LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – The UNLV men’s basketball team is scheduled to return to the court on Monday, December 14, to host Pepperdine at the Thomas & Mack Center at 6:30 p.m. Because of the current status of COVID-19 in Southern Nevada, fans are not permitted to attend.
The Runnin’ Rebels haven’t played a game since Saturday, December 5, when they won at Big 12 Conference-member Kansas State for their first victory of the season. UNLV’s subsequent scheduled game vs. Eastern Washington for Wednesday, December 9 was canceled.
In the win against the Wildcats, junior guard David Jenkins Jr. made seven 3-pointers and scored a season-high 25 points, while junior guard Bryce Hamilton added 18 with team-highs of eight rebounds and six assists (career high), and sophomore guard Caleb Grill contributed 12 points. The trio combined to score 55 of UNLV’s 68 total points on 22 of 40 shooting, including 11 of 23 on 3-pointers.
Coming off a tie for second place in the Mountain West standings last season, UNLV has an entirely new look this year as 10 of its 13 scholarship players had yet to play in a game for the Runnin’ Rebels as the 2020-21 season began.
UNLV’s returners include senior forward Mbacke Diong, and junior guards Marvin Coleman and Hamilton. Other returners from last year’s roster include Jenkins Jr., a transfer, sophomore transfer forward Moses Wood, and walk-on junior guard Trey Hurlburt. Of the nine newcomers added to this year’s roster, seven are freshmen.
Hamilton was the team’s leading scorer last season. The Runnin’ Rebels’ first First-Team All-Mountain West recipient in seven seasons, he averaged 16.0 points per game as a sophomore. Diong led UNLV in rebounding at 7.9 per contest as a junior. Hamilton was also named a Preseason All-MW honoree in November, while Jenkins Jr. was selected as the league’s Preseason Newcomer of the Year and freshman guard Nick Blake was named the conference’s Preseason Freshman of the Year.
Hamilton is the team’s leading scorer this season and is third in the MW at 20.8 ppg, while he also leads the team and is sixth in the league in assists at 4.0 apg. Grill, a transfer from Iowa State, is also averaging in double figures in scoring with 13.6 ppg, as is Jenkins Jr. with 13.2 ppg.
Pepperdine is coming off an 16-16 overall record, including 8-8 (6th) in the West Coast Conference last season. The Waves are 3-3 this season and are coming off an 89-84 home loss to Cal State Northridge on Saturday. Pepperdine lost in triple overtime to then-No. 22 UCLA and suffered a close loss at San Diego State earlier this season. The Waves defeated Pac-12 member California last week.
Monday’s game will be televised live in Las Vegas on Cox YurView channel 14 / 1014HD and streamed worldwide for free with Matt Neverett and Steve Cofield calling the action. Jon Sandler and former Runnin’ Rebel Curtis Terry will handle the UNLV radio call, which may be heard live on ESPN Radio 1100 in Las Vegas. All streaming links and live stats will be available at UNLVRebels.com.