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Rebels rebound for 30-point win over University of Calgary

Updated August 17, 2022 - 9:41 pm

A quick turnaround after a loss Tuesday night to begin its Canadian tour appeared to serve UNLV well Wednesday night, as the Rebels defeated the University of Calgary Dinos 104-74 at War Memorial Gymnasium in Vancouver, British Columbia.

“We were much better with our intent from the jump,” UNLV coach Kevin Kruger said, comparing their effort to the lackluster one the night before in a disappointing 79-72 loss to the University of British Columbia. “The starting group did a job setting the tone, being active and sticking to the game plan, then the second unit came in and continued it.”

Jackie Johnson led the Rebels in scoring for the second night in a row with 17 points. Four other Rebels — Justin Webster (13), Keshon Gilbert (12), David Muoka (11) and Isaiah Cottrell (10) — scored in double figures. All 11 UNLV players who participated in the game scored.

Johnson scored seven quick points in the first quarter as UNLV went on an early 10-0 run to jump to a 17-5 lead.

UNLV scored the first nine points in the second half to grow its lead to 19. After Calgary closed the margin to as few as nine points, UNLV closed the third quarter on a 13-4 run to get the lead back to 19 points, 75-56. The Rebels’ largest lead was 32 points late in the fourth quarter.

UNLV maintained its first-half lead by forcing Calgary into 13 turnovers, which they turned into 19 points. In total, the Rebels finished with 29 points off turnovers.

On the other end, UNLV managed to limit its mistakes with only two first-half turnovers and finished with just 10.

“That’s big for us,” Kruger said. “We can’t take possessions away by turning it over.”

Along with forcing turnovers, Kruger said the team did a better job defensively. He felt they did not allow Calgary to create any rhythm offensively by limiting catch-and-shoot 3-pointers.

The Rebels controlled the lane, scoring 56 points inside on 65.1 percent shooting. Muoka made an impact inside with his scoring, but Kruger said his 12 rebounds were just as critical.

“(Muoka) had a much better mentality of going to get rebounds,” Kruger said. “In a lot of ways it allowed us to run out offensively and get better looks.”

The Rebels will have an off day Thursday and conclude their Canadian tour against the University of the Fraser Valley Friday at 7 p.m. in Abbotsford, British Columbia.

Contact Alex Wright at awright@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlexWright1028 on Twitter.

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