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Steve Marcus

UNLV Rebels head coach Kevin Kruger calls out to players during the first half of an NCAA basketball game against the Stetson Hatters at the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday, Nov. 11, 2023.

UNLV basketball has an opportunity to notch a quality win on Wednesday, as the Scarlet and Gray are on the road at Dayton (6 p.m., CBS Sports Network).

Three keys to watch:

Up-Hill battle

UNLV is going to be without one of its core players for at least a few weeks, as senior forward Jalen Hill suffered a broken hand against Akron.

Hill has started all six games for the Scarlet and Gray, usually drawing key defensive assignments in the frontcourt while averaging 11.5 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, so replacing him won’t be as simple as plugging in a backup and rolling out the ball.

Head coach Kevin Kruger mentioned junior Rob Whaley and senior Isaiah Cottrell as two players who could see increased action with Hill sidelined, but it may be mix-and-match until that position is settled.

“You lose a lot of experience,” Kruger said. “But it will be a great opportunity for guys to step up, get some playing time, get some opportunities and chances to help the team win.”

Dayton Part II

Wednesday’s matchup at Dayton is the second game in a home-and-home agreement between the two schools; UNLV won the first meeting last year at the Thomas & Mack Center, but this time around the Flyers will probably put up a better fight.

In last year’s tilt, Dayton leading scorer DaRon Holmes was held to just two points in 33 minutes (1-of-5 field goals). It was the lowest scoring game of the season for Holmes, a 6-foot-10 forward who averaged more than 18 per contest last year. He figures to be more of a factor in the rematch, and UNLV is going to have to find a way to deal with him — a task complicated by Hill’s absence.

Rodeo walkabout

It’s cowboy season in Las Vegas, as the National Finals Rodeo has taken up residence inside the Thomas & Mack Center for the next couple weeks. That means, as they do every year, the Scarlet and Gray will pack up and hit the road to play a series of games outside their home venue.

The trip to Dayton is the start of a four-game stretch away from the Mack; by the time UNLV hosts Hofstra on Dec. 21, they’ll have gone three weeks away from home.

Kruger said it’s no big deal, as that’s just the way things are at UNLV.

“Never known any different, even as a player,” Kruger said. “That’s Vegas.”

Who: UNLV (3-3) at Dayton (6-2)

When: Wednesday, 6 p.m.

Where: University of Dayton Arena

TV: CBS Sports Network

Radio: 1100 AM, 100.9 FM

UNLV leaders

Scoring

Kalib Boone: 13.8 points

Rebounds

Jalen Hill: 6.8 rebounds

Assists

D.J. Thomas: 5.8 assists

Dayton leaders

Scoring

DaRon Holmes: 15.5 points

Rebounds

Nate Santos: 7.5 rebounds

Assists

Kobe Elvis: 4.4 assists

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

Article written by #LasVegasSun

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