LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The UNLV basketball team closed its four-game homestand to start the season by going unbeaten, rallying to down High Point 78-68 on Friday at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Each of the Rebels’ starters scored in double figures, led by EJ Harkless’ 15 points. Luis Rodriguez added 12 points and 10 rebounds, while David Muoka scored 12 points and pulled in nine rebounds.
“I could not be prouder of our guys for the fight, especially in the second half,” coach Kevin Kruger said as the Rebels won their fourth straight. “We knew that High Point was an incredibly dangerous team, and I thought we did a really good job through stretches, especially to finish those last eight or so minutes of the game.”
UNLV trailed 36-33 at halftime, but its defensive pressure prevailed. High Point (3-1) entered the game averaging 100 points in its first three victories, but the Rebels limited the Panthers to 37.1% shooting (23-for-62).
The Rebels forced 20 turnovers — and are averaging 24 in their four triumphs — and held advantages in points in the paint (46-14) and on the fast break (19-6).
Keshon Gilbert and Elijah Parquet added 11 points apiece for UNLV. For Gilbert, it marked the fourth straight game he’s scored in double figures. Parquet also added five rebounds, matching a career high.
The Panthers had four players score 10 or more points, led by Zach Austin and Abdoulaye Thiam each with 20.
UNLV hits the road for the SoCal Challenge in San Juan Capistrano, California, facing Southern Illinois in the tournament’s first round at 10 p.m. Monday (CBS Sports Network).
The challenge finished Wednesday, with UNLV facing either Cal Baptist or Minnesota. Those two teams face each other in the opener on Monday.