UNLV faced another zone defense, but this time the Rebels didn’t let it bother them as much.
They made 13 of 29 3-pointers, with Tyrell Green delivering a clutch one late, to beat Western Kentucky 71-61 in the consolation game of the Global Sports Classic on Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Green’s shot with 1:20 left put the Rebels (4-2) ahead 63-56 and set them on the way to victory. He led the Rebels with 23 points, and Jalen Poyser scored 22.
“It was really important,” Green said of his shot. “Honestly, when I threw it up there, I thought it wasn’t going to go in. It went in, so it was just one of those days, but I’m happy we got the win.”
All was not good news for UNLV. Christian Jones will be out several weeks with a foot injury, and fellow forward Cheickna Dembele is day to day, also with a foot injury.
The shorthanded Rebels struggled against the zone the previous night against Texas Christian. They committed 19 turnovers in the 63-59 defeat.
So it was no surprise when Western Kentucky (3-3) went to zone in the first half, and UNLV initially didn’t handle it well. But the Rebels got better, playing particularly well in the second half when they shot 52 percent, including 53.8 percent from 3-point range.
UNLV also committed just 11 turnovers for the game and outscored the Hilltoppers 14-7 on points off turnovers.
“It was good to see them bounce back and learn from yesterday,” UNLV coach Marvin Menzies said.
Que Thomas led the Hilltoppers with 16 points.
UNLV next goes on the road for the first time this basketball season when the Rebels play at Southern Utah on Wednesday. The Thunderbirds are coached by Todd Simon, who was UNLV’s interim last season.
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