For the first time in 13 years, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels advance to 2-0 in the Mountain West after coming off a conference season opening victory against Colorado State. Although the Runnin’ Rebels offensive rebounds were not as well in the first half of the game as they were in the second, mixing up coverage and defensive adjustments spoke volumes in the Thomas & Mack Saturday night and separated the Rebels from the Cowboys. UNLV defeated Wyoming 68-56
Freshman forward Joel Ntambwe led the Rebels with a career high of 31 points and 10 rebounds, for his fourth double-double of the season. Since Jovan Mooring, Ntambwe is the only other rebel to score 11 of 17 from the field including 3-of-3 on three pointers, and also 6 of 7 at the free throw line. Following the game Ntambwe said, “The last game I was kind of struggling because it was my first conference game and my first time playing at that level. Like my team mates I was like bro you got to go in and play so I went ahead and did what I have to do. My teammates told me to just keep shooting and keep it simple, and that’s all I did.”
UNLV used a 26-4 run during the second half to turn a six point deficit into the largest lead of the game with only 8:28 left. UNLV senior guard Noah Robotham and sophomore guard Amauri Hardy combined had 14 assists with only four turnovers. After allowing Wyoming to shoot 50 percent from 3 point range in the first half, UNLV held the Cowboys to just 33% than 22% in the second half, outscoring Wyoming by 14. Although there were nine lead changes and one tie throughout the game, the Rebels out-rebounded the Cowboys with 17 total assists on 22 made field goals.
UNLV will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico for their first Mountain West road game of the season. The game will be televised on ESPN Jan. 8 at 8pm PT.