GAME NOTES: The UNLV Runnin' Rebels hit the road tonight, albeit barely across town, as they take their act to Orleans Arena in order to challenge the Santa Clara Broncos as part of the Las Vegas Classic.
UNLV, which plays home games just over three miles away at the Thomas & Mack Center, is coming off an 82-50 thumping of Sacred Heart two nights ago at home. The win was the third straight and the fourth in the last five outings for the program.
As for the Broncos, they too have hit a stride in recent weeks with a three- game win streak and victories in four of five games, just like UNLV. Coincidentally, Santa Clara's last two triumph have come against the same competition as the Rebels as well, beating Radford (75-62) and Sacred Heart (70-61) at home in the Leavey Center.
The Rebels own a 9-7 advantage in the all-time series, winning five in a row and six of the last seven encounters. The last meeting took place during the 2009-10 campaign with UNLV pulling out a 66-63 victory. The most recent win for Santa Clara was a 61-57 final back in 1973-74.
Trailing by four points at the break versus Sacred Heart, the Broncos turned around a disappointing 33.3 percent shooting effort in the first half to knock down 52.0 percent in the second half, as well as 15-of-18 at the free-throw line in order to bring home the win. Brandon Clark connected on 5-of-9 shots behind the 3-point line as he finished with a game-high 30 points, while Evan Roquemore tacked on 17 points for the hosts.
Clark, a 42.0 percent shooter on the perimeter, accounts for a team-best 16.4 ppg and at the same time is one of the better passers with close to four assists per outing. Jared Brownridge (14.5 ppg) and Roquemore (12.0 ppg) are also just as inclined to get their teammates involved in the action as both hand out more than three assists per game as well for a team that is scoring a solid 74.6 ppg.
Roscoe Smith registered a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds as the UNLV Runnin' Rebels posted a 32-point win over the Sacred Heart Pioneers as part of the Las Vegas Classic at the Thomas & Mack Center. Also scoring 15 points for the Runnin' Rebels was Khem Birch as he shot 6-of-8 from the floor and added eight rebounds for the hosts. Bryce Dejean-Jones chipped in 14 points as UNLV, which led by as many as 36 in the second half, shot a mere 1- of-13 behind the 3-point line in the meeting but made up for it by limiting the visitors to 3-of-17 beyond the arc and forcing 18 turnovers.
One of two players to have started every game for the Rebels, Roscoe Smith leads the group in scoring with 12.6 ppg and is also by far the most aggressive player on the glass with almost 14 rebounds per game. Shooting 56.3 percent from the floor is also a major plus for Smith, although not all of the stats are in his favor, namely his 58.7 percent shooting at the free-throw line and the fact that he has but four assists.
Roscoe Smith can be a beast in the paint for the Runnin' Rebels, something Santa Clara doesn't have at the moment, and that could be just what the locals need in order to come up with the win.
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