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UNLV Rebels forward Jalen Hill (1) takes the ball upcourt against the Southern University Jaguars during the second half of an NCAA basketball game at the Thomas & Mack Center Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2023.

  • What:
    UNLV vs. Richmond
  • When:
    Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.
  • Where:
    Ocean Center (Daytona Beach, Fla.)
  • TV:
  • Radio:
    1100 AM, 100.9 FM

UNLV has less than 24 hours to move on from Monday’s loss to Florida State, because a tough Richmond squad is waiting for them in the consolation bracket of the Sunshine Slam (Tuesday, 3:30 p.m.).

Can the Scarlet and Gray recover and leave Florida with at least one win?

Three keys to watch:

Where’s the defense?

The Scarlet and Gray played none in Monday’s loss to Florida State, allowing their opponents to shoot better than 62% from the field. Head coach Kevin Kruger and senior forward Jalen Hill both acknowledged it’s almost impossible to win behind such a terrible defensive performance, so what’s the solution?

One answer might be starting Kalib Boone at center. Boone is coming off the bench and splitting minutes nearly evenly with starting center Isaiah Cottrell, but Boone is the superior defender.

Is it too early to make lineup changes? Kruger may have a decision to make soon.

Thomas impressive

It hasn’t taken freshman D.J. Thomas long to get acclimated to Division I basketball. He had another superb offensive showing against Florida State, totaling 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting while dishing out six assists in 37 minutes, but he needs help.

UNLV struggled to break the Florida State press when someone other than Thomas was tasked with dribbling upcourt. Richmond doesn’t have the length and athleticism to pull off a similar defensive approach, but it wouldn’t hurt if UNLV could come up with a secondary ballhandler to take some of the pressure off the kid.

Be prepared

UNLV looked underprepared at the start of Monday’s game, and senior forward Jalen Hill confirmed as much after the game, saying the Scarlet and Gray played “timid” in the opening minutes against Florida State. By the time they found their footing, they trailed by double digits and could never make up the gap.

Another slow start today against Richmond would be very concerning, especially because UNLV is a veteran team. More energy after the opening tip is something this team needs; lackluster intensity is not going to cut it.

UNLV leaders


Kalib Boone: 14.3 points


Jalen Hill: 7.5 rebounds


D.J. Thomas: 6.3 assists

Richmond leaders


Jordan King: 18.0 points


Neal Quinn: 6.7 rebounds


Neal Quinn: 5.3 rebounds

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

Article written by #LasVegasSun

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