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Rebels drop fourth road MWC contest, fall at Wyoming, 77-68

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AP Photo/Laramie Boomerang, Ben Woloszyn

Wyoming guard Brandon Ewing is guarded by UNLV guard Tre’Von Willis during Wednesday’s game in Laramie, Wyo. The Rebels lost, 77-68.

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Wyoming guard A.J. Davis drives to the basket past UNLV guard Kendall Wallace during Wednesday's game in Laramie, Wyo. The Rebels lost, 77-68.

Final, Wyoming wins 77-68

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Despite a flurry of offensive activity late, the Rebels early shooting woes could not be overcome, as Lon Kruger's club fell to 19-7 overall and 7-5 in Mountain West play on Wednesday night with a 77-68 loss at Wyoming.

UNLV went 0-for-12 from 3-point range in the first half as Wyoming surged to a 10-point halftime lead. The Rebels finished the night just 5-of-26 from long distance and 22-of-62 from the floor.

Meanwhile, Wyoming's Brandon Ewing, who had one of his worst offensive outings of the season in the first meeting with UNLV, went off for a game-high 29 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 5 3-pointers. In the process, he became just the third player in Wyoming history to score 2,000 points for his career.

He was aided by 13 points from Sean Ogirri and 10 from freshman big man Adam Waddell.

Wink Adams and Tre'Von Willis each scored 18 for the Rebels. Adams was 6-of-16 from the floor, while Willis was 4-of-10. René Rougeau chipped in with 16.

UNLV was outrebounded, 44-29, which helped the Cowboys negate their 24 turnovers.

The Rebels are back in action on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center, with an 8 p.m. tip against BYU. Wyoming, who improved to 15-10 overall and 4-7 in the MWC, hosts TCU on Saturday.

For full postgame coverage, including stories, stats and The Rebel Room: Postgame Edition, stay tuned to www.lasvegassun.com/rebels.

3:48, second half, Wyoming leads 59-55

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Powered by a quick 7-0 run out of a Lon Kruger 30-second timeout, UNLV is again within good range of Wyoming as the two squads head into the home stretch in Laramie with the Cowboys leading 59-55.

Wink Adams hit a pull-up jumper to start things off, then René Rougeau slammed home his sixth bucket of the night off a steal at midcourt. Finally, Tre'Von Willis hit UNLV's third 3-pointer of the night, coming atop the key.

Both teams are in the double bonus. So, again, free throws will be huge late.

If UNLV escapes with a win, it'll be earned in the toughest of ways. Right now, the Rebels are just 18-of-55 from the floor and 3-of-21 from 3-point range.

11:35, second half, Wyoming leads 52-38

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- While UNLV is now 1-of-17 from 3-point range, it's not as if Wyoming is burning up the nets from distance. The Cowboys are 5-of-11, but the timing of their hits are what have been huge.

Brandon Ewing, who has a game-high 19 points, is responsible for 4 of those 5, with his latest coming in the midst of a 10-2 Cowboys run after UNLV had closed to within six points.

The Rebels, oddly enough, may have no choice but to rely on a heavy dose of 3-point attempts from here on out, as the Cowboys' edge is steadily remaining in double digits.

UNLV just looks dog-tired on both ends, and as far as offensive execution, it's been spotty at best tonight.

15:33, second half, Wyoming leads 42-33

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- The consecutive game streak with a 3-pointer made lives to see No. 732, as Wink Adams hit one for the Rebels 3:22 into the second half.

But capitalizing on other opportunities will be key for the Rebels the rest of the way. Both Adams and Joe Darger were fouled attempting 3-pointers after Adams' initial make. Darger went 1-of-3 on his trip to the line, while Adams hit all three.

Free throw shooting will certainly play a role in the final 15 minutes or so of this one. UNLV has 6 team fouls this half, while Wyoming has 5. It's almost bonus time. So far, Wyoming is 8-of-13 at the line, while UNLV is 11-of-15.

Halftime, Wyoming leads 35-25

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Thanks to some opportunities stemming from backcourt traps, René Rougeau and Wink Adams dropped in late layups to pull the Rebels to within 10 of the Cowboys at the half in Laramie, 35-25.

Still, there's quite a hill to climb to even this thing out.

Turnovers typically tell quite a story, but in this one Wyoming has 15 to UNLV's 7.

The difference so far is shooting. Plain and simple.

The Rebels, who were oh-so efficient against Colorado State in the first half on Saturday, were just 10-of-33 from the floor, but more important, 0-for-12 from 3-point range. Keep in mind, UNLV has gone 731 games in a row with at least one 3-pointer connected upon.

It's a strong possibility that streak will continue, since several looks have gone half-way down before popping out, but UNLV probably won't complete a comeback without a couple of them.

The story of this game so far tonight is Brandon Ewing. The Cowboys' senior standout has 16 points to his credit, including three consecutive 3-pointers. He was offensively absent in the first meeting, if you remember.

Some other numbers of note from the first half ...

--Wyoming was 14-of-26 from the floor and 4-of-8 from long range. Sean Ogirri, though, who hoisted 15 3-point attempts in meeting No. 1, is just 1-of-4.

--UNLV is losing the rebounding battle, 24-12. Wyoming has 17 defensive rebounds to UNLV's 6 offensive caroms.

--Wink Adams is 3-of-9 from the floor and 0-for-3 from deep.

--Joe Darger's only been able to shake free for two 3-point attempts. It appears the Cowboys are keying on him just as the Rebels are on Ogirri.

3:27, first half, Wyoming leads 33-19

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- On Jan. 17 at the Thomas & Mack Center, Brandon Ewing was visibly frustrated while scoring 7 points on 2-of-5 shooting in a Wyoming loss.

Talk about a complete opposite.

As the Rebels are struggling mightily, going 0-for-10 from deep so far, Ewing just hit his third trey of the game, forcing UNLV into a timeout trailing 33-19. Ewing has 14 points so far, is yucking it up with the crowd, dancing after buckets and just became the third player in Wyoming to top the 2,000-point plateau. Hard to argue that this could very well be his night.

7:43, first half, Wyoming leads 20-15

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Wink Adams hit a mid-range, step-back jumper with 9:18 to go in the first half, and that was the first outside shot UNLV hit on the night. It also set off a barrage of buckets between two teams that had a tough time getting it going on offense.

An A.J. Davis power slam off a Brandon Ewing feed and a Sean Ogirri 3-pointer from the right corner.

As for the Rebels in the long-distance game, they are 0-for-8. That's quite the difference from Saturday's 8-of-11 showing from distance in the first half against Colorado State.

11:03, first half, Wyoming leads 9-6

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Shooting-wise, tonight's Rebels squad looks like those who took the floor during the better portion of the non-conference season. UNLV is 0-for-6 so far from 3-point range, and Wyoming is getting the ball deep against the Rebels' defense.

Mostly doing so is freshman big man Adam Waddell. Oddly enough, he's the lone Cowboy starter not averaging at least 14.3 ppg, but he's already right at his 5.3 average, with 5 of Wyoming's 9 points so far.

Lon Kruger's dipped pretty deep into the bench so far, but now the starters are back out there with the exception of Oscar Bellfield. As for Brice Massamba? He showed nice activity in his couple of minutes of work, including keeping a tipped ball alive for a René Rougeau tip.

15:07, first half, game tied 2-2

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- UNLV's certainly had its looks in the opening minutes on the offensive end of the floor, but the 2-2 score through nearly five minutes tells you just how rough of an offensive start it's been for Lon Kruger's club.

The Rebels are already 0-for-4 from 3-point range, with Oscar Bellfield hoisting an airball, and both Tre'Von Willis and Wink Adams missing badly on their own. That said, Kendall Wallace is checking in at the first media timeout.

Also checking in is Brice Massamba. The freshman big man had been relegated to mop-up minutes in recent blowout wins, but Darris Santee has been a blackshirt (i.e. third-teamer) in practice the past couple of days. Here's Brice's opportunity to get back in the roatation.

Pregame

LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Hello all and welcome to Laramie, where you'll get a reminder seemingly around every corner that you're at 7,000-plus feet of elevation. It's enough to make just about anybody light-headed.

The Rebels, however cannot afford a loss at the hands of elevation tonight. Or to the Cowboys, for that matter.

Wyoming looks relatively harmless in terms of the record, as Heath Schroyer's team has lost four straight, and comes into tonight with faded postseason hopes at 14-10 overall and 3-7 in the league.

But you can never discount offensive firepower. Four of the Cowboys' five starters average at least 14.3 points per game, led by Brandon Ewing, who didn't look the part of an 18.2 ppg player in an 83-66 loss to UNLV in the Thomas & Mack Center last month. In fact, he looked far from it.

The Rebels took him out of his game early on in terms of producing points, and things got very helter skelter for Wyoming after that.

Not sure what kind of crowd is to be expected tonight in the Arena-Auditorium -- creative name, I know, right? Hopefully as many of these seats as possible can be filled, because the brown and mustard yellow theme running around the arena isn't the most pleasing to the eyes.

Oh, also, did you know that Wyoming won an NCAA hoops title in 1943? NEVER would have guessed that. Yes, if you can't tell by now, I'm grasping. It's been a long day and a long trip up to Laramie, so lets get on with the predictions.

1) Picks to click ... Miech is taking Tre'Von Willis, while yours truly will opt for Kendall Wallace.

2) Buckle up your seat belts for ... Sean Ogirri, who was 7-of-15 from the floor in the first meeting with 21 points. Yes, all 15 of those attempts were 3-pointers. The guy is unconscious when it comes to shooting the three, and he'll dial it up from absolutely anywhere. Remember that 35-footer he chucked in the opening minutes at the Mack, anyone?

3) Score predictions ... I'll take UNLV, 74-70. Miech opts for 74-71 ... without even looking at my prediction. Yes, we're functioning like a regular Stockton-to-Malone at this point in the season.

Talk to you after the tip.

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  1. Comes down to conference tourney.....again. Man this team is so hot and cold its depressing.

  2. Bring the season ticket prices down. This is not worth the price hike. Take the scholarships given to Santee and Massamba and give it to someone else. These guys are getting a free ride.

  3. I continue to be disappointed by the Rebels this season. The team is completely up and down. We've had big win playing away at Louisville and BYU, but also lost to the teams around the bottom of the conference, such as TCU and Colorado state (which was embarrassing!) I never know what to expect, and in such a competitive conference, it's gonna be difficult for them to pull it off in the MWC tournament.