UNLV started the 2021-22 college basketball season in style
Welcome to the College Basketball season UNLV fans. Your Runnin’ Rebels Men’s Basketball Team won it’s first game on the season 64-58, and helped celebrate it in style.
On Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels took to the court for the first time in the 2021-22 Men’s NCAA Division I Basketball Season, under new head coach Kevin Kruger.
They took on the Gardner-Webb Runnin’ Bulldogs (0-1) out of the Big Sky Conference. The Rebels finished last season with a 12-15 record overall and an 8-10 record in the Mountain West Conference. They ended their season with a loss in the Mountain West Tournament quarterfinals 74-53 to the Utah State Aggies.
The Rebels’ players, including some new faces, came into this game looking to make a good first impression on Coach Krueger. Forward Royce Hamm Jr., a graduate transfer from The University of Texas, recorded a double-double in his debut. Junior forward Donavan Williams, also another transfer, played with Hamm at Texas. He scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Right from the tip, the first half went back and forth with both teams answering each other. Neither squad was able to gain a dominant lead. With the game tied at 24 late in the half, the Runnin’ Rebels went on a 3-0 run.
A late jump-shot from Senior guard Bryce Hamilton gave UNLV a 27-24 lead going into the locker room. Hamilton led the team with 22 points on the night. Both teams were struggling to shoot the ball, especially from the 3-point line, combining for only 23 percent.
The Rebels outscored the Bulldogs 37-34 in the second half, in a very mundane game that saw both teams showing off their first games shortcomings, and it resulted in a low-scoring dull contest.
If UNLV fans thought the team’s 3-point shooting would improve in the second half, more of the struggles carried over from the first half. The Rebels only shot 2-for-25 beyond the arc and in today’s style of basketball, a team needs to shoot better than that if they want to make a run in the NCAA Tournament.
But look at it this way Rebels’ fans, it’s only the first game. If you have that first win to open the season, that is all that counts.
Where the Runnin Rebels can improve
Overall, the Rebels did not play their best game, but they were able to come out with the “W”. Before you panic fans, remember this team is playing with a brand new coach and a new roster that is mostly made out of transfers. They are all very good players, but they just need time to gel together and get used to playing as a team.
As for their shooting struggles, that will come naturally as most teams in all levels of basketball now play a quick run-gun style of basketball and shoot from 3 a majority time of the game.
Don’t miss a basket and stay in the loop by checking out the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Schedule.