Nebraska Omaha (2-1) at UNLV (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 15, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Thomas & Mack Center (18,500) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television: MWN. Home Record: UNO 1-0, UNLV 1-1. Away Record: UNO 1-1, UNLV 0-0. Neutral Record: UNO 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Conference Record: UNO 0-0, UNLV 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Runnin' Rebels of UNLV try to rebound from an ugly loss as they host the Mavericks of Nebraska Omaha in non-conference play at the Thomas & Mack Center.
After taking out the Portland State Vikings in the season opener last Friday by a score of 67-48, the Runnin' Rebels figured to have their hands full with visiting UC Santa Barbara, but by no means did UNLV see an 86-65 loss coming against the Gauchos, especially in front of the home crowd on Tuesday night.
Not only was it a rare non-conference home loss for the Rebels, but the 86 points were more than the team gave up all of last season.
As for the Mavericks, this is already their fourth game of the 2013-14 campaign, with two victories locked away. The squad managed to slip by Northern Illinois in the opener, 68-66, before bowing to Iowa, 83-75, to get things started last week. Then on Wednesday night, UNO easily took care of UMKC at home in a 101-71 final.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
For the third game in a row, CJ Carter was the leading scorer for the Mavericks as he poured in 22 points in the lopsided victory over the Kangaroos at Ralston Arena. Also scoring in double figures for UNO were John Karhoff with 16 points, Justin Simmons with 12 and reserve Marcus Tyus with 11. Overall, the squad shot an impressive 53.3 percent from the field, and at the defensive end of the floor held a winless UMKC squad to 1-of-11 shooting behind the 3-point line while forcing 20 turnovers.
Clearly, Carter is the catalyst on offense for the Mavericks with his 20.7 ppg, stemming from a solid 48.7 percent effort from the field and a near- perfect 16-of-18 showing at the free-throw line. Although he is playing less than 22 minutes per game due to consistent foul trouble, John Karhoff is putting up another 11.0 ppg, followed by Devin Patterson with 10.0 ppg.
UNLV fell behind the Gauchos immediately the last time out, watching the visitors shoot not only 62.5 percent from the field in the first half, but also 6-of-7 behind the 3-point line, en route to an ugly win on Tarkanian Court. The Rebels didn't have a single starter score in double figures, instead they combined to shoot just 8-of-32 from the field.
Kevin Olekaibe, a transfer from Fresno State, responded with 15 points off the bench on 5-of-11 shooting from the perimeter, while fellow backups Kendall Smith and Jamal Aytes pitched in with 13 and 10 points, respectively, as the squad shot a collective 36.5 percent from the floor and 11-of-20 at the free- throw line.
The loss of Anthony Bennett to the NBA and Mike Moser to transfer was supposed to cramp the Rebels style a bit, but against UCSB perhaps we were given a different view of what to expect moving forward. The Rebels, one of the top scoring teams in the Mountain West Conference typically, is putting up only 66.0 ppg while shooting 39.7 percent from the floor and a dismal 24-of-48 at the charity stripe.
Obviously these are not the same Runnin' Rebels who could race up and down the floor better than anyone else, which is why UNLV might struggle more than expected this season. However, that said, this is a meeting that should fall in favor of the hosts.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: UNLV 82, Nebraska Omaha 68
11/15 10:31:10 ET