Behind an early 3-point barrage, the Runnin’ Rebels jumped on top of Nevada and never looked back as UNLV coasted to an 80-63 win, its eighth straight victory against the Wolf Pack. The 17-point defeat was the largest in the series since UNLV dropped the Pack 98-79 on Nov. 24, 1999. The Rebels now hold a 56-19 record in the interstate series.
Back-to-back triples from UNLV forward Mike Moser kicked things off for the visitors before another three propelled the Rebels to a 13-4 advantage just over three minutes into the contest. From there, the Rebels never looked back.
“We fought hard but they made plays with hands in their face and we had a couple of breakdowns on key plays in the game and that’s just the difference,” Story said. “We let them get off to a hot start and we couldn’t recover from there.”
Nevada (12-16 overall, 3-11 Mountain West) momentarily stopped the surge with a short 6-2 spurt to bring the score to 15-10 at the 13:50 mark, but nine unanswered Rebel points pushed UNLV’s advantage to double digits at 24-10 with 12:13 on the clock.
The Pack responded with six quick points to cut the deficit to 24-16 with 9:32 to play in the first half. UNLV (22-7, 9-5) then closed the half with a 22-9 run as Moser put the finishing touches on his 20 first-half points with a corner trey for a 46-25 UNLV halftime lead.
“This game was really one guy,” Nevada coach David Carter said of Moser’s early contributions. “I thought he was very, very good in the first half, spotting up and hitting threes and getting tip-ins. He really got them going early.”
Nevada trailed 46-25 at intermission. In the second half, the Wolf Pack tried to rally, but it was unable to get closer than 11 points of UNLV. With just under seven minutes remaining in the game, Nevada had trimmed the deficit down to 65-54, but the early hole proved too large to climb out of.
“When you play a team like that, you can’t make a lot of mistakes," Carter said. "The margin for error is very small. We got it to 11 and it was almost like ‘Okay, we have to get one stop,’ but we never really got over the hump to get it into single digits.
“You have to give them credit. I thought Bryce Dejean-Jones made a couple of shots with hands in his face. They made some big shots. That’s a very good team with some very good one-on-one players.”
Story led the Pack with a game-high 24 points. Guard Deonte Burton tallied 18 points in the contest while forward Kevin Panzer added 10. All five of UNLV’s starters finished with double digits in points, highlighted by Moser’s 20 points and 17 from Dejean-Jones.
Nevada will try to snap its five-game skid against MWC-leading New Mexico on Wednesday before ending its regular season at Colorado State on Saturday. Tip-off against the Aggies is set for 7 p.m.
“I told the guys, ‘That’s close to a Top 25 team. They’ll beat a lot of teams,’” Carter said. “The way they shot the ball tonight, we had hands in their face and they made some tough shots, but we have to keep moving forward. We have a Senior Night game coming up and we have to keep fighting.”