And just like that, Utah is kinda, sorta relevant in basketball again.
Utah defeated UNLV Wednesday night 81-73, giving the Rebels only their second defeat of the conference season and ending their five game winning streak. It also gave Utah its first win over UNLV in two years.
Both Johnnie Bryant and Luke Nevill had 26 points in the win, while Utah shot 49% from the field. The performance was one of the best this year by Utah, who had struggled earlier in Mountain West play.
For the Rebels, they were led by Joe Darger, who had 18 points on 6-9 shooting. However, UNLV's offense could not match the output by Utah, only managing 43% from the field. They also had no answer for Luke Nevill down low, who broke out of his season long struggles and dominated inside -- sometimes even forcefully going to the hoop.
As said, this was Utah's first win over UNLV since Ray Giacoletti's first season. The Rebels have easily owned Utah as of late and it's nice to see things might be changing. Though Utah is still not ready to be considered a top-level Mountain West team, they're moving in that direction -- however slowly it may seem. A win over the Rebels was a good start, now hopefully Utah doesn't follow it up with a bad loss, something they have done a few times this season.
Speaking of that upcoming game, the Utes kick off the 2nd half of their conference schedule with a road game against the Falcons. Utah had opened their conference slate with a dominant victory over Air Force, but Utah hasn't defeated them in Colorado Springs since wrapping up a share of the conference championship in 2005. So, like with UNLV, there is a two year drought we're dealing with here -- which isn't a surprise, since these struggles were only part of the reason Utah fired Ray Giacoletti. Clune Arena has been tough for Utah over the past few years and it will probably prove to be tough again this year. In fact, it holds the distinction of hosting Rick Majerus' final game at Utah, a blowout loss to the Falcons back in 2004.
But for now, Utah can enjoy their victory over the Falcons, at least for another 24 hours. It was impressive and hopefully it rejuvenated this season.
A quick break down of the game:
|L. Borha (G)||17||7||2-3||66.7||2-2||100.0||1-1||100.0||0||4||4||0||2||0||1||1|
|T. Kepkay (G)||35||6||1-5||20.0||3-4||75.0||1-4||25.0||1||4||5||6||0||0||1||2|
|S. Green (F)||35||4||1-6||16.7||1-2||50.0||1-4||25.0||2||3||5||5||1||1||0||1|
|C. Brown (F)||16||0||0-2||0.0||0-0||0.0||0-0||0.0||0||5||5||1||0||0||1||0|
|L. Nevill (C)||31||26||11-14||78.6||4-6||66.7||0-0||0.0||3||1||4||3||1||3||1||3|
|C. Bailey (G)||30||7||3-5||60.0||1-3||33.3||0-0||0.0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||4|
|W. Adams (G)||33||11||3-11||27.3||5-5||100.0||0-4||0.0||0||3||3||1||0||0||4||2|
|C. Terry (F)||38||14||4-13||30.8||4-4||100.0||2-8||25.0||0||7||7||8||0||0||3||1|
|R. Rougeau (F)||35||12||6-15||40.0||0-0||0.0||0-0||0.0||3||4||7||2||2||1||1||4|
|J. Darger (C)||30||18||6-9||66.7||2-2||100.0||4-7||57.1||2||1||3||1||0||0||0||3|