UNLV fell short, 73-68, to the Fresno State Bulldogs, failing to achieve their late comeback of the game.
The Runnin’ Rebels struggled defensively early to open the game, allowing the Bulldogs to open the game on an 8-1 run.
Bryce Hamilton and Royce Hamm Jr. both hit from outside the arc to get the offense going.
The Runnin’ Rebels kept the Bulldogs on their toes, controlling the tempo of the ball game pressing full court.
David Muoka gave Hamilton a high screen to give Hamilton the open lane to the basket to euro step around his defender for the easy finger-roll layup.
The Runnin’ Rebels continued to attack the basket, leading 18-12 halfway through the first half.
On the fastbreak, Josh Baker made a bounce pass to Donovan Williams for the quick hop step to the basket for the layup.
The Runnin’ Rebels became careless with the basketball, giving up fouls and meaningless turnovers, allowing the Bulldogs to close the first half with a 10 point lead, 33-23.
Williams drove to the basket and could not convert the layup, but Hamm Jr. was there to clean up the mess with a putback layup to open the second half.
The Bulldogs opened the second half on a 12-8 run.
Hamilton caught the ball from the three-point line and drove to the basket for the tough and-1 layup, but could not convert the following free throw.
This game was tip for tap. The Runnin’ Rebels would sink a shot from beyond the arc and then the Bulldogs would answer by making a three-pointer.
The Runnin’ Rebels could not cut them for the rest of the game.
“I thought it was a really good fight by our guys, ” head coach Kevin Kruger said. “We just turned it on a little late. We had a little bit of a stall, but in the last seven minutes there was a good fight to get back in it and make it a one possession game.”
Hamilton led UNLV with 24 points while Williams had 15 points. UNLV shot 42.1 percent from the field.
The Runnin’ Rebels will hit the road to face the San Jose State Spartans on Jan. 17 with the game starting at 6 p.m.