Khem Birch was forced to sit out UNLV’s final exhibition game with Adams State on Tuesday night with a painful turf toe injury.
You’d probably have a tough time convincing the Portland State Vikings of that fact after Birch scored 13 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked four shots to help the Runnin’ Rebels to a 67-48 victory Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in the season opener for both teams.
UConn transfer Roscoe Smith had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and Kevin Olekaibe added 14 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the second half that broke the game open and increased UNLV’s lead to 56-41.
The Rebels (1-0), who led by just one point, 29-28, at halftime, outscored the Vikings, 31-12, in the first 14½ minutes en route to a 60-41 advantage and cruised home from there despite shooting just 46.4 percent (13-of-28) at the free throw line.
Check back later at MyLVsports.com for player quotes and video highlights from the game.