The men’s basketball team topped the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels 80-73 in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Saturday.
The game was each team’s second in Mountain West Conference play this season.
The loss puts the Rebels’ overall record at 13-3 with a 1-1 mark in conference play. The team came into the match having won its previous eight games and held an 11-1 all-time record against the Horned Frogs before entering Saturday’s matchup.
With the win, the Horned Frogs, whose last victory against UNLV came in February 1999, pushed their record to 11-5 including a 2-0 mark in conference play.
Men’s head basketball coach Jim Christian said he thinks his team is starting to figure out its system a little bit better.
“Our guys made some really good individual plays tonight and you have to to beat a great team like UNLV,” Christian said. “They take you out of so many things with their defensive efforts.”
The Rebels took a 33-26 lead late in the first half thanks in part to the efforts of sophomore guards Tre’Von Willis and Kendall Wallace who had eight and nine points at halftime.
But the Frogs battled back to take a one-point lead into the locker room at the halfway point. TCU freshman guard Ronnie Moss came off the bench four minutes into the game and provided an offensive spark, finishing the first half with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting while adding four assists.
Teammate Edvinas Ruzgas, a junior guard, added 10 points in the first half.
UNLV built a quick nine-point lead six minutes into second-half play after several consecutive baskets from veteran senior guards Wink Adams and Rene Rougeau.
But the Frogs responded by scoring 15 consecutive points to take a 63-57 lead.
Frog forward Zvonko Buljan, who finished the night with 20 points and 13 rebounds, said his team was focused on getting the lead back during the run.
“It was a home game in front of our crowd, so it meant a lot to us,” Buljan said.
The Rebels fought back and tied the game 67-67 with four minutes remaining. But after a three-pointer from Ruzgas, the Frogs claimed a lead they managed to hold until the final buzzer sounded.
The Frogs sealed the win when Ruzgas connected on two free throws with 22 seconds remaining to put the Frogs up 77-73.
Senior Rebel guard Wink Adams, who struggled shooting the ball but dished out nine assists, said his team’s good play in the first half didn’t transfer to the second half.
“In the second half, guys kind of struggled to hit shots and we missed a lot of free throws,” Adams said after the game.
TCU senior forward Kevin Langford entered the game needing one point to become the 29th player in school history to reach the 1000 point milestone. He eclipsed the mark with a layup two minutes into the game and finished the night with nine points and three rebounds.
The two teams meet again on Feb. 10 in Las Vegas.