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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 29, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Event Center (5,000) -- San Jose, California. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: UNLV 8-5, SJSU 4-4. Away Record: UNLV 3-2, SJSU 2-8. Neutral Record: UNLV 2-0, SJSU 0-2. Conference Record: UNLV 4-3, SJSU 0-8. Series Record: UNLV leads, 31-4.
GAME NOTES: The one Mountain West Conference team still without a league victory gives it another go tonight, as the San Jose State Spartans clash with the UNLV Runnin' Rebels at The Event Center.
San Jose State, which hasn't defeated a Division I foe since taking down UC Davis in three overtimes now more than a month ago, has come up empty in all eight MWC contests. Over the weekend, the Spartans were thrashed by Boise State at Taco Bell Arena by a score of 76-55.
As for the Runnin' Rebels, the 2013-14 campaign has been filled with many surprises, many of which have worked against the team from Sin City. However, the team has show signs of life at the right time, winning two straight and three of the last four thanks to a 75-73 overtime triumph versus visiting Fresno State last weekend.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Rebels own a commanding 31-4 advantage. However, this is the first meeting between the squads since Feb. 15 1997 when UNLV slipped by with a 77-73 victory at the Thomas & Mack Center while both programs were operating as members of the Western Athletic Conference.
Khem Birch registered a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds as the UNLV Runnin' Rebels claimed a narrow two-point decision against the Fresno State Bulldogs in Mountain West Conference action at the Thomas & Mack Center. Deville Smith posted 17 points and Kevin Olekaibe 15 for the Runnin' Rebels, while Bryce Dejean-Jones and Roscoe Smith both tallied 10 points, the former also handing out seven assists. UNLV survived despite shooting only 41.9 percent from the field and 6-of-22 behind the 3-point line.
As one of the nation's leaders in rebounding with 12.2 per game, Roscoe Smith has been helping to keep this group afloat. However, in conference play his efforts on the glass have fallen a bit short with just 10.3 rpg and because of that the Rebels now own a 1.6 rpg advantage over league foes. A starter in all but three of the 19 games in which he has appeared, Dejean-Jones leads the way with 14.4 ppg and is also first with 63 assists, although neither of those stats completely counters his mere 24.6 percent accuracy beyond the arc.
The Spartans fell behind immediately against Boise State on Friday and never recovered, converting a feeble eight field goals in the first half and the same number after the break, en route to the 21-point road loss. Jalen James emerged as the top scorer for the visitors with 12 points, shooting 3-of-7 from the floor and 6-of-8 at the free-throw line, followed by Chris Cunningham and Devante Wilson with 10 points apiece.
San Jose State, which is shooting only 39.5 percent from the field on the season, has now converted less than 39.0 percent from the floor in three straight games and four of the last five, bringing the group's overall scoring average down to 67.1 ppg, the lowest it has been since the first month of the campaign. In conference play the group is putting up a mere 58.6 ppg, compared to 72.2 ppg for the competition, with freshman reserve Rashad Muhammad posting a team-best 11.0 ppg.
Just 3-2 in true road games this season, the Rebels have certainly had their issues not just away from home, but also in the friendly confines of the Thomas & Mack. However, this could be the sort of game that gives UNLV a boost of confidence just when it needs it most.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UNLV 81, San Jose State 63
01/29 10:36:03 ET
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