Runnin’ Rebels take down Hawks for back-to-back wins

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Keshon Gilbert (10) hugging Donovan Williams after the Runnin' Rebels win over Hartford where Williams scored a career-high 32 points. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

The Runnin’ Rebels defeated the Hartford Hawks 95-78 Saturday afternoon at Mandalay Bay.

This was the first-ever meeting between the Runnin’ Rebels and the Hawks.

The Runnin’ Rebels shooting percentage for the game was 51.9 percent from the field.

To begin the game, Royce Hamm Jr. won the tip-off.

The Runnin’ Rebels moved the ball around the perimeter of the arc until Jordan McCabe found Bryce Hamilton open for the three-point shot.

Defensively, the Runnin’ Rebels shut down the paint. Hawk D.J. Mitchell went for the layup, but Hamm Jr. was there for the big block, his second in three minutes.

The Hawks opened the first half on a 10-7 run.

The Runnin Rebels answered back by going on an 11-6 run to take a two-point lead halfway through the first half. 

The Runnin’ Rebels continued their offensive momentum to stretch the lead 32-23 with 6:44 left.

With less than two minutes to go, the Runnin’ Rebels brought the ball up the court. Donovan William pumped faked a three-pointer, drove to the basket, and passed it to McCabe who drained the corner three.

The Runnin’ Rebels led 43-35 to end the first half.

To start the second half, Josh Baker stole the ball from Hawk Austin Williams. McCabe found Hamilton on the wing to make the driving layup.

The Hawks opened the second half on an 11-3 run.

Seven minutes into the second half, Hamilton drove the ball inside and passed it down low to David Muoka. Muoka didn’t have a clear shot to the basket, so he passed it back to Hamilton for the and-1 layup, 59-46.

The Runnin’ Rebels stretched their lead 71-58 with 8:14 left in the game. 

With less than minutes to go in the ball game, Hamilton put up the jumper and missed, but Hamm Jr. was there to clean up the mess with a putback layup.

Hamilton and Williams combined for 65 of the 95 points for the Runnin’ Rebels.

“I’m really proud of the guys for fighting and competing, head coach Kevin Kruger said. “It was fun playing an early game on a Saturday and they shared the ball so well. They were having a good time out there and that’s what we want to see them doing.” 

“I just want to say thank you to them. Our fans are passionate and they are loud. They get into it. We hope to see them back at the Thomas & Mack Center next week. The guys appreciate it. They feed off of it and with the rodeo in town this was a great two games for us here. We would just love for people to come back out next week and cheer on the guys.”

Hamilton led the Runnin’ Rebels with 33 points while Williams trailed behind Hamilton with a season-high of 32 points.

Up Next

The Runnin’ Rebels will be back at the Thomas and Mack Center to face Omaha on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m.

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