As effectively as UNLV runs its offense at home, it hasn’t been nearly as consistent on the road. A visit to Clune Arena could help change that.
The 12th-ranked Runnin’ Rebels will go for their fourth straight win overall and ninth in a row over Air Force on Saturday night.
UNLV is one of the most efficient teams in Division I when playing at home, averaging 87.2 points - sixth in the nation - while shooting 51.7 percent overall and 42.3 percent from 3-point range.
The Rebels (19-3, 3-1 Mountain West) have had more difficulty in going 4-3 in opponents’ arenas. They are averaging 74.6 points and shooting 42.0 percent, including 31.0 percent from beyond the arc.
UNLV connected on a season-worst 34.8 percent of its shots in a 77-72 overtime win at Boise State on Wednesday, attempting a season-high 34 3-pointers and making 13.
To at least stay within a game of first-place San Diego State, which enters Saturday 4-0 in conference play, the Rebels will try to avoid letting up like they did against the Broncos. UNLV opened the game on a 12-0 run, but finished the first half with just a two-point lead.
The Rebels would later blow a five-point lead in the final 2:03 of regulation, but Mike Moser scored five points and had four rebounds in the extra period. Despite battling an illness, Moser finished with 18 points and a season-high 21 boards and had a critical block in the final seconds of regulation.
“I think it speaks for the resiliency of our team, that on a night we didn’t play very well, we still found a way to make enough plays to win a very competitive game,” coach Dave Rice said.
As UNLV tries to improve its play on the road, a visit to Colorado Springs could help give it some confidence. The Rebels have won eight straight overall against Air Force, including the last three road games in the series by an average of 21.0 points.
Senior forward Chace Stanback is averaging 19.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in two visits.
UNLV also may be arriving at a good time. The banged-up Falcons (11-7, 1-3) have dropped three in a row, including a 59-56 loss at TCU on Wednesday.
Air Force has averaged 51.0 points during the losing streak while going 8 of 41 (19.5 percent) from 3-point range.
It struggled offensively again Wednesday. Taylor Broekhuis scored 11 of his 15 points in the first half to give the Falcons a 28-26 lead at the break, but they went scoreless over the final 4:05 and missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
“We have been having problems putting the ball in the basket,” coach Jeff Reynolds said. “We went the last 3 1/2 minutes, I think, without scoring and hadn’t shot well from 3. But I don’t think it really came down to the last two possessions. I think we lost the game in the second half because of our inability to finish.”
Air Force’s losing streak has coincided with the loss of starting forward Taylor Stewart, who was averaging 8.1 points, to a broken ankle.
Meanwhile, junior guard Michael Lyons continues to be hampered by a high ankle sprain. He finished with six points Wednesday and has totaled 19 on 7-of-25 shooting his last four games after averaging 18.4 in the previous eight.