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Live blog: Rebels beat BYU on Robotham’s shot


Steve Marcus

UNLV Rebels head coach Marvin Menzies calls out to players during a game against Loyola Marymount at the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018.

Updated Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018 | 7:48 p.m.

Noah Robotham swished a 3-pointer as time expired to give UNLV its most dramatic win of the season, 92-90 over BYU in overtime.

UNLV struggled to create an open look on the final possession, but Amauri Hardy dished to Robotham on the right wing and the senior guard let it fly as the clock struck zero. When it went in, the Rebels bench swarmed Robotham in front of the scorer's table in celebration. 

Robotham finished with 12 points (4-of-8 from 3-point range), while Joel Ntambwe scored a team-high 22 points. Hardy and Kris Clyburn scored 21 apiece. 

UNLV improves to 5-4 on the season. 

UNLV, BYU heading to overtime

UNLV watched a 17-point lead evaporate and actually trailed in the final minute, but freshman Joel Ntambwe made two free throws with 27 seconds left to send this game to overtime, tied 83-83.

BYU got one final possession after the Ntambwe free throws, but the Rebels clamped down and forced a long 3-pointer that bounced off the rim at the buzzer.

UNLV leads BYU late, 75-73

BYU is on a 20-8 run over the last six minutes, and UNLV's lead has been trimmed to 75-73 with 3:54 to play.

A T.J. Haws layup brought BYU within 72-71 a moment ago, but Noah Robotham responded with a long pull-up 3 to extend the lead back to four. On BYU's next possession, Childs backed down Mbacke Diong before throwing down a dunk to make it a one-possessions game again.

Amauri Hardy was fouled on a drive and will shoot two free throws after the timeout.

UNLV leads BYU, 68-59

UNLV's shooting touch has cooled off in the second half, and with 9:02 remaining the Rebels' lead is down to 68-59.

BYU guard Nick Emery just buried a long pull-up 3-pointer to bring the Cougars within single digits for the first time in more than 15 minutes, and UNLV head coach Marvin Menzies called timeout to talk to his team.

After making 9-of-16 from 3-point range in the first half, UNLV is just 2-of-6 from deep in the second.

Rebels lead BYU at half, 47-30

Where did this version of UNLV come from?

The notoriously 3-point averse Rebels made 9-of-16 long-distance attempts in the first half, and at the half they've got a 47-30 lead over BYU.

Freshman Joel Ntambwe continues to play well. After scoring a career-high 18 points last week against Illinois, he's leading the way again with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting (2-of-3 3FGs). Ntambwe also has eight rebounds and a block in his 18 minutes. UNLV has also gotten great production out of Kris Clyburn (15 points, 3-of-5 3FGs) and Amauri Hardy (eight points, three assists).

On the defensive end, the UNLV has limited BYU's perimeter offense (1-of-4 from 3-point range) and forced the Cougars to go inside. BYU is 14-of-31 from the field.

Rebels even with BYU midway through first half

The Rebels have hit two 3-pointers in the last 60 seconds to pull even with BYU, 17-17, with 11:42 left in the first half.

Freshman Bryce Hamilton put on a fancy dribbling exhibition before pulling up and hitting from the right wing, and after a defensive stop, Ntambwe did the same. Ntamnbwe currently leads the Rebels with five points.

UNLV has not defended well so far, allowing several uncontested dunks and layups, and BYU is shooting 8-of-14 from the floor (57.1 percent).

Juiston out for Rebels vs. BYU

UNLV will be without frontcourt stalwart Shakur Juiston tonight, as the senior will miss the game against BYU due to a knee injury.

Juiston, who has started every game of his UNLV career, went through pre-game layup lines with his teammates, but UNLV announced just before tipoff that he'll be sitting out.

Freshman forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua will get his first career start in Juiston's place.

Previewing UNLV basketball vs. BYU with reader questions

The Runnin' Rebels will welcome one of their biggest rivals back to Las Vegas when they face off against BYU at T-Mobile Arena (5:30 p.m., ESPN3). It's the first time since 2011 that the two schools have played.

Let’s preview the renewal of the rivalry with some reader questions:


Will UNLV finish last in the MWC?


No. Have you seen the Mountain West lately? Teams like San Jose State (2-6), Air Force (4-6) and Wyoming (3-7) appear to be on a completely different level when it comes to bad basketball, and UNLV should be able to comfortably avoid that basement party.

So where will the Rebels finish then? They were picked sixth in the preseason poll, and that still seems reasonable. I think the floor is probably a spot or two below that — an eighth-place finish would be a huge disappointment — while the ceiling is as high as third place. The odds of reaching that ceiling are slim; so many things would have to come together (a resurgence by Shakur Juiston, scorching-hot shooting from Noah Robotham, a leap to stardom from Bryce Hamilton) that it seems foolish to even think that far ahead. But last place? Not going to happen, no matter how bad UNLV may look right now having lost three games in a row.


Do you believe Trey Woodbury will play more minutes and if so do you believe he will have an impact this season? Also who would replace the juice box in the starting line up due to his knee injury?


I do believe there is a place on this team for Trey Woodbury, solely based on his ability to shoot the ball. He is still working his way back from a knee injury that forced him to miss most of training camp, and that missed time has also put him a bit behind the learning curve for a true freshman, but he played 10 minutes against Illinois and looked to be moving better than he has all season. He’s still looking for his first points as a Rebel — he said at practice on Thursday that he really, really wants his first college bucket — but at some point he’ll make multiple 3’s in a game and be an asset to a backcourt that is really struggling from long distance.


How much longer we can afford the empty seats and terrible results from Menzies?


UNLV takes its basketball ticket sales very, very seriously, as it is the driving force behind the entire budget for the athletic department. If the basketball team is generating less revenue, the entire department feels it.

The school is trying to be proactive about getting people into the building, with different promotions and new fan outreach programs, but I think Desiree Reed-Francois, Marvin Menzies and everyone else realizes that if the team isn’t winning at a high level, the Mack is not going to be packed.

To answer the question, I don’t know how much longer the school can get by with such poor attendance figures, but I’m also not sure what can be done to improve the numbers — except for winning a lot of games.


Black Christmas 2006 or 1974?


Is this a real question? The original “Black Christmas” is a classic of the genre and a forerunner of the first-person slasher wave that eventually boomed in the 1980’s. It’s an amazing horror movie, with the attic window, the phone calls, the plastic wrap, THE EYE and a surprisingly engaging whodunit element to the plot. The remake is pure dreck. Like most remakes, it is completely over-written to the point that it becomes ludicrous. Too many dumb plot twists for no reason and no real scares. Watch the original.


In "Ernest Saves Christmas," the guy who would become the new Santa was working in filming a movie called "Christmas Slay." Not sleigh... Slay. What grade do you think a movie like that would have gotten?


We don’t have to treat this as a hypothetical, because in 2005 former pro wrestler Bill Goldberg starred in “Santa’s Slay,” a 78-minute direct-to-video release that is basically just one long pun. Frankly, the Ernest movie is probably better.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at

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