UNLV prepares for Boise State’s James Webb III, Mikey Thompson

UNLV spent part of Monday watching video of its 65-63 loss at UNR two nights earlier, and it was a more stomach-turning than viewing old episodes of “Yes, Dear.”

But with Boise State coming to the Thomas & Mack Center at 8 p.m. Wednesday, the Rebels know they can’t wallow on that loss.

The Broncos not only are contending for the Mountain West basketball title, but they also bring to town 6-foot 9-inch junior forward James Webb III and 6-4 senior guard Mikey Thompson, two players capable of giving any team trouble.

Webb averages 16.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. He is fifth in the conference in scoring and second in rebounding to the 9.3 from UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman Jr.

UNLV forward Dwayne Morgan is expected to draw the primary assignment on defending Webb, but it will be a team effort.

“James is a versatile weapon with his size and speed,” UNLV interim coach Todd Simon said. “With his ability to shoot, he can do stuff inside-outside and create a mismatch problem.”

The Rebels also will have to contend with Thompson, a Canyon Springs High School product who averages 11.5 points and 4.2 assists, the latter figure tied with the Rebels’ Patrick McCaw for third in the league. UNLV’s Jerome Seagears probably will be the main defender on Thompson.

“He’s what that team needs in terms of getting him into their flow, and he can make shots,” Simon said of Thompson. “He’s been a good player for them for years.”

The Broncos average 78.2 points, which is second in the Mountain West, and they like to create a track meet.

“It’s going to be a challenge defensively because they can all shoot,” Simon said. “They drag our shot blockers away from the rim with their spacing.”

REFOCUSING — Nothing like having the two best teams in the conference coming in when trying to get past a difficult loss, especially when one of those schools is UNLV’s biggest rival.

Boise State is 15-5 overall and 6-1 in the Mountain West, with the lone defeat to San Diego State. The Aztecs (14-6, 7-0) visit the Thomas & Mack at 5 p.m. Saturday, and those games always bring an intensity that no other series in the conference can match.

UNLV had hoped to take momentum into this week after winning three games in a row before suffering that loss in Reno.

“We had a little success, and maybe your mentality is not as sharp when it comes to certain things,” Simon said. “I think we have their full attention now, and getting up for Boise and San Diego State should be pretty easy.”

JONES ON MEND — UNLV forward Derrick Jones Jr. should be good to go after suffering a freak injury to his right ankle at UNR. He collided with an official early in the second half, and was taken to the locker room. Jones returned the court clearly hobbled, and finished with seven points in 17 minutes.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65

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