By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas & Mack Center (19,522) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: ISU 4-0, UNLV 2-1. Away Record: ISU 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Neutral Record: ISU 0-1, UNLV 0-0. Conference Record: ISU 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The 18th-ranked UNLV Rebels will try to avoid consecutive setbacks as they host the Iowa State Cyclones at the Thomas & Mack Center in the third- place game of the Global Sports Classic.
The Cyclones will also try to avoid their first losing streak of the season after dropping a 78-70 decision to No. 22 Cincinnati on Friday. Iowa State opened the season with four convincing wins over Southern (82-59), Alabama A&M (98-40), Campbell (88-68) and North Carolina A&T (86-57) before the Bearcats derailed its streak. The Cyclones came into the contest with ridiculously-high averages of 88.5 points, 49.0 rebounds, and 17.8 assists per game. Although the team was unable to achieve those marks versus Cincy, it still could have come out on top had it made more than 12-of-21 at the free throw line.
The Runnin' Rebels were very impressive in earlier routs of Northern Arizona (92-54) and Jacksonville State (83-79). But UNLV's defense was not able to deliver the same stifling performance versus Oregon in its 83-79 loss in the semifinals. The defeat ended the team's 20-game home winning streak and dropped its record this season to 2-1. Coach Dave Rice's team came into the game shooting 48.7 percent from the floor, but managed to make only 24-of-67 attempts from the floor (.358) versus the Ducks. The Runnin' Rebels did manage to convert 23-of-25 at the charity stripe, but that was not enough to overcome their first loss in the rebounding battle or 18 costly turnovers.
This bout marks the first meeting between these schools on the basketball court.
Iowa State's eight-point loss to the nationally-ranked Bearcats was remarkably close considering its leading scorer, Will Clyburn, put forth a terrible 2- of-14 shooting performance. The senior guard was held to a season-low eight points in the loss, while second-leading scorer, freshman forward Georges Niang, tallied only five points and went 0-of-5 at the charity stripe. Tyrus McGee came off the bench to score a season-high 22 points, but the team struggled overall with a 35-of-67 showing on field goal attempts.
Last season, UNLV ran its offense through Mike Moser, and the power forward thrived in the leadership role with averages of 14 ppg and 10.5 rpg. The Runnin' Rebels had one of the top recruiting classes in the nation in the offseason, but the new mix of players didn't jell versus Oregon. Freshman sensation Anthony Bennett recorded his first career double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, but Moser tallied just nine points on 2-of-6 shooting from the field. The starting backcourt duo of Katin Reinhardt and Bruce Dejean-Jones combined for 29 points, but they also combined to go 9-of-27 from the floor. Reinhardt's three-point shooting (4-of-8) did play a vital role.
Both teams bear a striking resemblance in that they came into Friday on a roll, with enough momentum to move a mountain, but left hanging their heads. The young Rebels are more talented and athletic than ISU, but the Cyclones will be able to knock UNLV out of Top-25 if their three-point shot gets back on target.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UNLV 80, Iowa State 77
11/24 10:37:40 ET
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