Dec. 30, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV men's basketball team, which has won six straight games - all by at least 16 points and by an average of 21.5 ppg - will play on New Year's Day for the just the third time in program history as it opens Mountain West play at Fresno State on Wednesday, Jan. 1, at 12 p.m. It will mark the first time the Runnin' Rebels have ever played a road game on Jan. 1 as the other two New Year's Day games in program history came at home in 1983 and 1990.
Wednesday's game vs. the Bulldogs will be shown on ESPN3 (online only) with Trey Bender and Bill Herenda calling the action. Jon Sandler and Robert Smith will handle the radio call, which may be heard live on Sports 920 AM The Game (not on ESPN Radio 1100 because of the conflict with UNLV football's Heart of Dallas Bowl game, which begins at 9 am PST and will be televised on ESPNU). An internet listen link and Gametracker for the Runnin' Rebel game will be available at UNLVRebels.com.
After six straight games at home to open the season, UNLV played two road games during its "Rodeo Road Trip," losing a close one at then-No. 2 Arizona (63-58) on Dec. 7, then beating Southern Utah on Dec. 14 in Cedar City, which started its current six-game win streak. In the loss to the Wildcats, the Runnin' Rebels held what is now the nation's top-ranked team to its lowest scoring output of the season and its third-closest game in terms of margin of victory. UNLV, which finished the non-conference schedule with a record of 9-4, will play its first true road game on Wednesday since Dec. 14.
Runnin' Rebel junior Roscoe Smith, who leads the nation in rebounding average with 13.2 rpg, is tied for first in the country in double-doubles with nine. He had just one in two seasons at UConn. Smith grabbed 10 or more rebounds in the first six games of the season (now 11 of 13) with totals of 19, 21 and a career-high 22. Junior forward Khem Birch, who has six double-doubles this season, is sixth in the country in blocked shots with 3.8 per contest. He has had double-figure rebounding totals in seven of his 13 games and has blocked at least four shots in a game six times this season. Smith (13.1 ppg, 13.2 rpg) leads the team in scoring and is averaging a double-double, while Birch is just shy of averaging a double-double (11.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg). Junior guard Bryce Dejean-Jones is second on the team in scoring at 12.5 ppg, while senior guard Kevin Olekaibe is the fourth Runnin' Rebel in double figures at 10.6 ppg.
UNLV (9-4, 0-0 Mountain West)
FRESNO STATE (7-6, 0-0 Mountain West)
DATE: Wednesday, January 1, 2014
TIME: 12 p.m. PST
SITE: Save Mart Center (15,596), Fresno, Calif.
TV: ESPN3 (Trey Bender, Bill Herenda)
RADIO: Sports 920 AM The Game (Jon Sandler, Robert Smith)
ONLINE: Video: ESPN3, Radio Audio & Gametracker at UNLVRebels.com
CLICK HERE FOR FULL VERSION OF GAME NOTES (PDF)
The Last Meeting
March 9, 2013
Thomas & Mack Center