LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A season-best shooting performance and a late scoring spurt pushed Fresno State past UNLV 76-63 on Saturday before a season-high 5,950 fans at the Save Mart Center in Fresno, California.
The loss dropped the Rebels to 1-6 in the Mountain West, 12-7 overall. Fresno State, which got a career-best 28 points from Isaiah Hill, is 3-4 in the conference, 7-11 overall.
The Bulldogs shot 54.3% (25-for-46), their best shooting effort this season, including an 8-for-8 contribution from their bench players and 9-for-19 from 3-point range. The Bulldogs also were strong on the boards, holding a 33-23 edge in rebounding.
The loss also continues a tough stretch for UNLV, which started the season with 10 victories. Conference play, however, has been another story.
“There is frustration, but we need to just keep going at it,” Rebels coach Kevin Kruger said. “We need to get our edge and that chip back again, and it’s hard to do when you are struggling. But we have to understand and realize that coming into the season when no one really expected us to do anything, we had an edge and a chip and we have to get that swagger and confidence back.”
EJ Harkless led UNLV with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals. Keshon Gilbert scored 11 points and Keyshawn Hall added 10 points with five rebounds.
Fresno State (7-11, 3-4) was led by Isaiah Hill’s game highs of 28 points and five assists. Eduardo Andre had a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds.
The Rebels had a tough time making shots in the second half, which contributed to their demise. UNLV shot 21-for-51 overall (41.2%), including just 9 of 27 (33.3%) after intermission.
Fresno State led 68-63 late, and it looked as if the Rebels were about to make a charge. However, the Bulldogs finished by scoring the final eight points.
“It feels good, but it feels good to get a win,” said Fresno State’s Hill, who shot 7-for-12, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers. He also sank 10 of 12 free throws. “We had been on a three-game losing streak. That’s what I care about. I’m just happy we won.”
Kruger said he saw some positives in the Rebels’ third straight loss, but not enough of them. “There were a lot of really good stretches (today) where we did things well,” he said, “but, unfortunately, there were just a few more where we didn’t.”