RUNNIN’ REBELS DEFEAT EASTERN MICHIGAN 64-49 IN NON-CONFERENCE FINALE


Mbacke Diong led all scorers with 15 points, while Marvin Coleman recorded a career-high 10 rebounds in UNLV’s second straight win Saturday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – Three Runnin’ Rebels scored in double figures, led by junior forward Mbacke Diong’s 15 points, as the UNLV men’s basketball team defeated Eastern Michigan 64-49 Saturday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center. It was UNLV’s non-conference finale and marked it second straight victory.
 
Sophomore guard Marvin Coleman recorded a career-high 10 rebounds for the Runnin’ Rebels (6-8). Sophomore guard Bryce Hamilton added 13 points, while junior forward Donnie Tillman scored 12 points and dished out a game-high seven assists. Diong was UNLV’s most efficient player offensively, shooting 6 of 9 from the field.
 
The Eagles (9-3) were led by Ty Groce’s 12 points and Toure Boubacar’s 11 rebounds.
 
THE TURNING POINT: After a slow start, UNLV found itself trailing 10-2 with 13:46 left in the first half. The Runnin’ Rebels went on a 13-0 run from there to take a five-point lead with 9:39 before halftime. UNLV led 28-20 at the break.
 
TAKING CONTROL: UNLV took control over the first 12 minutes of the second half, outscoring EMU 23-9, taking a 51-29 lead on Hamilton’s three-point play with 8:14 to go.
 
QUOTABLE: “I was pleased today with our guys’ effort defensively. I thought we did as good of a job as we’ve done all year executing our gameplan. We had a season high in deflections with 34 and I think that’s what allowed us to get that pace and separation that put us in position to win.” – UNLV head coach T.J. Otzelberger.
 
NOTES: 
– The 15-point margin of victory matched UNLV’s largest of the season.
– It was the first time this season that UNLV has won back-to-back games.
– Eastern Michigan’s 49 points was a season low by a UNLV opponent and the fewest points given up by a Runnin’ Rebel team since holding New Mexico Highlands to 45 on Nov. 16, 2015.
– It was UNLV’s second straight game using the starting lineup of senior forward Nick Blair, senior forward Vitaliy Shibel, Diong, sophomore guard Jay Green and Coleman.
– UNLV outrebounded EMU 50-30 and held the Eagles to an opponent-season-low 30.6 shooting from the field.
– UNLV recorded 15 assists on 22 made baskets.
– UNLV led by as many as 22 points in the second half.
– UNLV scored 22 points off of EMU’s 19 turnovers. The game had a total of 40 turnovers.
– UNLV led in points in the paint 36-8 and in bench points 40-17.
– UNLV made just four 3-pointers.
– UNLV was without senior guard Elijah Mitrou-Long for the fifth straight game because of a broken thumb.
– UNLV has made at least one 3-pointer in a NCAA-record 1,084 straight games.
 
NEXT FOR THE RUNNIN’ REBELS: UNLV will resume Mountain West play on Wednesday, Jan. 1 vs. preseason league favorite Utah State at 8 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center.
 
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