UNLV moves into third place after win over Wyoming

By Terrel Emerson | February 11th, 2018

On Saturday morning, Feb. 10, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels woke up in sixth place. By the end of the night they were in third.


With the third team in the Mountain West Conference in town, the Rebels took care of business and took down the Wyoming Cowboys 85-70. This marked UNLV’s third straight home win after dropping the first three conference games at home.


Earlier in the day, fifth place New Mexico lost to now ninth place Air Force, 100-92. With fourth place Fresno State having the night off, the Rebels leapfrogged into the third spot.


Air Force travels to UNLV for a Valentine’s Day contest at the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday, Feb. 14. The Rebels won the first contest in Colorado 81-76 Jan. 10.


Head coach Marvin Menzies said, “If you respect the game of basketball you never look down on an opponent and you understand anybody can beat you on any given night. We’ve lost games this year to teams that I think we were the better team so I hope we’ve already learned that lesson.”


The Rebels are 4-1 since inserting freshman forward Tervell Beck into the starting lineup. The record includes wins over San Diego State, at Nevada-Reno and Wyoming.


Beck helped lead the Rebels to a fast start, knocking down the game’s first points on a three-pointer. He would have five of the teams first nine points. He came into the game averaging 6.2 points per game.


Freshman forward Brandon McCoy said, “We call him NuNu. NuNu’s just a great player and a great person. I feel like he approaches the game the same as he did off the bench. Just coming in and being aggressive and bouncing his body off of people.”


Beck finished with 15 points and four rebounds. It was the second time he’s scored in double digits over the four games. He only scored double digits five times in the team’s first 20 games.


Menzies said, “I just felt like practice determines a lot of what happens and [Beck] had been playing well in practice. [Against SDSU] I felt from a matchup point it was a good time to do it. Kris Clyburn is such a team player he doesn’t care whether he starts or doesn’t start.”


He added it made it an easier decision for him since he knew he wouldn’t have any locker room drama, saying “That’s what happens when you recruit good kids.”


Wyoming just could not stop the bleeding. During the games first stoppage the Cowboys were down 9-0. At the second timeout, UNLV led 19-2. By the third stoppage in play the Rebels has ran the lead to 24-5.


The Rebels led the entire duration of the first frame where the game was tied for the first 37 seconds of the game.


McCoy said, “I feel like it was both [a continuation of the win over Nevada-Reno and not wanting to come out flat]. I feel like teams like St. John’s are [trending] upward and you have teams like Duke on a downward scale and its February. Coach Menzies always tells us we want to be on the upward scale last.”


The Rebels were able to build a lead off high percentage field goal attempts. With 13:03 left in the first half, UNLV was up 17 points shooting 62 percent to just eight percent shooting for Wyoming. UNLV shot 54 percent in the first 20 minutes of play.


Junior forward Shakur Juiston had his way with Wyoming, scoring 22 points on 11-15 shooting and pulling down 14 rebounds. The Rebels outrebounded the Cowboys 49-41.


His partner in the paint, freshman forward Brandon McCoy, added 19 points, grabbing 15 rebounds to go along with it.


More importantly, he did it on just four made field goals but was 11-13 from the free throw line. The two misses came late in the game with Wyoming committing intentional fouls down 10-plus points.


“I just been working on it, like I said, we are always in the gym, me and [Juiston] for sure. Free throws are a big emphasis — that’s free money. I’m mad I missed those two late, I don’t know what I was thinking,” McCoy said.


Juiston airballed a free throw late and proceeded to do 10 push-ups during the next stoppage in play.


“That was the first time I airballed a free throw since high school so I had to do push-ups. I might do some more when I leave but I had to do it,” Juiston said.


Juiston added it was his own punishment.


McCoy added, “My punishment — I would’ve slapped him. It’s either push-ups or getting slapped.”


Menzies thought his team did a good job of sharing the ball in the first half of play. Senior guard Jordan Johnson had five assists in the first half while every Cowboy player combined had four. Johnson’s night ended with five points, five rebounds and six assists.


Menzies went onto say that he felt the team stopped sharing the ball as much in the second half.


When Menzies believed that stopped happening, Wyoming went on a run of their own to start the second half. The Cowboys even took the lead momentarily.


However, Juiston made a layup to give the lead back to UNLV and it would stay there for good.


“Basketball is a game of runs. Coach emphasizes that all the time, at halftime and in the huddles. Saying ‘We threw our greatest punch in the beginning, it was about time they came with a run’ and they did but we just stayed together,” Juiston said.


UNLV would work hard to extend the lead back to where it once was. At the 10:49 mark they had gotten the lead back to double digits. With a little under four minutes to play UNLV was up 76-61.


Beck was pulled from the game with 2:16 left and received a thunderous standing ovation from those in attendance.

Tags assigned to this article:
basketballRunnin RebelsWyoming

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