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Runnin’ Rebels pull away late, defeat Pack at Lawlor

By Michael Smyth
Published: Last Updated on

UNLV senior guard Bryce Hamilton scored 19 of his game-high 27 points in the second half to lead his Runnin’ Rebels to a 62-54 win over the Nevada Wolf Pack in Mountain West Conference play Tuesday night at Lawlor Events Center.

Nevada (12-14, 6-9 MW) entered the contest coming off three straight Mountain West wins including both ends of a home and home series with San Jose State and avenging a season-worst loss to Utah State by returning the favor on their home floor.

UNLV (17-11, 9-6 MW) arrived in Reno after consecutive wins vs. Fresno State and Colorado State. The Wolf Pack faced a tough task trying to stop Bryce Hamilton, who came in leading the Mountain West in scoring at 21.5 points per game, an average that also placed him in the top-10 in the nation.

The Pack did a reasonable job on Hamilton in the first half, holding him to eight points on just 3-of-9 shooting and held the Rebels to just 30% from the field, while also dominating points in the paint 18-8.

UNLV’s Bryce Hamilton looked every bit the Mountain West’s leading scorer in Nevada’s 62-54 home loss vs UNLV on February 22, 2022 at Lawlor Events Center (Michael Smyth / This is Reno)

Nevada shot 40% from the field in the opening 20 minutes and when Grant Sherfield hit a jumper with one second remaining in the half, the Wolf Pack took a three-point lead to the locker room 26-23.

The Silver and Blue had the lead despite going 1-for-8 from beyond the arc, while also missing starting guard Desmond Cambridge Jr., who was a very late scratch with a rib injury. There is no timetable for his return.

Nevada did get a boost however from forward Warren Washington’s return after missing eight games with a hand injury. Washington’s impact was immediate on the defensive end hauling in six first-half rebounds. Washington would finish with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while adding 11 boards and a pair of blocked shots.

The Pack came out of the locker room intent on defending their home floor against their in-state rivals and pushed the lead to 33-27 in the first 3:30 of the second half. That’s when the UNLV coaches handed the keys to Bryce Hamilton, and he delivered.

Hamilton scored seven points in a 13-1 run to give the Rebels a 40-34 lead with 12:30 left.

Grant Sherfield, who would lead the Wolf Pack with 19 points and eight assists, did his best to keep Nevada in the game despite missing his wing-man Cambridge Jr. Sherfield scored five of Nevada’s next seven points to pull ahead 41-40, but Hamilton would can a triple on UNLV’s next possession to seize the lead for good.

In the second half Bryce Hamilton would simply wrestle the game away from the Wolf Pack, scoring half of his team’s points in the stanza.

Next up for the Wolf Pack: Nevada heads out on its final two-game road trip of the season with stops at Wyoming and Boise State before returning home to face San Diego State on senior night March 5 at 7:30p.m.

Notes

  • Nevada loses the Silver State Series for the first time since 2013-2014.
  • UNLV received scoring from nine players, but only Hamilton reached double figures.
  • Nevada continued their struggles from three-point distance in losses shooting a scant 3-for-18, and an anemic 16.6%.
  • UNLV won the depth battle with a 20-5 advantage off the bench.
  • The Rebels out-rebounded Nevada 41-34.
  • Nevada had just eight giveaways.

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