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Blog: UNR knocks out UNLV, 101-75

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Steve Marcus

UNR guard Josh Hall (33) knocks down UNLV guard Jovan Mooring (30) during a game at the Thomas & Mack Center Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018.

Updated Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018 | 10:04 p.m.

A last-second layup by UNR allowed the Wolf Pack to break the century mark, and they'll walk out of the Thomas & Mack Center with a 101-75 win over UNLV.

UNLV never got closer than 20 points in the second half as UNR continued scoring easy baskets to maintain its big lead. For the game, UNLV shot 4-of-23 from 3-point range, while UNR made 13-of-24 from long distance.

UNLV has now lost four games in a row — three in blowout fashion — and the Rebels are now 19-11 on the season and 8-9 in Mountain West play. They are locked into the No. 7 or No. 8 seed for next week's MWC tournament. A win at Utah State on Saturday in the regular-season finale would clinch the No. 7 spot, while a loss would peg the Rebels at No. 8.

UNR leads UNLV late, 87-59

With 7:13 to play, UNR has extended its lead over UNLV to 87-59 and fans are streaming out of the Thomas & Mack Center.

The Rebels continue to struggle shooting the ball — they're now 2-of-16 from 3-point range — and UNR can't miss. Caleb Martin just hit a step-back jumper, and the Wolf Pack are now shooting 50.0 percent for the game (32-of-64).

UNLV trails UNR by 20 in second half

UNLV has played more cohesive offense so far in the second half, but it's barely made a dent in the margin, as UNR still has a 74-54 lead with 12:49 to play.

Brandon McCoy has played strong since the break, scoring 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. Jordan Johnson and Amauri Hardy have each made 3-pointers after UNLV went 0-of-8 from long range in the first half.

UNR continues to score at a ridiculous rate, as the Wolf Pack have made 6-of-10 from the field in the half and 2-of-3 from 3-point range. Cody Martin now has a game-high 20 points, while Jordan Caroline has 19.

UNR leads UNLV, 54-28, after dominant first half

After 20 minutes of sheer dominance, UNR has a 54-28 lead over UNLV at halftime.

UNLV simply couldn't keep pace with UNR's turbo-charged offense in the first half, as the Wolf Pack went 9-of-14 from 3-point range (UNLV went 0-of-8). Caleb Martin, who didn't play in the first meeting between these teams, has a game-high 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting from long range. Jordan Caroline has 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting.

The Rebels relied on the hot shooting of Jovan Mooring in their win at Reno on Feb. 7, but he hasn't been able to conjure that same kind of magic tonight. Mooring is 2-of-11 from the field (0-of-4 from 3-point range), and the Rebels are shooting just 38.2 percent as a team.

UNR leads UNLV by 28 in first half

With 3:41 to play in the first half, UNR has run out to a 50-22 lead and has all but put this one away.

The Wolf Pack have dominated in every aspect, but especially on the shooting front. UNR has made 9-of-13 from the 3-point line, while UNLV is 0-of-6. That 27-point swing pretty much accounts for the entire margin.

Caleb Martin is leading the way with 17 points, while Jordan Caroline has 14. Caroline also just made a statement by hitting a 3-pointer and then shushing the UNLV student section. In the midst of such a dominant performance, the Pack can pretty much do whatever they want.

UNR takes early lead over UNLV

The first run of the game goes to UNR, as the Wolf Pack are currently on an 8-0 spurt and have taken a 23-14 lead with 11:25 left in the half.

A Cody Martin steal led to a transition 3-pointer for Kendall Stephens just before the timeout, and Jovan Mooring slammed the ball down in frustration after the whistle blew. UNR has made three of its first six 3-point attempts.

Shakur Juiston has been active early for the Rebels, as he's got six points and four rebounds.

Three keys for UNLV basketball vs. UNR

With just two games remaining in the regular season, UNLV (19-10, 8-8 Mountain West) is still looking to regain its footing and get back to playing good basketball before the start of the MWC tournament. A strong showing tonight against first-place UNR (8 p.m., CBS Sports Network) would go a long way toward restoring the Rebels' confidence.

UNLV has already toppled UNR (25-5, 14-2) once this season, as the Rebels' 86-78 win at Reno on Feb. 7 was probably the highlight of the season to this point. Can they do it again at the Thomas & Mack Center? Three keys to watch:

Defending Martin

UNLV caught a break the last time these teams played, as UNR top scorer Caleb Martin (19.4 points per game) was forced out of the lineup due to a foot injury. The junior swingman will play tonight, however, and that will make life extremely difficult for the Rebels.

There is no good defensive matchup for Martin on the UNLV roster. At 6-foot-7, Martin has the length to shoot over smaller defenders (42.9 percent from 3-point range) and the ball-handling prowess to score off the dribble against bigger defenders, so wings like Tervell Beck and Kris Clyburn will have their hands full.

Look for UNLV to try multiple defensive approaches throughout the game, with an emphasis on limiting Martin's open 3-point chances.

Rebounding edge

UNR plays a spread system, and it's extremely effective on the offensive end, but that leaves the Wolf Pack undersized on the defensive side. UNLV took advantage in the first matchup by hitting the glass and turning 13 offensive rebounds into 17 second-chance points — and that was with a minimal contribution from center Brandon McCoy (eight points, one offensive rebound), who only played 23 minutes due to foul trouble.

Attacking offensive rebounds is dangerous, as it leaves UNLV vulnerable to UNR's transition offense, but it may be the Rebels' only choice. Shakur Juiston, Tervell Beck and McCoy will likely get the green light to chase the ball and seek out those second-chance opportunities, so when they get their hands on the ball, they have to cash in.

Explosive offense

A healthy UNR squad is the most potent offensive team UNLV will play this season, as the Wolf Pack make 39.8 percent of their 3-point attempts and average 1.037 points per possession (ninth in the nation). In order for the Rebels to keep up with that, they'll have to get extra production from unexpected sources.

In the first meeting, Jovan Mooring took care of that "extra production" all by himself, as he nailed a bunch of crazy shots and finished with a career-high 31 points. Is another UNLV player capable of stepping up like that tonight? Senior point guard Jordan Johnson has been aggressive recently — he tied a career high with 25 points against New Mexico on Sunday — and players like freshmen Amauri Hardy and Tervell Beck are always wild cards.

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

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