January 28, 2022 - 8:17 pm
UNLV guard Bryce Hamilton had to let them know.
Charging down the lane with 3:10 left and a 13-point UNLV lead, Hamilton found Colorado State forward David Roddy in his way. The senior pulled up a few steps in front of the free-throw line. With a gentle flick of his wrist, he lofted a floater over Roddy before taking contact.
The referee’s whistle blew for a foul. Hamilton’s shot went down. He let out a yell — to the refs, his teammates and the stunned crowd Friday night at Moby Arena in Fort Collins, Colorado.
Hamilton’s runner helped UNLV maintain its large separation, and the Rebels upset the Rams 88-74 behind their star guard.
Hamilton scored a career-high 42 points, the ninth most in program history. Elbert Miller’s 55 points against Portland in 1967 is the school record. Hamilton was originally credited with 45 points, which would have been third in school history, but the official score was changed after the game.
“It means so much more against a very good team,” Hamilton said. “Playing on the road, with a hostile environment, this was a very good win and probably one of my favorite, best games.”
UNLV (12-9, 4-4 Mountain West) is the only team to defeat Colorado State (16-2, 6-2) at Moby Arena this season.
“Couldn’t be more proud of them,” UNLV coach Kevin Kruger said. “They just keep fighting, they keep battling. Their intent and conviction the last few days of prep was what I think showed early.”
The Rebels led from start to finish with Hamilton leading the way. He hit 12 of 21 shots, including 7 of 13 on 3-pointers, in 36 minutes. His previous career high was 35 points against New Mexico on Jan. 18, 2020.
Hamilton powered an early 13-4 run in the first half, using a repertoire of jabs and sidesteps while flying around screens to get good shots. He scored 21 points in the first half as UNLV took a 43-25 lead. He also had seven rebounds and five assists.
“Bryce put the team on his back offensively, made some really tough shots,” Kruger said.
Missing starters Donovan Williams and Josh Baker, UNLV needed everything Hamilton had to offer. But the Rebels also got contributions from others.
Forward Royce Hamm Jr., forward Victor Iwaukor and center David Muoka had turns guarding Roddy and held the Rams’ leading scorer to 13 points on 4-for-10 shooting. He didn’t make a field goal in the first half.
Muoka was particularly influential. The junior added 11 points off the bench in 25 minutes, getting an extended run when Hamm and Iwaukor got into foul trouble. Justin Webster scored 12 and carried the scoring load when Hamilton briefly sat.
While Hamilton carried the offense, the Rebels’ defense and rebounding set the tone. The Rams didn’t make their first basket until the 15:50 mark of the first half.
Senior Isaiah Stevens scored a career-high 35 points for Colorado State, which was outrebounded 37-28.
“The guys drew a line in the sand,” Kruger said. “They were tough, they protected the ball, they did a great job.”
UNLV will host intrastate rival UNR at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Thomas & Mack Center.