RENO — In his last game against UNR, senior Rene Rougeau turned in the best performance of his UNLV career.
Exhibiting the hard work and hustle that define his play, Rougeau was dominant. He had 19 points and 13 rebounds to carry the Rebels to a 64-57 victory over the Wolf Pack on Saturday night.
“This is a rivalry game, and if you’re not getting up for this game, there’s something wrong with you,” Rougeau said. “It was only a matter of time before we all started clicking.
“I’m very happy with my production tonight. I just had to get back to playing how I play, hustling and doing all the little things that make me effective.”
Rougeau left his imprint on the rivalry, matching his career high in scoring and setting his career high in rebounds as UNLV (7-2) won its third straight game against UNR (3-4).
The 6-foot-6-inch forward shot 8-for-16 and helped the team overcome a slow start.
“Rene was all over the place,” Rebels coach Lon Kruger said. “He played with great enthusiasm and he played with great passion.”
Freshman guard Oscar Bellfield played with rare poise. Bellfield shot 5-for-7 from 3-point range and made key baskets down the stretch to silence the crowd of 9,498 at Lawlor Events Center.
Wink Adams and Tre’Von Willis scored 11 points apiece for UNLV.
Rougeau’s signature play came with 5:13 remaining. He drove through the middle of the lane, dunked and was fouled by Brandon Fields, inciting a celebration on the Rebels’ bench. Rougeau made the free throw to put the Rebels ahead 53-42.
Bellfield made three 3-pointers and had 11 points during a 14-6 run that stretched UNLV’s lead from 42-38 to 56-44 with
4:08 to go.
“Those were big 3s,” said Bellfield, who scored a career-high 17 points. “They left me wide open.”
Rougeau was about the only positive for the Rebels in the first half. He was the most active player on the floor and had eight points and nine rebounds. But UNLV shot 8-for-25 and trailed 22-20.
Rougeau scored the first basket of the second half, and Adams hit a 17-foot jumper to give the Rebels a 39-29 lead with 11:46 remaining before the Wolf Pack rallied.
Adams, UNLV’s leading scorer at 14.1 points per game, went to the bench with 14:50 left in the half after getting his second foul. Adams was scoreless in the first half.
“Wink was anxious to get back in there,” Kruger said.
Adams made 7 of 10 free throws in the second half, including two with 25 seconds left to extend the lead to 63-55.
Sophomore guard Armon Johnson scored 21 points and freshman forward Luke Babbitt had 15 points and eight rebounds for UNR.
Johnson’s dunk in traffic with 37 seconds left trimmed the Rebels’ lead to 60-55.
The Wolf Pack, hounded by the Rebels’ defensive intensity, shot 17-for-50 (34 percent) from the field, including 3-for-21 on 3-pointers.
It was an ugly offensive display early. About 11 minutes into the game, UNR held an 8-6 edge as the teams combined to shoot 5-for-25.
Rougeau’s six consecutive points, capped by a left-handed bank shot in the lane, lifted the Rebels to an 18-16 lead with
3:59 to go.
UNLV won the rebounding battle 42-33 to help make up for its shaky shooting.
“We feel awfully good about the win,” Kruger said.