Falcons force Runnin’ Rebels back to .500

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UNLV No. 15 Luis Rodriguez shoots the ball against Air Force. (Scarlet & Gray Free Press/DJ Cabanlong).

UNLV Men’s basketball struggled against Air Force Falcons at home losing 90-58 to make its record 9-9 overall and 2-4 in conference on Jan. 23.

“There are no words for this, I have no words,” UNLV Head Coach Kevin Kruger said. “There are a million things going through my brain right now, we will use this and just kind of figure out what we can do differently.” 

The victory for the Falcons was its first conference win of the season. 

Ethan Taylor and Luke Kearney contributed to the Air Force win, splashing nine 3-pointers. 

Rytis Petraitis had a triple-double for the Falcons, totaling 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Justin Webster was a bright spot for the Rebels, knocking down two from deep and leading the team in scoring with 14 points. Webster’s game got cut short due to an injury.

UNLV No. 2 Justin Webster being helped carried off the court after sustaining an injury. (Scarlet & Gray Free Press/DJ Cabanlong).

Air Force took the early lead with a 3-pointer by Taylor and Beau Becker, to make the score 8-2.

The 3-point ball continued to rain for the Falcons. Air Force splashed six from beyond the arc within the first 10 minutes, four by Becker and two by Taylor. 

UNLV struggled to shoot going 5-15 from the field and 0-6 from deep to quickly fall behind to Air Force 27-10 midway in the first half.

With just under five minutes remaining in the first half, Webster made the first 3-pointer for the Runnin’ Rebels. He followed it up with a smooth drive to the basket to make the score 33-15. 

UNLV continued to pick up momentum with Webster and Keylan Boone draining a pair of 3-pointers late in the first half however the Rebels entered the half with a steep hill to climb down 39-24.

“It was just like coach said, we dug ourselves a hole and never really got back out,” Junior Rob Whaley Jr. said.

The Falcons hot shooting night continued into the second half starting 5-5 from the field including a 3-point ball by Taylor to bring the score 53-31. 

UNLV’s offense continued to look stagnant, going on a five minute scoring drought until Keylan Boone made a layup with 12 minutes left to go. After 10 minutes of play, the Rebels were shooting only 30.8% from the field. 

The Falcons simply could not miss, shooting 9-14 11 minutes into the half. Kearney drained back-to-back 3-pointers and Petraitis added another one to extend the Falcons lead to 69-39. 

The back end of the second half was more of the same for the Rebels, the shots were not falling and the Rebels were 0-8 from beyond the arc and 5-20 overall.

Air Force cruised to victory defeating the Rebels 90-58.

Up Next

UNLV will travel on the road to take on the San Jose State Spartans on Jan. 27 at 6 p.m.

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