Titans Can't Stop UNLV
LAS VEGAS – UNLV's winning streak remained intact on Saturday night as Roscoe Smith and Khem Birch each produced double-doubles for the Rebels in an 83-64 victory over Cal State Fullerton at the Thomas & Mack Center.
UNLV (9-4), now on a six-game streak and playing the team's final non-conference game of the year, held large advantages at the free-throw line, behind the arc and second-chance points.
Smith scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting while adding 14 rebounds, while Birch added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
UNLV's Bryce Dejean-Jones produced game highs in points (19) and assists (6), while knocking down 8-of-14 at the free-throw line and adding seven rebounds. Kevin Olekaibe poured in 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from behind the arc.
As a team, UNLV shot 48.4 percent (30-of-62) from the floor, holding a 13-8 advantage in second-chance points by way of 17 offensive rebounds. The Rebels held a 48-39 advantage on the boards overall.
Fullerton (5-8) was whistled for a season-high 25 fouls, sending the Rebels to line on 34 occasions, although UNLV connected on just 16 of its attempts. Fullerton made 23 trips to the line, sinking 17.
Behind the arc, Fullerton also struggled in comparison to the Rebels. UNLV shot 50.0 percent (7-of-14) from three-point range, while Fullerton struggled at a .200 clip (3-of-15).
For the seventh time in the last nine games, Michael Williams led Cal State Fullerton in scoring with 13 points (all in the first half) as the senior has now recorded double figures in 13 consecutive games. In addition, Josh Gentry and Steve McClellan each scored 11 points off the bench, and Marquis Horne led Fullerton with a season-high nine rebounds.
UNLV opened the second half on an 8-0 run to take a 20-point, 47-27 lead over the Titans.
Williams led all scorers in the first half with 13 points, but the biggest discrepancies in the first 20 minutes were at the free-throw line and behind the three-point arc as UNLV led 39-27 at the break.
UNLV made 17 trips to the line – converting nine – while Fullerton shot 4-of-6 from the stripe. Behind the arc, the Rebels shot 66.7 percent (6-of-9) while Fullerton knocked down just 1-of-6 from long distance.
UNLV jumped out to a 9-0 advantage until Williams' trey at the 16:12 mark of the first half, which sparked a 9-1 run for the Titans. Fullerton closed, 10-9, after a Harris jumper with 12:00 remaining in the first period.
The run was halted as Olekaibe knocked down a three-pointer on the wing, and UNLV went on to produce an 8-0 run that put the Rebels in the lead, 18-9, with 10:15 remaining.
The Titans once again closed, 23-18, after a Harris jumper as 6:32 remained, but UNLV once again produced a devastating 9-1 run as Fullerton trailed 32-19 – the team's largest deficit of the first half.
Cal State Fullerton ends the non-conference portion of its schedule with a game at Tulsa on Saturday, Jan. 4. The Titans open Big West play at Titan Gym on Thursday, Jan. 9, hosting UC Riverside at 7 p.m. Fullerton will host Youth Night against the Highlanders with all children ages 12-and-under receiving free admission.
Notes: Michael Williams reached double figures for the 13th straight game…for the fifth time this season Cal State Fullerton never led in the game…UNLV leads the all-time series against Cal State Fullerton 33-7 including a 15-2 mark at home…Cal State Fullerton was whistled for a season-high 25 fouls…Marquis Horne recorded a season-high nine rebounds.