Runnin’ Rebels To Open Mountain West Tournament Against San Diego State



Quarterfinal matchup set for Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at Thomas & Mack Center; UNLV has won 10 of 12 games entering postseason


The UNLV men’s basketball team, which has won 10 of its last 12 games, will open play in the 2024 Mountain West Basketball Championship against San Diego State in the quarterfinals on Thursday, March 14 at 2:30 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center.


The Runnin’ Rebels are the No. 4 seed, while the Aztecs are No. 5. The game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.


LAST TIME OUT: UNLV (19-10, 12-6, 4th in MW) had its five-game win streak ended Saturday night in a 75-65 loss to UNR in the regular-season finale in Reno. Keylan Boone scored 24 points on 9 of 16 shooting, including 6 of 12 on 3-pointers, and Dedan Thomas Jr. had 23 points for the Runnin’ Rebels, who finished Mountain West play (12-6) with their best record since 2019-20. Rob Whaley Jr. contributed six points and a team-high eight rebounds. UNLV used a 14-2 run over a four-minute span in the second half, which included three Keylan Boone 3-pointers, to take a 48-47 lead with 11:58 to go, but UNR responded with a 17-4 run over the next six minutes and led by 12 at 66-54 with five minutes left.


RUNNIN’ REBEL LEADERS: Five UNLV players are averaging double figures in scoring this season in Dedan Thomas Jr. (13.6 ppg), who earned Mountain West Co-Freshman of the Year and second-team All-MW honors, Keylan Boone (12.2 ppg), who was named third team All-MW, Kalib Boone (11.5 ppg), who was honorable mention All-MW, Luis Rodriguez (11.0 ppg), who was named to the All-MW Defensive Team, and Jalen Hill (10.7 ppg). Rodriguez leads the team in rebounds (6.6 rpg, 9th in MW) and steals (1.6 spg, 3rd in MW), Dedan Thomas Jr. is the assists leader (5.2 apg, 6th in MW, 40th in nation), and Boone leads in blocks (1.7 bpg, 2nd in MW). Hill missed six games with a wrist injury and returned at San Diego State on Jan. 6, but left late in the first half in that game after suffering a knee injury, which an MRI later revealed to be a season-ending ACL tear.


ABOUT THE ROSTER: This season’s UNLV squad features seven returners from last year’s team along with seven newcomers. The newcomers are made up of three Division I transfers, a junior college transfer and three freshmen. UNLV has 10 upperclassmen, including five fifth-year seniors. A total of four players on the roster are playing in their hometown of Las Vegas. The Runnin’ Rebels returned two starters in Luis Rodriguez and Justin Webster, who averaged 10.7 and 8.2 points per game last season, respectively. Rodriguez led last season’s team in rebounding (5.7 rpg).


ABOUT THE OPPONENT: San Diego State (22-9, 11-7, 5th in MW) enters Thursday’s game having dropped two straight games, including at UNLV on March 5 (62-58). The Aztecs’ last game was a 79-77 overtime loss at home to Boise State on Friday night. Prior to the loss to the Runnin’ Rebels, SDSU had won two straight games, four of its previous five and six of eight. Two SDSU players are averaging double figures in scoring: MW Player of the Year Jaedon LeDee (20.5 ppg, 1st in MW/28th in nation) and Reese Waters (10.5 ppg). LeDee is also the team’s rebounding leader (8.2 rpg, 3rd in MW), while Darrion Trammell leads in assists (3.2 apg) and Lamont Butler leads in steals (1.6 spg, 4th in MW). As a team, San Diego State ranks 23rd in the country in 3-point percentage defense (30.6), 25th in field-goal percentage defense (40.6) and 30th in scoring defense (66.3 ppg). SDSU went 32-7 overall last season, including 15-3 in MW play. The Aztecs won the 2022-23 regular-season Mountain West championship and also won the league tournament. SDSU went on to advance to the national championship game of the NCAA Tournament. Led by head coach Brian Dutcher, SDSU has nine upperclassmen on its 17-man roster.


LAST TIME AGAINST SDSU: UNLV defeated then-No. 19 San Diego State 62-58 on March 5 in its regular-season home finale at the Thomas & Mack Center. Dedan Thomas Jr. broke a 58-58 tie, nailing a deep step-back jumper with 18 seconds left and then sealed the game with two free throws with 6.5 seconds to play. The win marked the Runnin’ Rebels’ fifth-straight victory and 10th in their previous 11 games. It was also the team’s fourth win of the season against a ranked opponent, marking the first time UNLV has defeated four top-25 teams in a single campaign since 2012-13. Thomas Jr. led all scorers with 19 points, also adding three rebounds and three assists, while Keylan Boone recorded his third double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He made a game-high four 3-pointers, had a career-high-tying four blocks, tallied a team-high four assists and recorded two steals. The Aztecs had four players score in double figures, led by Elijah Saunders’ 14 points. The Runnin’ Rebels held Jaedon LeDee, who entered the game as the Mountain West’s leading scorer and 17th in the nation at 20.8 points per game, to just 12 points on 2 of 12 from the field. UNLV held San Diego State to just 8 of 35 shooting in the first half (22.9%). The Aztecs finished the game at just 28.1% (18 of 64). UNLV out-rebounded San Diego State 42-36 and led in points in the paint by 10 (22-12).


BROADCAST INFO: Thursday’s game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network with Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas and Evan Washburn calling the action. Jon Sandler, former Runnin’ Rebel Curtis Terry and Steve Cofield will handle the UNLV radio call, which may be heard live on ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas and worldwide on SiriusXM 381. All streaming links and live stats are available at and through the UNLV Rebels App.

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Runnin' Rebels To Open Mountain West Tournament Against San Diego State
Runnin' Rebels To Open Mountain West Tournament Against San Diego State