LOGAN, Utah – Freshman guard Koby McEwen scored 24 of his career-high 28 points in the second half to help lead Utah State to a 79-63 victory over UNLV on Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
It was the fifth straight loss away from the Thomas & Mack Center for the Runnin’ Rebels (8-9, 1-3 Mountain West) including a pair of neutral court defeats to Duke at the T-Mobile Center and Oregon in Portland.
McEwen connected on 5-of-7 3-pointers to help the Aggies (8-7, 2-2) shoot 61.9 percent (13-of-21) beyond the arc, including 7-of-8 in the second half when Utah State outscored UNLV, 42-32. Many of the treys came on wide open looks as the Runnin’ Rebel defense continued to struggle.
“Obviously, you can’t give up those 3’s, and most of them came in transition,” UNLV coach Marvin Menzies said. “When we get back in transition we have to match-up first and then we can morph into our zone, but we didn’t get matched-up. Our guys were running to their spots in the zone.”
Senior forward Christian Jones was the only Runnin’ Rebel to score in double figures, finishing with 17 points to go along with five rebounds. UNLV shot just 36.9 percent from the floor, including 3-of-18 from 3-point range.
The offensive highlight of the night for the Rebels was this monster slam by freshman forward Troy Baxter which came in No. 2 on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays of the day.
— UNLV Basketball (@TheRunninRebels) January 8, 2017
Unlike Wednesday night’s 77-59 home loss to Boise State when the Rebels didn’t show up, UNLV was competitive in this one. The game was tied, 48-48, before McEwen ignited a 31-11 run by the Aggies, scoring 11 straight points. Utah State sank six consecutive 3-pointers in the barrage.
“It feels like the basket is the ocean and you are throwing rocks in it,” McEwen, who was 9-of-10 from the floor in the second half, including 4-of-4 from 3-point range, said. “It’s like your not going to miss.”
McEwen’s 28 points tied Utah State’s true freshman scoring record set by Jaycee Carroll against UC Santa Barbara in 2005.
“He was a difference-maker,” Menzies said.
The loss dropped the Runnin’ Rebels into 10th place in the Mountain West ahead of only winless San Diego State (0-3).
UNLV, which has dropped seven of its last 10 games, returns to action on Tuesday night when it plays at New Mexico (9-7, 2-2) at 6 p.m. on ESPN3.
Click on graphic below for final stats: