RUNNIN’ REBELS BACK HOME ON WEDNESDAY
The UNLV men’s basketball team will face Utah State at 8:05 p.m. at Thomas & Mack Center
The UNLV men’s basketball team will host Mountain West newcomer Utah State on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 8:05 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center. It will mark the Runnin’ Rebels’ first home game since Jan. 8 and will be the first meeting with the Aggies since both were members of the Big West Conference in 1996.
The Runnin’ Rebels are coming off a split in arguably their toughest road trip of the season: a 76-73 win at New Mexico last Wednesday in The Pit, and a 63-52 loss on Saturday at No. 7 San Diego State at Viejas Arena. Prior to the loss at SDSU, UNLV had won eight of its last 10 games and were 5-1 in contests played away from the Thomas & Mack Center.
Wednesday’s game vs. Utah State will be televised on CBS Sports Network with Dave Ryan and Pete Gillen calling the action. Jon Sandler and Robert Smith will handle the radio call, which may be heard on ESPN Radio 1100/98.9 FM. A radio broadcast listen link and Gametracker will be available at UNLVRebels.com.
After six straight games at home to open the season, UNLV played two road games during its “Rodeo Road Trip,” losing a close one at then-No. 2 Arizona (63-58) on Dec. 7, then beating Southern Utah on Dec. 14 in Cedar City, which started a seven-game win streak. In the loss to the Wildcats, the Runnin’ Rebels held what is now the nation’s top-ranked team to its second-lowest scoring output of the season and its fourth-closest game in terms of margin of victory.
Roscoe Smith, who leads the nation in rebounding average with 12.4 rpg, is second in the country in double-doubles with 12. He had just one in two seasons at UConn. Smith grabbed 10 or more rebounds in the first six games of the season (now 14 of 18) with totals of 19, 21 and a career-high 22. Birch, who has eight double-doubles this season (18th in the nation), is fourth in the country in blocked shots with 3.6 per contest. He has had double-figure rebounding totals in nine games and has blocked at least four shots in a game nine times this season. Dejean-Jones leads the team in scoring with 15.0 ppg (third in Mountain West play at 21.0 ppg), while Smith (12.0 ppg, 12.4 rpg) is second on the team in scoring and is averaging a double-double. Birch is just shy of averaging a double-double (11.2 ppg, 9.6 rpg). Senior guard Kevin Olekaibe is the fourth Runnin’ Rebel in double figures at 10.4 ppg.
UTAH STATE (12-5, 2-3 Mountain West)
UNLV (11-7, 2-3 Mountain West)
DATE: Wednesday, January 22, 2014
TIME: 8:05 p.m. PST
SITE: Tarkanian Court, Thomas & Mack Center (18,500), Las Vegas
TV: CBS Sports Network (Dave Ryan, Pete Gillen)
RADIO: ESPN Radio 1100 AM/98.9 FM (Jon Sandler, Robert Smith)
ONLINE: Radio (audio) & Gametracker at UNLVRebels.com