half points on 8 of 11 attempts.
The second half was a lot of the same. The Rebels, beaming with confidence, played like a team whose record betrays them.
Fast cuts, hard drives, earned boards and forced turnovers are always cherished attributes; but when you factor in shot-making, any opposing team is sure to be in a world of trouble.
At one point the Runnin Rebs were slinging cross-court fast-break passes, behind-the back assists, and alley-oops to each other while up 53 points, and with 7:35 left in game.
With additional help from the supporting cast of Marvin Coleman, Caleb Grill and Moses Wood, coach Otzelberger and his staff have to be pleased with their team’s performance as they secure their second win on the season with a 95-34 final score.
The Rebels return to conference play Saturday, January 16th at 2:30 PST against the New Mexico Lobos in a double-header series at Tomas & Mack. Game 2 is to be played Monday, January 18th at 6:30pm PST.