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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas & Mack Center (18,500) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: Cox 96 LV. Home Record: UTM 2-3, UNLV 2-3. Away Record: UTM 0-4, UNLV 0-0. Neutral Record: UTM 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Conference Record: UTM 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Series Record: UNLV leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Tennessee-Martin Skyhawks will once again try to solve their road woes on Saturday night when they step into the Thomas & Mack Center for a non-conference bout with the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.
UTM is winless on the road in four tries so far this season, albeit the team's luck at home has not been much better. However, the Skyhawks did manage to snap a four-game slide with Wednesday's 95-82 win over Bethel. While that win came at home against a NAIA school, the Skyhawks must now hit the road for four of their next five contests.
UNLV will close out its season-opening, six-game homestand tonight. The Rebels have dropped two straight, including Tuesday's 61-59 setback to Illinois. That outcome dropped the Rebels below .500 for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
UNLV was victorious in both prior meetings in the all-time series with UTM, the most recent of which occurred during the 2007-08 season.
The Skyhawks dug themselves an early eight-point hole at home against Bethel, but that proved to be a minor blip on the radar as they went on to shoot 57.7 percent for the game. They also made 31-of-43 free throws and out-scored Bethel by 18 at the charity stripe. Myles Taylor paced five UTM players in double figures with a game-high 26 points and 11 rebounds. Marshun Newell was next in line with 16 points go along with three steals. One caveat to the win, however, were UTM's 21 turnovers, although they also forced 22. On the season, four Skyhawks are averaging double figures in the scoring column, led by Mike Liabo's 20.0 ppg in his two games played. Taylor is averaging 18.0 points and a team-best 7.0 rebounds.
The Runnin' Rebels led Illinois by five with four minutes to play in Tuesday's matchup, but they failed to score the rest of the way. Ultimately, the game was decided when Rayvonte Rice drove for a layup with 28 seconds left to put Illinois on top, 61-59. Khem Birch tallied 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in a losing effort, while Bryce Dejean-Jones and Kevin Olekaibe scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. Roscoe Smith pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds to go along with his six points. Smith (12.6 ppg) is the nation's leading rebounder with 15.6 rpg, while Birch (10.6 ppg, 11.0 rpg) is second in the country with 5.2 blocks per game. Olekaibe, a 40-percent shooter from the perimeter, leads the team in scoring with 12.8 ppg.
Both of these teams have struggled out of the gate, but it is tough to envision UTM matching up with the Rebels' imposing frontcourt, particularly on UNLV's home floor.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UNLV 71, Tennessee-Martin 61
11/30 10:35:06 ET
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