Rebels travel to San Jose St. for weekend games

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LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – The UNLV men’s basketball team will continue its four-game road swing – it’s longest of the season – with a pair of Mountain West games at San Jose State scheduled for Friday, February 19 and Sunday, February 21. Friday’s game will begin at 6:30 p.m. and be video streamed via Stadium on the Mountain West Network, while Sunday’s game will start at 1 p.m. and be televised on CBS Sports Network.

This will be SJSU’s first true home game of the season, as the pandemic forced the Spartans to play their previous home contests out of state in Phoenix.

UNLV is 2-2 in its last four outings, recording a home sweep over Air Force on February 6 and 8, then falling twice at Boise State on February 11 & 13. In their last outing, the Runnin’ Rebels had a chance to win on the last possession, trailing by one, but weren’t able to convert.

Because of COVID-19 issues, the Runnin’ Rebels went 33 days without a game before playing at Colorado State on January 7 for its first MW series of the season. However, since resuming play, UNLV has played a total of 14 games in a 37-day span.

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 included senior forward Mbacke Diong, and junior guards Marvin Coleman and Bryce Hamilton. It was announced on January 16 that Coleman would miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his right leg. Other returners from last year’s roster include junior transfer guard David Jenkins Jr., 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 second in the MW at 18.4 ppg. He has missed some time with ank ankle injury, but returned on Feb. 6 vs. Air Force. He also leads in assists with 3.7 apg (5th in MW), steals with 1.6 spg (3rd in MW) and field-goal percentage at .444 (9th in MW). Diong is the team’s rebounding leader (8.0 rpg, 4th in MW). Jenkins Jr., is also averaging in double figures in scoring with 15.0 ppg (8th in MW), is second in the MW in 3-pointers made (2.8 per game) and is second in 3-point percentage (.439).

San Jose State is 5-13 overall this season and 3-11 in MW play. The Spartans had their most recent series postponed, which was scheduled for Feb. 13 & 15 vs. UNR. In their last action, they were swept at San Diego State on Feb. 8 & 10. The team is led in scoring by Richard Washington at 20.7 ppg, but he has been out recently. Ralph Agee and Jalen Dalcourt are the only other SJSU players to have scoring averages over 10 ppg (both at 10.8).

Friday’s Stadium broadcast will be called by JB Long and Doug Gottlieb, while Sunday’s announcers will be Alex Del Barrio and Tim Doyle. 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 are available at UNLVRebels.com.

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