Five takeaways from the UNLV basketball team’s 80-68 victory at Utah State on Tuesday:
1. The promising play during the two-game homestand was no fluke. UNLV went on a masterful 21-2 run to open the second half against the Aggies and take control. Then the Rebels made the necessary plays down the stretch to keep Utah State from getting uncomfortably close.
2. Jordan Cornish is beginning to feel it. He was the Rebels’ most dependable 3-point shooter last season, making 48.7 percent of those shots. His struggles this season are well-documented, with Cornish having made just one of his first 24 shots from that range. He has made 13 of 25 since then, including 2 of 3 against the Aggies.
3. A more aggressive Stephen Zimmerman Jr. is emerging. He went after New Mexico and Air Force, registering double-doubles in both games. Then Zimmerman regressed to his more passive ways in the first half against Utah State. Assistant coach Stacey Augmon gave him a pep talk just before the second half opened, and Zimmerman went back to being more aggressive, finishing with 12 points and 16 rebounds. Eight points and 11 rebounds came in the second half.
4. UNLV needs to keep the momentum going into Reno on Saturday. It shouldn’t be difficult given the teams are big rivals, but the Rebels have key home games against Boise State and San Diego State next week, and first-year UNR coach Eric Musselman will have his team ready to play. The Rebels need to meet that intensity.
5. There apparently is no controversy with Augmon. He sent out a tweet on Monday night saying he would have something to say about the coaching situation. But Augmon followed that with another tweet on Tuesday following the game saying how proud he was of the players, a complete change in tone. With the momentum on the Rebels’ side, they don’t need distractions. Now this appears to be one distraction they won’t have to worry about.
Contact Mark Anderson at email@example.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65