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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 15, 9:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pit/Bob King Court (15,411) -- Albuquerque, New Mexico. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: UNLV 6-5, UNM 6-1. Away Record: UNLV 2-1, UNM 3-1. Neutral Record: UNLV 2-0, UNM 3-1. Conference Record: UNLV 1-2, UNM 3-0. Series Record: UNLV leads, 29-19.
GAME NOTES: Back in action for the first time in a week, the UNLV Runnin' Rebels go up against the New Mexico Lobos in Mountain West Conference action in The Pit.
Expected to be one of the better teams in the MWC this season, UNLV is off to a 1-2 start after beating Fresno State in the conference opener, but then bowing to Air Force unexpectedly and, a week ago, Nevada (74-71) at home in the Thomas & Mack Center.
Meanwhile, the Lobos enter the day tied for second place in the league standings with nationally-ranked San Diego State with a record of 3-0. Since dropping consecutive decisions versus Kansas and New Mexico State, UNM has recorded five straight wins, the latest being a 69-65 final against San Jose State on Saturday.
The Rebels own a 29-19 advantage in the all-time series, but New Mexico has been victorious in two straight meetings.
Within the friendly confines of Sin City, the Runnin' Rebels assumed to have the advantage against visiting Nevada, but the Wolf Pack still figured out a way to come out on top. Roscoe Smith registered a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds, while Bryce Dejean-Jones actually led the way in the scoring column with 15 points for the hosts. Khem Birch and Christian Wood chimed in with 12 and 11 points, respectively, as the Rebels shot only 34.9 percent from the field and 3-of-15 behind the 3-point line.
Over the course of 16 games, the Runnin' Rebels are generating 74.6 ppg as they connect on a decent 44.9 percent of their field goal chances. Competitors have been limited to just 39.6 percent from the floor, including a mere 26.7 percent out on the perimeter, allowing UNLV to produce a scoring margin of 9.4 ppg. Dejean-Jones is at the top of the scoring list with 14.5 ppg, while Roscoe Smith accounts for 12.5 ppg and is one of the nation's leading rebounders with 12.8 rpg.
In a game that featured eight ties and 17 lead changes, the Lobos found themselves in a tight battle with San Jose State over the weekend but still managed to come out ahead on the road. Kendall Williams put together a solid stat line with 19 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals, while Cameron Bairstow and Deshawn Delaney pitched in with 15 and 12 points, respectively. The biggest different for UNM took place at the free-throw line where the team outscored the Spartans, 15-6.
Even though Williams was considered the preseason player of the year coming into 2013-14, it is Bairstow who leads the Lobos with 20.0 ppg as he shoots 54.8 percent from the floor. The big man is also a solid pick at the free- throw line with his 73.8 percent accuracy. Williams (18.3 ppg) is much more of a perimeter presence with his 43.5 percent shooting behind the 3-point line, adding 78 assists over 15 games in order to keep the offensive flow moving for the Lobos.
The Lobos operate in one of the more intimidating venues in college basketball, and this year UNM has won all but one of seven dates in The Pit, something the Runnin' Rebels will have to keep in mind when they are not only battling the five on the floor, but also the extra man in the stands.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 72, UNLV 65
01/15 10:33:53 ET
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