Runnin’ Rebels Fall In Maui Invitational Opener To No. 14 North Carolina, 78-51


UNLV raced out to 13-0 lead to start the game, but Tar Heels proved to be too much Monday night in Asheville, North Carolina


The UNLV men’s basketball team raced out to a 13-0 lead over No. 14 North Carolina in the opening round of the Maui Invitational, Monday night at Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville, but the Tar Heels ended up winning going away, 78-51.


The Tar Heels (2-0) had four players score in double figures, led by RJ Davis’ 16. North Carolina’s Leaky Black pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.


Runnin’ Rebel junior guard Bryce Hamilton led the team in scoring with 15 points, marking his 21st straight game with double-figure points. Sophomore guard Caleb Grill added 10 points for UNLV (0-2).


UNLV started the contest making all five of its field-goal attempts, including three 3-pointers, while North Carolina went scoreless for the first 6:16 of the game (0 of 8 from the field).


THE TURNING POINT: After starting the game 0 of 8, North Carolina made 7 of 9 from the field and used a 19-7 run to cut its deficit to one. The Tar Heels closed the first half on a 15-3 spurt to lead 37-30 at the break. North Carolina then started the second half outscoring UNLV 13-1 to take a 50-31 lead.


STAT OF THE GAME: UNLV made just 3 of 21 3-point attempts in the second half, finishing the game 8 of 37 (21.6 percent) from deep.


QUOTABLE: “We were building our confidence offensively by the great job we started doing defensively. We were very intentional, our guys were in the right spots and we were able to play with a little more pace and flow to our offense. As the game wore on, they picked up the pressure, brought some presses, some traps, denied entries more on the wings and we didn’t do the job we needed to do to be stubborn to get open. We didn’t cut well enough to put ourselves in great position and eventually it pushed us out on the floor and we were running our offense at 35-40 feet, which is a challenge. We have got to do a better job using our competitive spirit on every cut, every catch, every pass, especially against a team with the size and length of North Carolina.” – UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger



– The tournament was moved to the mainland because of the COVID-19 pandemic and was played with no fans in attendance.

– Grill led UNLV in made 3-pointers, making three for the second straight game.

– North Carolina more than doubled UNLV’s free-throw attempts (32-15). UNLV made just 7 of 15 from the free-throw line, while the Tar Heels went 21 of 32.

– North Carolina shot 41.7 percent from the field (25 of 60), while UNLV was at 29.0 percent (18 of 62).

– North Carolina outscored UNLV 32-18 in points in the paint and 21-9 on second-chance points. The Tar Heels’ bench outscored UNLV’s 25-12.

– This marked the sixth all-time meeting between the two schools in men’s basketball. North Carolina now leads the all-time series 5-1.

– This is UNLV’s fourth all-time Maui Invitational appearance and the loss dropped the Runnin’ Rebels’ to 5-5 in the event.

– UNLV has made at least one 3-pointer in a NCAA-record 1,104 straight games.


NEXT FOR THE RUNNIN’ REBELS: UNLV will face either Alabama or Stanford on Tuesday, December 1, at 6:30 p.m. PT. The game will be televised live on ESPN2, while the radio broadcast may be heard on ESPN 1100 Las Vegas

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Runnin' Rebels Fall In Maui Invitational Opener To No. 14 North Carolina, 78-51