RENO – The hits just a keep on coming for UNLV’s basketball team.
The Runnin’ Rebels retained their spot in the Mountain West Conference’s basement Wednesday night with their fifth straight loss, this one a record 104-77 setback to in-state rival Nevada.
The 27-point loss was UNLV’s worst ever to the Wolf Pack dating all the way back to the very first meeting between the two schools in 1962 when Nevada won, 71-51.
It also marked the first time since 2010 that Nevada hit the century mark in regulation against a Division I opponent. Ironically, that was a 100-92 victory over New Mexico State coached by current UNLV coach Marvin Menzies.
“I feel really disappointed for our fans and for Vegas because I know how significant this game is,” Menzies said on UNLV’s postgame radio show. “I wish that we could have given a better overall effort.”
Playing before a Lawler Events Center record crowd of 11,841, the Wolf Pack (19-5, 8-3 Mountain West) raced out to an 18-6 lead in the first five minutes and led by as many as 24 points (58-34) in the first half en route to a 58-39 halftime lead.
The 58 points were the most surrendered in a half this season by UNLV (10-15, 3-9), topping the previous high of 52 scored by Duke in a 94-45 loss to the Blue Devils on Dec. 10 at the T-Mobile Arena.
“You can’t give a team like this in an environment like this a 19-point lead at halftime,” Menzies said. “I like the way we hung in there in the second half until the last few minutes.”
The Runnin’ Rebels got as close as 14 points, 73-59, on a Jalen Poyser fast break layup with 10:32 to go but the Wolf Pack quickly built the lead back up to 22 points (88-66) in the next three-and-a-half minutes and cruised home to the victory.
WHO STOOD OUT: Senior guard D.J. Fenner scored a career-high 37 points for the Wolf Pack, including 24 in the first half. Fenner finished 12-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range, and also grabbed six rebounds. Sophomore forward Cam Oliver finished with 25 points and nine rebounds while sophomore swingman Jordan Caroline added 11 points and 11 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season.
Junior point guard Jovan Mooring led UNLV with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting to go with eight assists and four turnovers while sophomore guard Kris Clyburn came off the bench to score 14 points, including 2-of-2 from 3-point range, in 19 minutes of action.
— UNLV Basketball (@TheRunninRebels) February 9, 2017
QUOTES TO NOTE: “You’ve got to try and find silver linings after games like this because, lets face it, the reality is that we’ve lost five games in a row. We’ve got talent that hasn’t clicked together yet. We’ve got guys that are still playing individual basketball. We’ve still got some issues that I think can still be shored up. There’s more that can be corrected than can’t.” – UNLV coach Marvin Menzies
“He was just phenomenal. The basket was really big for him. It seemed like anything he threw up went in. He played with great confidence. His ability to draw fouls tonight was really crucial. … When you make five threes, sometimes guys hunt for extra shots. I didn’t feel like he did that. To score 37 points off 15 shots, you’re not going to see many performances like that.” – Nevada coach Eric Musselman, to the Reno Gazette-Journal, on senior guard D.J. Fenner
UP NEXT: The Runnin’ Rebels return home to host San Jose State (12-10, 5-6) on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center. The game will be televised by Campus Insiders on the Mountain West Network. The Spartans won the first meeting, 76-72, on Jan. 28 in San Jose.
NOTABLE: UNLV shot 43.5 from the field, snapping a string of 12-straight games that the Runnin’ Rebels shot less than 40 percent. … Nevada finished with a 46-32 rebounding edge and a 21-9 advantage in second-chance points. … UNLV fell to 2-8 away from home including 2-6 in true road games. … The Runnin’ Rebels finished 7-of-20 from 3-point range and extended their NCAA record for most consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer to 999 games.
Click on graphics below for final stats and Mountain West standings:
— Jeremy Rincon (@Jermcon) February 9, 2017