The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels were defeated on the road by the San Diego State Aztecs 82-71 on Saturday, Feb.11. The Runnin’ Rebels are now 16-9 overall and 5-8 in the Mountain West Conference.
Adam Seiko led the Aztecs in points coming off the bench with 18 points knocking down six 3-pointers in the game.
EJ Harkless and Keshon Gilbert contributed to the majority of the Rebels’ points, combining 43 points in the defeat.
Keshad Johnson started the game by making his first three shots, giving the Aztecs an early 8-4 lead. Johnson averaged 7.9 points per game and scored nine points within the first six minutes. In the previous game against the Rebels, he scored zero.
Seiko contributed to the Aztecs offense making back-to-back 3-pointers. Seiko finished the half with three 3-pointers and nine points.
The Aztecs followed Seiko’s 3-pointers with a 14-0 run to extend their lead to 30-11 midway through the first half.
“There was some momentum where we were on our heels a little bit and San Diego State was the aggressor,” Coach Kruger said. “There were a couple plays in the first half where they were able to get on that run where we were just on our heels.”
Harkless broke the Aztec run with a 3-pointer bringing a bright spot to the Rebels’ offense making his first three shots of the game and cutting the deficit to 3-11. Harkless scored 14 points in the first half.
A flagrant foul by San Diego State gave the Runnin’ Rebels momentum in the backend of the first half and led to UNLV cutting the SDSU lead to 33-19.
SDSU on offense and defense overpowered UNLV for the remainder of the half. UNLV did not score for the last 8:45 of the first half. SDSU finished the first half with a 43-23 lead.
The Runnin’ Rebels got a 5-0 run early in the second half led by a turnover and fastbreak layup by Harkless to cut the deficit to 48-34.
The Aztecs immediately countered the UNLV scoring run with one of their own. The Aztecs had a 10-0 scoring run to make the score 58-34 midway through the second half.
“They are incredibly selfless,” Kruger said. “When a guy makes a mistake they rotate and you think you got an opportunity to get an advantage they rotate, they fight for each other, and they are consistent with that.”
The Runnin’ Rebels were unable to stop the Aztec offense in the second half and the Aztecs finished with an 82-71 victory.
The Runnin’ Rebels will return to the Thomas & Mack for their next matchup against the San Jose State Spartans on Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. The Runnin’ Rebels lost to the Spartans 75-72 in their first matchup this season.