Trey Kell had been showing faint signs of becoming Trey Kell again. He shot 50 percent from the field in back-to-back blowouts of San Jose State and Utah State – a welcome sight after three absolutely brutal performances (6-for-30, brutal) to start conference play.
Still, the junior hadn’t looked like Trey Kell, Dangerous Scorer Man since before Christmas.
Until Tuesday night.
Kell went off for 24 points to lead that Aztecs to their first true road victory of the season – naturally another win over UNLV at the Thomas & Mack, 64-51. It’s nice to know that even in what has to this point been a down year, we can still walk into the Rebels’ house and help ourselves to the liquor cabinet and whatever’s in the fridge.
A game like this has got to do wonders for Kell’s confidence, and the way his big night came about should give the rest of us a little too. It wasn’t that he had the hot hand and a flurry of 3s (he was only 1-of-4 from beyond the arc), instead it was the way he smartly and aggressively drove to the basket against a Rebels team in foul trouble.
It’s almost hard to remember that this had been a meager 44-42 Aztecs when that timeout was called with 9:39 left. Kell outscored the Rebels 16-9 from that point on, as the Aztecs’ stingy, swarming defense (remember when that was a thing??) turned up the heat. Here are UNLV’s first 7 possessions out of that timeout:
- Valentine Izundu block
- Missed 3
- Max Hoetzel steal
- JUMPER GOOD
- Missed 3
- Missed jumper
- Missed 3
And just like that it was a double-digit lead.
Good road win. Good Trey Kell. Good defensive intensity. These good developments three have the Kabeer Thirty seal of approval. More, please.
Not to be a buzzkill after a fine win, but …
There was something profoundly depressing about watching this rivalry game on a choppy ESPN3 stream with the dull murmur of a half-empty arena in the background. The Rebels are now 9-10 and rebuilding under old friend/horrible trader (sic) Marvin Menzies, and SDSU isn’t exactly Top 25 material either, so the malaise is understandable.
Still, man, this rivalry used to be fun. Be better, UNLV. Not so much better that we don’t beat you every time out, but better enough to make the loss sting more.
Also, after seeing that Lil’ Jon NBA on ESPN commercial for the 67th time, I threw my computer in the garbage can. It is now coated with a gross layer of coffee grounds, onion skins and banana peels.
TURN DOWN FOR *cleaning disgusting refuse off my laptop*.