The Runnin’ Rebels fell short to the undefeated San Francisco Dons 83-62 Saturday night.
UNLV struggled shooting in the second half shooting 51% from the field in the first half and dropping to 25% from the field in the second half.
The Runnin’ Rebels started off slow on offense, scoring their first points after three minutes into the first half.
UNLV rotated the ball beyond the arc. Josh Baker found Royce Hamm Jr. under the basket for an easy reverse layup.
The Dons opened the first half on a 14-4 run. The Runnin’ Rebels needed to slow down the Don’s offensive run.
With 7:50 to go, the Runnin Rebels inbound the ball and quickly gave it to Baker, who was on the other end of the court, for a driving layup, but he was fouled. Baker made both free throws, 29-20.
Defensively, the Runnin’ Rebels played a full-court man-to-man, but when the Dons passed the half-court line they played in a 2-3 zone.
The Runnin’ Rebels began to get into their offensive groove.
Baker dribbled the ball at the top of the three-point line and swung the ball to Bryce Hamilton.
Hamilton made a quick crossover to get to the basket for the easy layup to bring the Runnin’ Rebels within seven points, 37-30, with less than three minutes remaining in the first half.
The first half ended with the Runnin’ Rebels trailing 40-35.
Opening the second half, Justin Webster hit a three-pointer to start the Runnin’ Rebels offense.
Hamm Jr. checked out at the beginning of the second half as he was limping on the court due to an ankle/foot injury, but returned to the game within the first five minutes of the second half.
Hamilton stole the ball, pushed the ball up the court and drove for the layup. Hamilton missed the layup but got his own rebound to score the put-back layup with 15 minutes left in the game.
The Runnin’ Rebels continued to trail while the Dons opened the second half on a 12-8 run to put the lead at 52-43.
The Dons continued their offensive momentum stretching their lead 74-53 with 4:40 left in the second quarter.
With under two minutes left in the ball game, Donovan Williams drove to the basket and stopped at the free-throw line for a mid-range floater. But UNLV could not erase the large deficit as they fell to 4-5 on the season.
“We fought for 30 minutes, but that’s not enough,” head coach Kevin Kruger said. “The message to the team was pretty clear and is an easy one going forward.”
“That point in practice that you feel tired, that point in the game you are feeling tired- 30 minutes just isn’t enough. They made some shots early and we could have folded pretty quick but we fought back to end the first half. Again, it just wasn’t enough and it got away there toward the end.”
Hamilton led the Runnin’ Rebels with 25 points while Williams had 12 points and Baker had six points.
The Runnin’ Rebels will be back on The Strip at Mandalay Bay to face the Seattle Redhawks on Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and Hartford on Dec. 11 at 12 p.m.