Kevin Olekaibe scored a season-high 21 points against his hometown UNLV Running Rebels. The junior from Las Vegas hit 4-of-7 three-point shots to lead all scorers as Fresno State pulled off arguably its biggest win in the Coach Rodney Terry era.
“Kevin came out aggressive,” said Terry. “He did that from the outset and finished that.”
“I did what I had to do…it just feels good being in there knowing what I got to do,” added Olekaibe.
The Bulldogs improve to 8-13 on the season and 2-7 in MWC play. The Rebels fall to 17-5 and 4-4 in the MWC.
Tyler Johnson hit a three-point shot that followed three made free throws extending the 'Dogs lead to 38-31 with 13:55 to play. Johnson tried to add to his six-point scoring streak but was denied by a UNLV defender. Tanner Giddings grabbed the rebound and put back the miss to give FS nine-point advantage.
Giddings wasn’t done cleaning the glass. He grabbed another on the Bulldogs’ next possession after an Olekaibe missed three. He then dished it to a wide open Allen Huddleston, who nailed a shot beyond the arc for the ‘Dogs first double-digit lead, 43-33.
Olekaibe added two free throws before Huddleston hit a circus baseline jumper as the shot clock expired. Tyler Johnson would covert a one-and-one to cap the 17-2 Bulldog run.
UNLV crawled back into the contest with 11-3 run to cut the lead to single digits with 4:15 to play. And the Rebels cut it 54-48 at the 2:44 mark after an Anthony Bennett put back but didn’t get any closer.
Olekaibe led all scorers, and Tyler Johnson scored 15 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds. Kevin Foster had 13 point with eight boards. Huddleston hits 6-of-8 free throws for 10 points.
FS held Bennett to 5-of-16 shooting and 15 points. The Rebels' 55 points was also a season low.
Olekaibe scored eight points, nailing two shots from beyond the arc, in the first eight minutes of the first half to pace the Bulldogs as they built an early 15-11 lead. UNLV responded with an 8-0 run. However, the ‘Dogs, led by KO’s outstanding play, didn’t falter forcing a 24-24 tie at halftime.
Fresno State hits the road for its next game at San Diego State on Saturday. Tip off is set for 3 p.m. PT.
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