While its been said that the first tip-off of the season for any college team could be a potential trap game, its especially true when you factor in new faces on the roster and zero fans in the stands.
With that, UNLV appeared to be completely “out-everything’ed” in the first half of play. Good shots weren’t falling on the rare occasion one was taken, and as a result, it was the Montana State Bobcats who ended up looking like the overwhelming favorite in this matchup.
After 15 minutes of play, the Runnin’ Rebs managed to cobble together 31 points on 10 of 30 from the field, and just 3 of 12 from beyond the arc. Coupled with four fouls, two of which were on 6’2″ Guard David Jenkins Jr., the UNLV Rebels were in desperate need of energy coming out of the break along with some basic basketball fundamentals.
The 2nd half was a marked improvement for UNLV, but the same could be said for Montana State. The Bobcats’ lead ballooned to 20 which unfortunately led to some ill-advised 3-point attempts and unnecessary fouls from UNLV.
If you’re a Reb fan, it would be easy to make the argument that calls simply weren’t going UNLV’s way in tonight’s game, but one look at the box score would put that argument to bed early without supper.
Missed offensive opportunities aside, and still with 8 minutes left in regulation, the Rebels had already allowed the Bobcat’s to shoot 10 of 16 from deep and just over 62% from the field.
Feeling the heat of a season-opening upset, and the pressure of a dwindling clock, UNLV went on a scoring tare which saw the MSU lead shrink to 14. Undoubtedly, the most enjoyable stretches of Rebel basketball tonight were the faint, intermittent glimmers of what coach Otzelberger and his staff are trying to achieve which, when realized, appears to be a legitimate Mountain West contender.
After about four minutes of trading offensive punches, MSU managed again to break their lead wide open and the Rebels never recovered, finishing the evening with a disappointing 13-point loss at home.