Blog: UNLV falls in overtime at Northern Iowa, 77-68

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Matthew Putney / The Courier via AP

Northern Iowa’s Juwan McCloud, right, finds an open shot past UNLV’s Cheickna Dembele (11) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Published Wed, Nov 29, 2017 (3 p.m.)

Updated Wed, Nov 29, 2017 (7:12 p.m.)

UNLV ran out of gas in the overtime period, and Northern Iowa outscored the Rebels, 16-7 in the extra frame to pull away for a 77-68 win.

While Northern Iowa seemed energized by a late surge that forced the OT period, UNLV looked sluggish and went more than three minutes without scoring while UNI pulled away.

For the game, UNLV received minimal production from its backcourt, as seniors Jordan Johnson and Jovan Mooring combined to score 17 points on 5-of-29 shooting.

At the other end of the floor, freshman center Brandon McCoy simply could not slow down Northern Iowa senior center Bennett Koch. The Panthers pounded the ball into Koch in the post, and he responded with a game-high 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting.

UNLV's first loss drops the team to 6-1 on the season. The Rebels will next be in action on Saturday, when they host Arizona at the Thomas & Mack Center.

UNLV heading to overtime at Northern Iowa

A very questionable call has sent this game into overtime.

UNLV had the ball and a 1-point lead with less than 30 seconds to play, but Northern Iowa got a defensive stop and got out in transition. Center Bennett Koch drove into the lane and threw a wild pass way over his teammate's head and way out of bounds on the wing, but a referee called Jovan Mooring for a blocking foul on the play. Koch made 1-of-2 free throws, and Jordan Johnson's driving floater at the buzzer rimmed out.

We're heading to overtime, tied 61-61.

UNLV takes late 56-55 lead at Northern Iowa

Jordan Johnson hit a pair of free throws to give UNLV its first lead of the second half, and with 3:55 to play, the Rebels are still protecting that 56-55 advantage.

UNLV will have possession after the media timeout.

Brandon McCoy has come alive in the second half, with six points (3-of-4 FGs) and five rebounds, while Shakur Juiston has four points and six rebounds over that same span.

UNLV down 53-52 in second half at Northern Iowa

With 7:27 to play, Northern Iowa is clinging to a 53-52 lead over UNLV.

The Rebels have made a strong push over the last two minutes, holding UNI scoreless while going on a 6-0 run to close the gap. Jovan Mooring's steal and breakaway layup brought UNLV to within a single point.

Northern Iowa extends lead over UNLV to 52-46

Northern Iowa continues to attack UNLV in the paint, and it's paying off, as the Panthers have a 52-46 lead with 11:42 to play.

Senior post players Bennett Koch (21 points) and Klint Carlson (13 points) have combined to make 14-of-26 from the field, including a jump hook from Carlson that just gave Northern Iowa its largest lead of the second half.

UNLV has solved its turnover issues so far in the second half, but the Rebels are getting little production from their backcourt. Senior point guard Jordan Johnson has just three points (1-of-6 FGs) and four assists, while senior shooting guard Jovan Mooring has five points on 1-of-9 shooting.

Northern Iowa leads UNLV, 46-43

UNLV may have to reconsider its defensive strategy before the end of this game. So far, Marvin Menzies has left freshman center Brandon McCoy alone on an island to defend Northern Iowa senior Bennett Koch in the post, and it's not working. Koch has a variety of post-up moves, and he's using them all to twist McCoy every which way. With 14:51 remaining in the second half, Koch has a game-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and UNI has a 46-43 lead.

It should be interesting to see if Menzies changes up the defense on Koch as we head into the late stages of this game.

Rebels trail Northern Iowa at halftime, 34-29

The bad news is, UNLV just played its worst half of basketball so far this season. The good news is, Northern Iowa was unable to take full advantage. At halftime, the struggling Rebels trail by just five points, 34-29, and they've got a real chance to steal this game with improved play in the second half.

The first 20 minutes were extremely sloppy. UNLV struggled to adjust to Northern Iowa's slow pace, and it especially showed when the Rebels were forced to execute their halfcourt offense. They committed 12 turnovers in the first half on 35 possessions, meaning that they didn't get a shot attempt on more than a third of their possessions. UNLV was unable to score over the final 2:39 before the halftime buzzer.

Still, defense and rebounding is keeping the Rebels alive. UNLV held Northern Iowa to 40.6 percent from the field, and the Rebels built a 19-15 advantage on the boards.

Kris Clyburn has been surprisingly aggressive, and his continued drives to the hoop resulted in a team-high 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting. Shakur Juiston had a strong defensive half and currently has six points and three rebounds. Jovan Mooring has struggled early, coming up empty on all five of his shot attempts, including two misses from 3-point range.

It was an ugly half, but if UNLV can get a handle on the ball and cut down on mistakes the rest of the way, this game should go down to the wire.

Northern Iowa leads UNLV, 28-27

The Rebels have settled down as the first half has gone along, and with 3:37 left until the break, they've cut Northern Iowa's lead to 28-27.

Kris Clyburn has been an offensive catalyst for the Rebels, as he's got 10 points on 3-of-3 shooting. Shakur Juiston has tallied six points and three rebounds.

Northern Iowa is shooting just 33.0 percent from the floor, but the Panthers have feasted on UNLV turnovers. The Rebels have committed 11 giveaways already.

Slow start for UNLV at Northern Iowa

It looks like UNLV is going to be in for a long night.

Northern Iowa has lived up to its reputation for toughness and is making the Rebels work for everything, and with 11:50 remaining in the first half, UNI has a 10-8 lead.

UNLV is off to a frustratingly slow start. The Rebels have committed seven turnovers on their first 14 possessions, and they've now gone five minutes without a field goal.

We're only eight minutes into this one, but Northern Iowa has obviously put on its hard hat and come to work. The Rebels will have to spend the next 30-plus minutes matching that intensity, or the turnovers will continue and they'll be playing right into UNI's hands.

3 keys for UNLV basketball at Northern Iowa

UNLV will put its perfect 6-0 record on the line tonight at Northern Iowa, as Marvin Menzies takes his team on the road for the first time this season. Can the Rebels go into a hostile environment against a good team and come away with another win? Three keys for tonight’s game:

Perimeter production

If this turns out to be the tight, low-scoring game some are projecting, a handful of second-half 3-pointers could swing the outcome. So far this season, that’s an area in which the Rebels have excelled defensively. They’ve held four of six opponents under their average 3-point production (the other two teams finished right at their average for 3-point field goals per game); for the season, UNLV is limiting opponents to 24.1 percent from beyond the arc, which ranks No. 8 in the nation.

Mooring’s mood

How will senior guard Mooring bounce back from his benching down the stretch in the Rebels’ win over Southern Utah on Saturday? Menzies often commends Mooring for his ability to accept hard coaching and not take it personally, so the situation should be fine. But it’ll be interesting to monitor Mooring’s shot selection tonight. An ill-advised launch from well beyond the 3-point line earned him a ticket to the bench against SUU, but the Rebels will need his scoring punch—and his confidence—against Northern Iowa.

Post patrol

Of course, it may sound simplistic, but for UNLV the game will likely come down to its big bodies. Can Brandon McCoy (20.2 points, 13.0 rebounds per game) and Shakur Juiston (13.2 points, 13.0 rebounds) continue to produce at superstar levels as the competition gets tougher?

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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