UNLV vs SDSU Recap

by Jake Runyon

Who would have guessed that Matt Shrigley would be the most important player tonight for the Aztecs?

Matt Shrigley went on a stretch midway in the second half that erased a 5 point UNLV lead, and kept the Aztecs in it.

Some clutch shots in the final stretch by Xavier Thames and Winston Shepard was enough to the put the game away.

Early in the first half, SDSU took an early 12-5 lead by capitalizing on some clumsy turnovers by UNLV’s guards. UNLV responded with a 10-0 run to take a 15-12 lead.

Turnovers continued to plague UNLV in the first half, but a couple of very clutch 3 pointers from Daquan Cook kept the game close.

SDSU went on a small run and had a 6 point lead with 2:47 remaining in the first half. UNLV responded with back to back baskets, to cut the lead to 1. Kevin Olekaibe was able to draw a foul on a 3-point buzzer beater attempt. After going 2/3 from the line UNLV somehow went into the locker room with 1 point lead despite committing 12 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

UNLV came out strong in the beginning stages of the second half and took an early 5 point lead.

Then Matt Shrigley happened.

At the 14:54 mark of the second half Shrigley knocked down his first three.

Then he hit another one at 12:52. He followed that with a driving layup on the next possession.

He then splashed in back to back threes. These 3’s were especially frustrating because UNLV was making their shots as well. Every single time it seemed like the Rebels were going to extend the lead. Shrigley answered.

At the 8 minute mark of the second half, SDSU led 56-55. BDJ went 2/2 at the FT line to give the lead back to UNLV.

Khem Birch knocked converted a free throw with 3:29 left to give UNLV a 62-61 lead.  That would be the last time UNLV saw the lead, as SDSU was able to grind the game away.

At 2:34, Winston Shepard  knocked down a huge three to extend SDSU lead to 5.


-No matter how bad he is playing, Xavier Thames always plays with so much confidence. It isn’t a question of “if” he will turn it on, but when.

-Khem Birch had a great game tonight. He ended with 16th double of the season. 16 points, 10 rebounds and 6 blocks.

-UNLV never looked comfortable bringing the ball up the court. SDSU press is good, but there is no excuse for the sloppy play from our guards.

-Christian Wood no longer plays like a freshman. That being said, he had a few too many bad shots tonight.

-Carlos Lopez-Sosa biggest problem his whole career is staying out of foul trouble. When he was on the floor tonight, he was very efficient. However, he can’t go more than 3 or 4 possessions without committing a foul.

-At the end of day, this game had very little implication on UNLV’s seeding for the MWC tourney, especially with Boise St losing to UNR. My feelings about UNLV has not changed. UNLV has just a good a shot as any other team heading into the MWC tourney.

In Defense of Carlos Lopez-Sosa

by Jake Runyon

I know Carlos. He probably doesn’t remember me personally, but I’ve spent more time around Carlos than the average UNLV fan.

In May of 2010, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime. I was offered a student manager position for UNLV basketball. Being born and raised a UNLV rebel fan, it was an easy decision.

Being a student manager was one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. From October to March, I spent just as much time at the Thomas and Mack Center as I did in my own house. Each manager was given their own unique role. There were general things that we all helped with, but for practice, we had our own assignments.

I filmed. My job was to literally sit at half court and film practice. Once practice was over, I would burn the recording onto a disk, and give a copy to UNLV’s video coordinator.

Before most practices, the court was open for us managers to shoot around. Imagine that. A lifelong rebel fan. Taking shots on Tarkanian court at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Eventually some of the players would emerge from the tunnel. Carlos was usually one of the first players out. Now, let it be known that none of the players were mean to the managers, but Carlos was one of the nicest. He would joke around with us, occasionally would school us in a game of HORSE.



(Photo Credit: LVRJ)

So today, it bothers me when I feel people unfairly go after Carlos. The key word is “unfairly”, because all players are subject to some amount criticism, but sometimes Carlos is treated as the punching bag in which fans take their frustrations out on.

Among UNLV fans, you seem to either love Carlos or hate Carlos. I love Carlos. Now sure, he isn’t the most talented player on the roster, or the most athletic, but Carlos seems to always play hard, which is more than I can say for alot of UNLV’s player.

We all know Carlos’ signature move. Face up on the defender, pass fake, when the defender gets lost  on the pass fake, Carlos slips underneath and finishes. His victims include but are not limited to Billy White, Drew Gordon and Noah Hartsock.

I feel like defensively Carlos is underrated. At times his footwork is little slow, but he has a strong upper body.

Offensively, Carlos’ impact is huge. It seems like every time he scores, it comes at a big moment, and it gets the crowd on it’s feet. **Unofficial Stat Alert** Carlos leads the team in “most times an opposing coach has called a timeout after making a FG” stat.



(Photo Credit: Las Vegas Sun)

Finally, let me end with one last point. In a generation of college basketball dominated by selfish players who jump ship at the first sign of trouble, Carlos stayed loyal to UNLV.

As a Freshman, Carlos averaged 11.7 minutes a game. He has seen that number get smaller and smaller each year. Let me remind of you recent UNLV freshman who averaged 29 minutes a game last year and decided that UNLV didn’t offer him enough to get him to the next level.

Loyalty is a rare trait in today’s college basketball. If you don’t think that Carlos had multiple opportunities to leave UNLV for a program that would play him more, you’re crazy. The fact that he stuck with UNLV despite given a decreasing role speaks volumes of his character. His frustration with his playing time is no secret to UNLV insiders, but that frustration isn’t selfishness. It comes from a real desire to help his team.

Senior night is tomorrow night and Coach Rice has announced that Carlos will start in place of injured Roscoe Smith. Good for him. We’re going to need some senior leadership if we expect to beat San Diego State.

Regardless, I hope that UNLV fans take a moment to remember what Carlos gave to our program, himself.



(Photo Credit: Runrebs.com)

UNLV vs San Diego State Preview

Do you want to know what bugs me most about SDSU? They over achieve. This year was supposed to be “rebuilding” year. Same with last year. I keep on thinking that “this year is the year that they come back down to earth.” But it never happens. I’m beginning to think they aren’t overachieving, but that they are legitimately a top 20 program. *Gasp*


Louis CK and I are both very upset about it.

Tomorrow night the Aztecs come into Vegas. Here are some tips for locals. Avoid these locations unless you actually want to deal with 4Loko fueled douche bags.

-Hard Rock Hotel
-The east side of Las Vegas Blvd. You know, the side the street with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville and the random crappy casinos.

As for the basketball Wednesday night, it could be a good one. For those that don’t remember our game with SDSU earlier this season, it was a pretty entertaining game. I would even argue to say that UNLV outplayed SDSU, but the Rebels couldn’t get anything going offensively.

Tomorrow night’s showdown should shape up to be a pretty good game as well. UNLV and SDSU boaster the most athletic players in the conference and the last few times the Aztecs have visited the Thomas and Mack Center, it has gone down to the wire. The last two games at TMC were decided by 2 points.

Here are some things to look out for:

-Will UNLV play zone defense? Against Colorado State and Air Force, UNLV featured a zone defense which worked really well. Since SDSU is not a great shooting team, the zone could be effective in limiting high-percentage shots. Force Thames and Shepard into missing shots, and let Khem, BDJ, and Christian clean up the glass.

-Roscoe Smith is out with a concussion. Expect to see Christian Wood and Carlos Lopez-Sosa to play extended minutes. I think Christian getting a major minutes will be a game-changer. His ability to stretch the floor offensively really opens things up for the rest of the offense. Defensively, he isn’t great when being posted up, but his help defense, and shot blocking ability is second only to Khem Birch.

-Deville Smith has shown moments of brilliance throughout this season, but the key stat about him that nobody is talking about is ball security. He has been very good about not turning the ball over. This will be huge against an SDSU defense that use a press.

-Josh Davis is the key player to watch from SDSU. He was biggest impact player for SDSU in the last matchup with his 8 offensive rebounds. PS, will somebody tell Josh Davis it is the year 2014, and cornrows haven’t been cool since 2005.

-UNLV is one win away from its 20th win of the season. A benchmark that every UNLV team should achieve.

My prediction: I know that I am usually a homer, and I always give UNLV the benefit of the doubt, but not this time. I hope I’m wrong. SDSU 72 UNLV 66



UNLV vs UNM recap

by Jake Runyon

I walked out the Thomas and Mack last night. I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t surprised. I was confused. I was perplexed. I just walked, silently staring into space in front of me. It was when I was almost struck by an oncoming car that I stopped my zombie-esque walk. If it wasn’t for that, I’m pretty sure I would have walked right onto the tarmac at McCarron.


The whole game felt weird. The refs called fouls on plays that shouldn’t have been fouls, and then swallowed their whistles on obvious calls. My favorite was when Cullen Neal committed a charge (uncalled), got his own rebound, traveled (uncalled), dribbled, traveled again (uncalled), and then UNM knocked down a 3 pointer.

UNM got off to a quick start and offensively, they were getting whatever they wanted. Especially Kendall Williams, who backed up his trash talking with 8 points in the first ten minutes of the game (17 at the break).

Things were the exact opposite for the UNLV to start off. UNLV could not score from anywhere, and when I say anywhere, I mean anywhere. Missed layups, shots from the elbow, wing, beyond the arc. Even free throws. If I’m not mistaken, at one point UNLV missed 6 FTs in a row. (8-18 at Halftime). In this weird 1st half, where their didn’t seem to be any ebb and flow, UNLV somehow found itself down by 9. They were fortunate not to be down by more.

The second half was a lot like the first half. It got off to this weird pace, and the officiating was just as bad but instead of UNLV being the victim, it was New Mexico. 0219_sun_unlv_new_mex004_t653

(Photo Credit: Las Vegas Sun)

After a couple missed calls in a row, UNLV turned a uncalled mugging of Alex Kirk into a fast break dunk on the other end. A frustrated Craig Neal was called for a technical foul. UNLV was able to pull within 7 points, but Kendall Williams was able to essentially put the game on ice with back to back baskets.


-What is Cameron Bairstow’s secret? He went from being a mediocre big man, to being the most dominant big man in the conference.

-Christian Wood showed some flashes of brilliance tonight. If he could get more consistent on his jump shops, he will be a mismatch nightmare for opposing defenses. 0219_sun_unlv_new_mex007_t653

(Photo Credit: Las Vegas Sun)

-New Mexico outplayed UNLV, but I feel like if the game got off to a more standard start officiating wise, and UNLV knocked just a few more FTs, that it would have been a much more competitive game.

-Demetris Morant showed why he hasn’t been getting much run in games. In the two minutes he played, he a had +- of negative 8.

-I was right about one thing; Cullen Neal is a terrible basketball player.

-UNLV is inconsistent, but I think the blame falls more on the players than the coaching staff.

-Brent Musberger stared at the Rebels Girls during their dance.

-All of the Lobo fans in the crowd (not as many as I expected), fit the cliche of UNM fans. Old, and if they weren’t old, they looked like Skinny Pete from Breaking Bad

-Kendall Williams is certified douche-bag whose face resembles a cartoon devil.

kendall-williams devil-cartoon-clip-art-540px


UNLV vs New Mexico Preview

by Jake Runyon

“Everyone’s a ‘Buzz’s girlfriend’… Woof woof woof”.

I like that version better than New Mexico’s stupid chant.

Now I won’t lie. I respect New Mexico’s fans. They are loyal to their team, and loyal to the conference, and they aren’t all meth heads. In fact, most of them are just old grandma and grandpas.

Tomorrow night the Lobos come into town, which means two things for the Las Vegas economy:

1). Casinos will make a lot of money off New Mexicans.
2). KOA Campgrounds and Circus Circus will see a boom in occupancy.

It also means that there will be a very entertaining basketball game at the Thomas and Mack.

These are what to look out for:

-The most important matchup with be Birch/Smith vs Bairstow/Kirk. It isn’t necessarily about which duo will outplay the other, but which duo will do a better job staying out of foul trouble. Smith and Bairstow are both very efficient players. Birch and Kirk are the two best shot blockers in the conference.

-All I want, more than anything, is for Cullen Neal to be on the floor as much as possible for UNM.  He cant guard BDJ or Deville. What does Cullen Neal, and my favorite breakfast food have in common? They are both toast.

-Craig Neal inherited the head coaching job at New Mexico and, apparently, everything that comes with it. I’m talking about his hair cut. Is it in his contract that he needs to have a dopey middle part like Alford? And what is up with the grey hair. He is only 50 years old.

-Kendall Williams has somehow put together a better season than he did last year, and no one is talking about it. He didn’t deserve the POY last year but somehow got it based off one game against Colorado State. It’s like the Johnny Manziel of  Mountain West basketball.

My prediction:


UNLV 70-67

An Open Letter to Rashad Vaughn

Sup Rashad,

Have you ever seen the Bachelor? It is okay if you haven’t. It is this show that white girl’s love where a some dude picks between a group of women who he wants to marry. I know, us white people be crazy.

Well, you’re kind of like the Bachelor. You have your choice between a pretty large group of schools. You’ve narrowed down your choice, and the final rose ceremony is coming up and its time for you make a decision. So let me make a case for why you should choose UNLV.

Let me start off by saying that I have nothing bad to say about Iowa State, Kentucky, or North Carolina. The only negative things about those schools are that they aren’t UNLV.

So why should you choose UNLV:

-Because Dwayne Morgan, Goodluck Okonoboh, and yourself would be like the Three Musketeers of freshman basketball players. (The three swordsman, not the delicious chocolate bar)

-Khem Birch, Roscoe Smith, Deville Smith, Bryce Dejean Jones, Kendall Smith, Daquan Cook, Jelan Kendrick, Christian Wood, Etc.

-Because Vegas is a nice place to live. But you already know that. While back east they are digging themselves out of snow all winter, here in Vegas you can go golfing.

-Because we need a scorer. Not just a shooter, not a slasher. But a person who is capable of scoring wherever, whenever,  and however. You’d have an immediate impact and role on the team.

-Because UNLV is bound to make a big run. Lets face it, UNLV has disappointed in March Madness. We’re bound to breakthrough eventually, and you can be the catalyst to make it happen.

-Because it worked for Anthony Bennett, who was in a very similar circumstance as yourself.

-Because the Thomas and Mack Center is a great place to play basketball. Rupp Arena, The Dean Dome, and Hilton Magic may have its luster, but we have fireworks. Indoors.

-Because that game you came to, the Dixie State game. That was an exhibition game, and it was a fluke. I promise.

-Because the Rebellion. Have you seen Khem Kong? If you play your cards right, you could get your own monster replica. Maybe something like Count Vaughncula, Rashadnado or Wreck It Rashad. (It only took me two minutes to come up three potential nicknames.)

-Because if you stay in Vegas, you don’t have to move cross-country. Which is probably really annoying.

The bottom line is that UNLV is  good fit for you. It is a win-win for both UNLV and for you. UNLV wins game, adds another legend, and you become part of the rebel family.

And if in the end, you don’t think UNLV is the right place for you. Thats okay. We’ll wish you success in  your collegiate and professional career, and hope that you can always think of Vegas as your home.

We’ll be waiting patiently  until Tuesday when you announce.


Jake Runyon

UNLV vs Boise State Grades

Roscoe Smith, C: It was clear from the beginning of this game that Boise State’s gameplan was to limit Roscoe Smith’s impact on the glass. They were able to get him into foul trouble, and off the floor.

Khem Birch, A: Birch did it all tonight for UNLV. 15 points, 15 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 2 steals.

Deville Smith, B: Deville is the anchor for the rebels. We do as good as he does. In the first half when he struggled, we struggled. In the second half when he found a way to make plays, everyone else made plays.

Kevin Olekaibe, A: KO was a portrait of efficiency tonight. He struggled at times defensively, but he made plays on offense; none bigger than the two late 3-pointers he hit late in the second half.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, B: Another night that Bryce struggled shooting from the field, but his impact was big defensively. He spent a large portion of the night matched up with Anthony Drmic. BDJ limited him to just 4 points, and was able to frustrate Drmic into foul trouble and eventually fouling out. 

Carlos Lopez Sosa, B+: The only bad thing to say about Carlos’ night was that he didn’t play enough. Here was every play he made:

-Shot fake, drive, layup/ foul, converts the FT
-Steal leading to points off turnover
-Travel, classic Carlos.
-On fast break, KO finds Carlos trailing, and he finishes with dunk.

Everything he did last night got the TMC to go nuts

Christian Wood, C+: My mouth waters at the future of Christian. He struggled offensively, but his impact on defense was great. With Roscoe on the bench, CW was able be effective on the glass, and he had a huge block.

Jelan Kendrick, C: He has been struggling with sickness all week, which explains his limited role.

Kendall Smith, C: Kendall has lacked some confidence offensively ever since Deville switched it into high-gear. That said, Kendall Smith did a good job defensively last night.

Daquan Cook, B-: The alleged story is that Cook got more minutes to send a message to BDJ who didn’t play well in the first half. Cook was effective in his time out there. The most important thing is that he was not a liability out there and he did a good job running the offense.

Coaching staff, B: I have never seen Dave Rice as emotional as he was last night. He was yelling more, and was letting his emotions show more than he usually does. There is no excuse for the poor effort in the first half, but the game plan was good, and the play calling in the second half was great.

UNLV vs Boise State Recap

by Jake Runyon

After the last media timeout of the game, I couldn’t help but notice the scores of fans that got up from their seats with the Rebels down by 11 and headed for exit signs.

I wasn’t the only one that noticed. Khem Birch looked around the stadium, so did Christian Wood, and KO.

For the rest of us that stayed in our seats, we got to enjoy one of the more memorable finishes at the Mack in recent memories.

The first half was a mess. I honestly couldn’t tell you what the singular problem was, but it was on both sides of the ball which leads me to believe it was more of an effort problem.

Early in the first half, UNLV caught a break when Jeff Elloriaga got injured on a drive. I’m glad the injury isn’t serious, but he had it coming to him. He was out of control on the drive which should have been called a charge, and then he came down hard on his hip.

The Broncos shot a blistering 53% from the field in the first half. Defensively UNLV couldn’t find any answers for Derrick Marks.

As is common with UNLV, our offense begins with our defense, and we are at our best when we are forcing turnovers, and forcing bad shots. We couldn’t do either and limped int0 halftime down 36-26.

The first 10 minutes of the second half was more of the same except we were finding some answers offensively and getting to the charity stripe which kept us in it.

At the 12 minute mark in the second half, UNLV was able to tie the game up at 46 after a 14-2 run. It didn’t take long for Boise State to go on a 11-0 run and “seem” to put the game out of reach.

After the last media timeout, when it seemed like All Was Lost (Robert Redford) UNLV went beast mode (Marshawn Lynch).

Khem Birch went 4/4 from FT line and got UNLV within 7. Two defensives stops, and KO 3 pointer, and a FT later, it was 3 point game.

Then Deville Smith happened.

In a ten second sequence, BSU saw there 3 point lead evaporate after a layup, steal, layup by Deville Smith.



(Photo Credit: Sam Morris/Las Vegas Sun)

Mikey Thompson had an answer to put Boise State back up by 1 with 38 seconds left.

During a 30 second timeout, Dave Rice drew up a play for Deville Smith to drive to the basket, and kickout to KO.

Splash. That shot put UNLV up for good. Derrick Marks missed a game tying attempt, and BDJ converted two FTs to put the game out of reach (and cover the spread).


-Carlos Lopez- Sosa had  some terrific minutes last night. His effort kept the team from folding and letting the game get out of reach.



(Photo Credit: Sam Morris/Las Vegas Sun)

-Deville Smith has taken the reins of this team. We go as he go.
-Khem Birch continues to wreak havoc to opposing offenses. 6 more blocks. If he doesn’t win MWC defensive player of the year, I’ll be launching a formal investigation.
-Boise State forward, Nick Duncan looked like he had spent a good amount of time at Dunkin Donuts. Ya dig?
-Mikey Thompson is looking for his wallet, if you see Deville Smith, could have him give it back. Picked his pocket.
-Hey Anthony Drmic, a 2006 emo band, they want their haircut back.



(Photo Credit: BroncoSports.com)

UNLV vs Fresno State Recap

by Jake Runyon

Remember how against Utah State, our perimeter defense was really good. Utah State is the best 3-point shooting team in the MWC, and we locked them down to just 2/17 from beyond the arc?


The Fresno State game was a lot different.

UNLV was able to stave off a feisty Fresno State team to walk away with a 75-73 OT win.

The bulldogs got off to hot start from deep and went into halftime with a 6 point lead.

UNLV played more assertively in the second half, and were able to takeover, but those dang Bulldogs just wouldn’t go away. Sometime after Alex Davis’ hundredth tenth offensive rebound, the game went into OT.

Now I love Bryce Dejean Jones, but he wasn’t on his game tonight. I blame it on the staples in his head.



(Photo Credit: Steve Guiremand)

He couldn’t get anything going all night. After a 3 point attempt that failed to even hit rim on a wide-open 3, I think just about everyone had given up on him.

Then, redemption occurred.

Down 72-70, Bryce knocked down a deep 3 to give UNLV the lead for good, and just like that, he became the hero.

With a 74-72 lead, Khem Kong lept up  from the Empire State Building and swatted a plane from the sky swatted a Cesar Guerrero layup attempt to seal the game.


(Photo Credit: The Rebellion)

UNLV picked up the sweep against Fresno State this year and moved to 13-7 (4-3).


-Deville Smith is half man, half animal. A manimal.
-Khem Birch showed no mercy. He finished the game with 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocks.
-UNLV only committed  6 turnovers in 45 minutes of basketball.
-Tyler Johnson tried to take the title of worst/best dunk title away from Adam Waddell, but nothing will ever beat this:

MWC Power Rankings

by Jake Runyon

1. San Diego State: They are the best team in the conference and a top ten team in the country. Every time they win, a part of my soul dies. Steve Fisher has to suck out the soul of UNLV fans to stay alive. Steve Fisher is a dementor.

Steve Fisher SDSU Day

2. New Mexico: Three road games, three wins. That is a recipe for success in conference play. UNLV exposed some weaknesses, but the Lobos have the most experience of all the teams in the conference. Also, I am putting out an APB for last year’s MWC POY, Kendall Williams. Where you at?

3. Boise State: One and two is easy. It starts getting dicey from here on out. I put the Broncos here because of Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic. By the way, anyone else think that Anthony Drmic looks like a member of boy band?

4. UNR: Who are these guys? They lose Cal State Bakersfield, but then smashed UNLV in vegas? And does anyone else feel like Deonte Burton has been at UNR for like 6 years now?

5. UNLV: The Runnin Rebels are at crossroads again. They can roll over and die, and let the calendar slip into February and March, or they can go down swinging.
Are we sure that Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins don’t have another year of eligibility?

6. Colorado State: People are not talking about how good a job Larry Eustachy has done. They lost nearly all their production from last season but they still are a very competitive team. I honestly thought CSU would be one of the worst teams in the conference this year. Easy on the diet pepsi though, Larry.


7. Utah State: The jury is still out with Utah State. Until I see them against UNM or SDSU, I am playing it safe and putting them in the middle of the pack. Also, I think everybody has a family member that looks like Stew Morrill (See below).

NCAA Basketball: Division I Championship-Utah State Practice

(Photo Credit: LA Times)

8. Air Force: Ugh. The Falcons. Nobody looks at their schedule and says “Oh sweet! We got Air Force tonight.” because everybody knows that Air Force are a bunch of nerds who play smart, play physical, and love ‘Merica.

9. Wyoming: There is not a team that I know less about than Wyoming. All I know is that no team has a worse name for their venue. Arena-Auditorium? Really, there aren’t any businesses that want to buy the naming rights?

10. Fresno State: Someday the Bulldogs will be relevant in hoops. This year is not that year.

11. San Jose State: I am throwing this idea out there: Rashad Muhammedcould have a longer NBA career than his older brother.


UNLV @ SDSU Grades

by Jake Runyon

NOTE: After big games, I like to give out grades for UNLV. These are my opinions, and I love all the players as if they were in my own family (THAT MEANS I’LL DEFEND ALL OF THEM WITH MY LIFE!) Also note that I am not an expert. My basketball experience is limited to the occasional game of church ball, where I am usually the Brian Scalabrine of the team.

Roscoe Smith, B: Roscoe was the only rebel capable of knocking down shots early on in the first half. He also recorded his 12th double-double of the season. I wish I could have seen the ball in his hands more.

Khem Birch, B-: Another SDSU game, another game with 5 blocks. Khem made a huge impact on the defensive end. Couldn’t get much going on offense. Everytime he got the ball down low, SDSU would double him. He got into a little foul trouble that kept him off the floor midway in the 2nd half.

Deville Smith, C-: He made some big shots in the second half, but he missed a few shots that were gimmes. He did a good job defending the much bigger guards of SDSU.

Kevin Olekaibe, Incomplete: Simply put, KO was invisible out there on the floor. Credit that to the SDSU defense that never let KO find space. He just didn’t do enough to warrant discussion.

Bryce Dejean-Jones: C: BDJ left it all out on the floor. I don’t think a player for either team worked harder than Bryce. In fact, sometimes Bryce was going too hard. There were moments when it felt like Bryce was about to snatch the game back from SDSU, but the Aztec’s would stop the bleeding, and extend the lead again.

Carlos Lopez-Sosa, D-: Carlos only got two minutes to work with, and unfortunately for him, they two ugly minutes. 3 fouls. But I still carry the flag in the Carlos fan club!

Christian Wood, C+: Every time Khem came off the floor I worried. But Christian did a pretty good job as a reserve. I don’t think his stat-line really indicates his impact. Can’t wait to see Christian Wood’s career. He has such a high ceiling.

Jelan Kendrick, C-: Jelan has always had a very understated game. To appreciate how good a player he is, you have to actually look for it, because it doesn’t jump out at you. He didn’t shoot well tonight, no way around that, but I felt comfortable with him on the floor.

Coaching Staff, B-:  I felt the team was well prepared. I liked the way we approached things offensively, we just missed too many shots. What was good? Defense, gameplan, composure. What was bad? Poor adjustments for Josh Davis.

UNLV @ San Diego State Recap

by Jake Runyon

I had predicted a UNLV victory. I was wrong. Very wrong. I ain’t mad though. Someone left the AC on in UNLV’s locker room, and the Rebels came out cold to start the game. UNLV could not overcome going 21/70 from the field (2/18 from beyond the arc) and dropped to 11-7 (2-3) with a 63-52.

The game was essentially won when SDSU broke open a 9-9 tie with 19-2 run midway through the first half. Even though UNLV improved throughout the game, the margin was just too much to overcome against the nations #1 defense.

Josh Davis led the Aztec’s with 14 points, and 14 rebounds (6 offensive). He clearly was causing headaches all day for UNLV down low. This caught me off guard. It was the first time all year that anybody had been able to push Roscoe and Khem around.


(Photo Credit: Kent C. Horner/Getty Images)

Deville Smith and Bryce Dejean Jones had their moments, but a combined 12/44 won’t get the job done. Ever.


(Photo Credit: Kent C. Horner/Getty Images)

Next up for UNLV is the return of former rival, Utah State, January 22nd at the Thomas and Mack Center.


UNLV @ SDSU preview

by Jake Runyon

I might be crazy, but I EXPECT UNLV to win this weekend at San Diego State. You can call me a homer if you want. You might be right. 

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(Photo cred: my smokin hot wife)

San Diego State comes into this game 15-1. Their lone loss of the season was against Arizona back in November. Just a few weeks ago they were able to beat Kansas in Allen Fieldhouse, which is a very rare accomplishment. They are a long and athletic team that plays very good defense, and loves to play physical. 

UNLV has been bipolar this season, but it has had some bright spots. The brightest being on Wednesday, when the Runnin Rebs were able to pull off a HUGE road win against New Mexico. Truthfully, UNLV has been a much better team on the road than they have been at home this year. Our lone road loss was in Tucson against Arizona in a game that UNLV was in a good position to win. 

Here are some arguments to why we will win:

-Dave Rice has SDSU’s number.  The Aztecs have been outcoached by Dave Rice, dating back to his time as an assistant at BYU.
-Josh Davis can rebound well but he won’t be getting to as many rebounds between Khem Birch and Roscoe Smith.
-Xavier Thames struggles against UNLV. Career numbers vs UNLV: 7/29, 21 total points, 12 Turnovers in four total games.
-With the exception of Arizona and Kansas, they haven’t played against a team as athletic as UNLV.
-Khem Birch had 5 blocks in each game last year versus SDSU. He altered plenty more than that.


(Photo Cred: Jake Roth, USA Today)


Bottom line: I think this game will look a lot like the game vs New Mexico, but the scoring will be lower. SDSU plays better defense than UNM, and while they can get out and play in transition, they mostly slow it down offensively. I expect our bigs to have a great game. Josh Davis and JJ Obrien are good players, but Cameron Bairstow and Alex Kirk are better. The real question is how our guards matchup with Xavier Thames and Winston Shepard. My biggest fear is SDSU playing small,and forcing Birch to leave the paint, leaving the lane vulnerable to back-door cuts, and slashes. If KO and Deville get hot, it really opens the floor up for Jelan and Bryce’s midrange game. The game will come down to how well our guards play against Shepard and Thames. Those two are capable of spoiling the Rebels trip to San Diego.

Final Prediction: UNLV 68, SDSU 65

UNLV, and I still believe this, is the most talented team in the conference. We are HUGE UNDERACHIEVERS. At this point in the season, we have to win. I think our only shot of making the tournament is to finish the regular season with 25 wins (including the MWC tournament) and I think UNLV will find win #12 tomorrow in San Diego. 

FotoFlexer_Photo-Dave-Rice-11-2-121 What you smiling about Dave?

(Photo Cred: talkaboutvegas.com)

UNLV vs New Mexico recap

by Jake Runyon


 I finally figured it out. Or better said, UNLV finally figured it out.

Urgency! They’ve lacked it. They found some Wednesday at the Pit vs New Mexico and managed to pull off a very impressive road victory.

They lacked urgency for the entire first half of the season. You could see it in the way they played; poorly executed offensive possessions, and a lackadaisical attitude on defense.
That wasn’t the case at New Mexico. Fewer bad shot selections, and an intensity we haven’t seen on defense, especially in the second half.

The Rebels started out hot. After taking the lead 10-9 early in the first half, the rebels never trailed the rest of the game. In the first five minutes it felt like both teams were scoring at will. The rebels were really able to take over with a 20-3 run when UNM star, Cameron Bairstow went to the bench with early foul trouble. The biggest play of the first half was when Bryce Dejean Jones knocked a pass away and finished with a nasty dunk (AND 1!!).



At that point my brother sent me a text, and I’m paraphrasing, “Is this what it was like to watch UNLV in 1991.” I had to tell him to slow down a bit. It was 10 minutes of the first half. A talented, and well-coached team in UNM crawled back, and got to within four points before halftime.

The second half was a tug of war. When UNLV would pull ahead by 8 or 9 points, UNM would score on back to back possessions and keep it within 4 points. This pattern would continue late into the game. UNM eventually got within one point, but BDJ and Deville Smith came up clutch at the FT line. A desperate, baseline 3-point attempt from Cullen Neil came up short, and UNLV walked away victorious.


Photo Credit: Review Journal


 Photo Credit: Review Journal

Dave Rice was very complimentary of Carlos Lopez-Sosa who played his most minutes of the season and did a great job on the defensive end of the floor.  Other players who played great were Bryce Dejean Jones (11/13 from the FT), Deville Smith (10 points in the second half), Jelan Kendrick, Khem Birch (11 rebounds, 11 points) and Kevin Olekaibe (4/5 from 3 pointer).

What does this win mean for the rest of season? It could mean everything, or it could mean nothing. It all depends on how UNLV responds. They can ride the momentum and turn the season around, or they deflate, and get closer to that NIT bid.  They have a great opportunity to continue to resurrect the season if they can pull off another road win Saturday, vs SDSU. We’ll see if they still have that sense of urgency.

Fat Head Thievery – 028

This last week has been a Runnin Rebel roller coaster.  After 2 tough losses against BSU and Fresno St we come back to spank New Mexico.

Thanks to Billy and Scott for coming on the show
Follow @RunninRamble
Check out our friends at TheRebelBlog.com

  1. Tough losses
  2. Win against UNM
  3. We Talk Mike Moser and Dave Rice
  4. We Look fwd to Air Force

Call into the show 702-721-8658 (UNLV)

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Please Press Two – 027

Thanks for tuning in to the best podcast in the 702. This is your weekly dose of everything UNLV basketball.
Follow @RunninRamble
Check out our friends at TheRebelBlog.com

@RunninRamble and @TheRebelBlog

Lets talk about the disappointing loss at Boise St. Lets also dread the possibilities of what can happen at Fresno.

call/ text the show 702-721-8658

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Its Catching Fire – 026

Thank you for listening to another show by the Runnin Ramble.

Check out our friends at TheRebelBlog.com



2 Can Mike Moser fully recover?

3 We take a look at the Mountain West Conference forecast

4 The Rebels Till I Die chant is catching fire

5 We look forward to Boise


Rebels Till I Die – 024

This is the Podcast that talks everything Runnin Rebel Basketball.


Jordan Bunker from TheRebelblog.com

Bronson Mack (Big Brother)

Today we talk about potential Rebel chants
We take a look at the Colorado State loss
We look forward to Wyoming coming to town

Call 702-721-8658 and leave us a message and shoot us a text.

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Is That a Hobbit in Your Speedo – 023

Wow what a win at San Diego St.
Today we talk with Jordan from THEREBELBLOG.COM


  1. Big win at San Diego State.
  2. Up Coming game at Colorado State.
  3. Take listener questions and voice mails


Thanks for listening to the best podcast in the 702

Corbin SpeedoNeck Tatoo Rebel

Get A W At SDSU For Our Salvation – 022

We are  joined by our best friends from THEREBELBLOG.COM (Scott and Steve)


1 Close win VS Air Force

2 Upcoming game at SDSU

3 Why San Diego State fans are the worst

Corbin was on this podcast click to listen. The Interview starts at 89.10

Aztecs Talk Radio

Call or Text us 702-721-8658

A Bad Batch of New Methico – 021

I don’t know why but we couldn’t get enough Canada so we bring in two Canadians. Kyle Warren and Bee Sting help us vent about the UNM game and prepare for Air Force. Its out of control but a good listen. Join us as we talk everything UNLV Rebel Basketball.


Call in and leave us a message 702-721-8658 (UNLV)


This Has Been Malarkey -020

Best Runnin Ramble yet!! We bring in a Canadian expert. We also look into the upcoming New Mexican game. Steve Freaking Alford calls into the show.



More Cow Bell – 019

Lets take a look back at Chicago st and look FWD to UCSB. Also we introduce our newest Rebel Kendall Smith


Lose the Shellfish – 018

Today the Guys from THEREBELBLOG.COM join us as we discuss the latest with UNLV Runnin Rebel basketball. Here are a few things spoken of in this episode

  1. We look back on our loss at UNC
  2. Talk lineups we have seen and would like to see
  3. Look Fwd to Chicago St
  4. Mountain West Conference realignment

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Peppered Applause – 017

Another wonderful RunninRamble just in time for Christmas.

  1. UTEP
  2. UNI
  3. The debut of Khem Birch
  4. Does Cook need more PT?


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