Jan. 08, 2014
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By Jesse Granger, Special to UNLVRebels.com
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV fell to Nevada, Reno for the first time since Nov. 26, 2005, behind a game-high 29 points from Deonte Burton.
Burton hit 12 of his 20 shots from the floor including 2-of-4 from behind the arc in his first victory over the Runnin' Rebels in his career.
The Runnin' Rebels seemed to be in control early on, up 30-20 with only three minutes until halftime and Burton on the bench with two fouls. But Burton re-entered the game, and scored seven straight for the Wolf Pack, helping them to pull within two heading into the locker room.
UNR scored the first 11 points of the second half to surge ahead 45-36. Nevada, Reno continued on a 23-10 run to go up 57-46 with 11:13 left, and cruised to victory.
The Wolf Pack (8-8, 3-0 Mountain West) got 18 points and seven rebounds from Michael Perez, while A.J. West added 11 points and nine rebounds. Nevada, Reno was outrebounded 46-38 by UNLV in the game but had better marksmanship, hitting 29 of 65 (45 percent) from the field.
"There's no doubt that we made defensive mistakes that we haven't made this season, and that's disappointing, especially 16 games into the season," Dave Rice said.
UNLV (10-6, 1-2) had four players in double figures, led by Bryce Dejean-Jones' 15 points.
Roscoe Smith, the nation's leading rebounder, had 13 points and 15 rebounds. It was Smith's 11th double-double of the season, which also leads the nation.
"We need everyone for us to win a game," said Smith "One person isn't going to win a game, we need all 12 or 13 guys."
"We've got to figure out why it is, that we've been so much better away from the Thomas & Mack, than we've been in the Thomas & Mack," said Rice, whose Rebels are 6-5 at home and 4-1 away from Las Vegas.
UNLV was outscored by Nevada, Reno in the paint, 38-32. The Runnin' Rebels, who led by as many as 11 late in the first half, also shot an poor 3 of 15 (20 percent) from 3-point range, and just 22 of 63 (35 percent) from the field.
"We stressed making sure we got paint touches," Rice said. "[We had] 55 half court possessions, and 42 of those 55 the ball went inside. The ball just didn't go in for us."
The Wolf Pack held UNLV to just two points over a seven-minute period, spanning the final 3:10 of the first half and the first 3:50 of the second half.
"We just didn't stay focused and they definitely took advantage of us in the second half," Smith said.
Despite the rough start to conference play, Smith feels the team has time to get things together, and he plans on leading by example.
"As one of the leaders and the captain of the team, I have to show strength for the young guys," Smith said. "I can't show that I'm mentally or physically tired. I feel like the young guys feed off me, and I have to continue to have that passion."
UNLV is now off for a week and has two tough road games at New Mexico on Jan. 15 and at No. 13 San Diego State on Jan. 18.
"We look at the next week as an opportunity to get our momentum back," Rice said. "To figure things out and to go on the road and know that we'll have a few Runnin' Rebel fans... and we'll have to do it together."
The Associated Press contributed to this story