UNLV struggles with Falcons’ style in first half

Air Force heads into halftime with a 24-21 lead over UNLV in a Mountain West Conference basketball game at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The Rebels had no answer for the Falcons’ matchup zone defense and Air Force beat the shot-clock buzzer on several occasions.

It was an excruciating half of basketball to watch, but that’s what Air Force likes to do to teams.

Brice Massamba led the way for the Rebels with six points. Tre’Von Willis had just four, and Chace Stanback added two points.

Tom Fow leads all scorers with nine points for Air Force.

The key stat has been the 3-point shooting. UNLV has yet to make one in six attempts, while the Falcons have made 4 of 10 from beyond the arc.

Kendall Wallace went 0-for-4 and looked bad doing it. The streak could be in jeopardy if the Rebels can’t get it going in the second half from downtown.

Mb>Jasper carried off

Derrick Jasper left the game with an injury in the first half and was helped to the locker room by trainers Dave Tomcheck and Jason Kabo.

Jasper appeared to be in tears.

He has an extensive injury history and was clutching his left knee after taking a charge.

It did not look good. He has worked so hard to get healthy.

Take a seat

The Rebel Girls have a tradition of going up into the crowd and standing in the aisles until UNLV scores its first field goal.

Their legs were probably starting to get pretty tired on Tuesday night.

The Rebels went more than five minutes without a field goal to start the game, going scoreless until Brice Massamba made a layup off a pass from Oscar Bellfield with just under 15 minutes left in the first half.

In fact, Massamba scored the first six points for UNLV on three layups.

Darris Santee then replaced him in the post and scored the team’s fourth basket.

The first points by a non-center did not come until Tre’Von Willis hit a jumper in the lane with about 7:30 to play in the half.

The Rebels trailed 17-10 with 6:01 to play in the half as the offense struggled mightily against the matchup zone employed by Air Force.

Models of consistency

Air Force has scored between 48 and 54 points in each of its five conference games.

In fact, only once in those five games have the Falcons scored over 50 points, in a 71-54 loss to Utah.

In the other games, the Falcons scored 50, 48, 49, and 50 points.

They are right around that pace again tonight, but the Rebels hope that total is not enough to actually get Air Force its first conference win of the season.

Kiss Cam

I have mixed feelings on the Kiss Cam used on Jumbotrons at sporting events all over America.

You know the gimmick.

The camera zooms in on a couple in the crowd with a heart or lips graphic framed around them and they are supposed to kiss for the delight of everyone.

It is clearly one of the most popular timeout features at UNLV games at the Thomas & Mack Center, but its just such a mindless form of entertainment.

It doesn’t get much better than what happened during the first half of tonight’s game, though.

An elderly couple was the first flashed on screen. The woman was trying to explain to the man that he was supposed to kiss her, but he clearly could not hear a thing.

Confusion ensued.

Then came the boos.

There might be nothing better than an entire arena booing a confused old man that has no idea what’s going on around him.

Eventually, he got the point. The kiss happened and everyone was satisfied.

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