The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels fell to the San Jose State Spartans 75-66 at the Thomas and Mack Center to make their record (16-10) overall and (5-9) in Mountain West Conference play on Feb. 14.
The Rebels were led by Elijah Harkless, who totaled 19 points in the game. San Jose State was led by Trey Anderson, who totaled 19 points and shot five for seven from three.
The Rebels started the game on an 8-2 run, five points coming from Harkless and a three from Justin Webster. San Jose State quickly answered with a 10-2 run capped off with a 3-pointer from Tibet Goerener to take a 12-10 lead with 14 minutes left in the first half. The Rebels rebutted with a layup by Shane Nowell, making it 12-12
San Jose State took a 24-22 lead midway into the first half. The Rebels found themselves back on top after Keshon Gilbert made a free throw after drawing a foul on a made jump shot.
The Spartans went on a 7-0 run to put them on top with a lead of six at the back end of the first half. The Spartan’s run was answered with a Jordan McCabe 3-pointer and Harkless layup, cutting the deficit to 40-36 at the end of the first half.
Harkless led the way with nine points for the Rebels in the first half. Trey Anderson led the way with 14 points for the Spartans, shooting four for five from behind the arc.
“Trey Anderson shot the eyes out of it,” said Head Coach Kevin Kruger.
At the beginning of the second half, the Rebels and Spartans exchanged points back and forth, bringing the score to 44-40. Shortly after, the Spartans went on a 10-6 run, expanding their lead to eight midway into the second half.
Nowell and Gilbert made shots in back-to-back possessions, creating a 5-0 run and cutting the deficit to four.
Goerner answered the Rebels’ run with two 3-pointers in a row, creating a 10-point lead for San Jose State.
With just under eight minutes remaining, the Rebels went silent, going scoreless for over four minutes. The Spartans took control of the game after a 9-0 scoring run led by Goerner, extending the lead to 14 with just under five minutes remaining.
After trailing by 14, the Rebels changed to a full-court press and drew some fouls. Then, they went on a 6-0 run, cutting the deficit to seven with 2:20 to go.
The run proved to not be enough for the Rebels. The Rebels struggled offensively in the second half. The Runnin’ Rebels made 8-31 shots from the field in the second half compared to the Spartans’ 10-23 shooting, including their six 3-pointers.
“Just gotta get moving,” said Kruger. “We had a lot of really good possession, then it just didn’t have its final touch to it.”
The Rebels will look to bounce back on the road against the Boise State Broncos on Feb. 19. As the push goes on for a first-round bye in the Mountain West tournament, the Rebels sit at 5-9 in Mountain West play with four regular games left.
The Rebels fell to Boise State by 18 points in the 84-66 loss at home in this season’s previous matchup. The Broncos are entering the matchup against UNLV, having won five of their last six games.
The Boise State Broncos are (20-6) overall and (10-3) in Mountain West Conference play. The Broncos are tied with the Nevada Wolfpack for second place in the Mountain West Conference standings. The Broncos have been a tough team to play on the road. Boise State has an 11-1 record in games played at home in the 2022-2023 season.