On a night when the shooting was as cold as the air outside the arena, UNLV forwards Quintrell Thomas and Carlos Lopez did the heavy lifting in a 67-54 win over Utah at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Runnin’ Rebels third straight win, coming after an eight-day layoff, was hardly a thing of beauty. UNLV shot less than 37% from the floor, including 2-of-12 from three-point range, and missed 10 free throws. But big men Thomas and Lopez picked up the slack down low with career performances. Thomas finished with 15 points and 16 rebounds, despite shooting just 5-of-14. Lopez came off the bench and delivered 14 points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes. The only other Rebel in double figures was Chace Stanback with 11. After that it was just plain ugly, with starting guards Tre’Von Willis, Anthony Marshall and Oscar Bellfield combining to shoot just 5-of-25, including 0-of-7 from three-point range.
Fortunately for the Rebels, the Utes were even worse. Utah shot just 29% for the game, committed 17 turnovers and missed 11 free throws. UNLV improved to 17-5 overall, 5-3 Mountain West Conference. Utah fell to 10-12, 3-5. The Runnin’ Rebels will next face #9 BYU in Provo, Utah on Saturday afternoon.
Note: According to UNLV’s sports information office, Thomas’ 16 rebounds were the most by a Rebel player since Lou Amundson had 21 vs. Hawaii back on Nov. 22, 2005.