Las Vegas, NV—Boise State came to Vegas and they were all about their business as soon as they set foot in Sin City.
Tyson Degenhart scored 17 points that helped Boise State (13-4, 3-1 Mountain West Conference) beat UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (12-4, 1-3 Mountain West) 84-66 on Wednesday night at the Thomas Mack Center.
It was the Rebels’ sixth consecutive loss to the Broncos, including conference tournament games. UNLV haven’t beaten Boise State since Feb. 26, 2020.
Boise State came smoking hot, as fifth-year guard Max Rice and Degenhart, the reigning Mountain West freshman of the year, combined to make three of the Broncos’ first four 3-point attempts to take an early 12-4 lead.
UNLV coach Kevin Kruger’s postgame news conferences are usually quite witty and well thought out.
His opening statement Wednesday after the loss to Boise State, lasted no longer than a blink of an eye.
“Not really the night we were looking for,” he said. “That’s about all I’ve got to say about that one.”
Rice pour in 13 points in the first half and the Broncos went into the locker room trailing 33-31. Chibuzo Agbo had 15 points down the stretch in the second half to help lead Boise State to an victory.
It was the UNLV’s first halftime lead since Dec. 17, when it was up nine points against San Francisco, though the Rebels also lost that game to the Dons 75-73.
Elijah Harkless went down early with an injury, Harkless hit the hardwood hard after a layup on the Rebels’ first possession. He walked off the court under his own power and eventually returned to the action.
Replacing Harkless, fifth-year guard Jordan McCabe great night shooting the basketball. He drained a deep 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock with 15:31 remaining in the first half. UNLV had a difficult scoring against the Broncos aggressive defense.
However, UNLV didn’t come out of the locker room sharp. Agbo nearly completed consecutive four-point plays from the left corner, but he missed the second free-throw attempt. Still, his scoring propelled the Broncos to a 14-3 run through the first three minutes of the second half.
Boise State shot 53.8 percent on 3-pointers for the game and outscored UNLV by 20 points in the second half.
The Rebels didn’t get the stops they needed in the second half, even when they found their shooting touch. Degenhart combined well with fifth-year center Lukas Milner had a few easy layups and took advantage situations, when UNLV brought their double-team defense on the baseline.
Keshon Gilbert scored 14 points with four assists for the Rebels. Justin Weber chipped in 13 points for UNLV. Elijah Harkless also had 12 points and two steals.
“We can’t allow those big-time runs,” Webster said. “We’ve got to go out and punch them in the mouth in those first four or five minutes, and in the second half, too. It’s something we’ve got to lock in and get better at.”
Agbo shot 6 for 10, including 4 for 6 from downtown to finish the game with 17 points. Marcus Shaver Jr. recorded 15 points and was 4-of-9 shooting, including 2 for 4 from beyond the arc, and went 5 for 6 from the line.
Boise State drained 14 3-pointers to defeat UNLV and that was the difference of the game.
“We’ve always played hard. That’s never been the issue,” Kruger said. “We’ve just got to tie the mental approach and the scouting approach with playing hard.”
UNLV will host Colorado State Saturday, Jan. 14 for a 7:00 P.M. start time.