HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — A federal judge’s ruling in West Virginia had an impact that reached across the country Wednesday, benefiting UNLV hours before it faced No. 8 Creighton.
Keylan Boone, who previously played at Oklahoma State and Pacific, took advantage of the decision that put him on the court and totaled 10 points and six rebounds as the Rebels pulled off a 79-64 upset in the Jack Jones Classic.
UNLV was a 13 1/2-point underdog, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
It was the first appearance at UNLV for Keylan Boone after the judge ruled double transfers could play immediately. Boone had appealed the NCAA’s decision that kept him sidelined until Wednesday night.
“I just wanted to help these guys,” he said. “I’ve been practicing with them every day. They’re hard workers, and we all just want to get wins. Obviously, we had a great game plan and it played out in our favor, but it felt amazing.”
His twin brother, Kalib Boone, scored 25 points on 12-of-17 shooting and had a team-high seven rebounds. Dedan Thomas Jr. added 16 points and nine assists for the Rebels (4-4). Justin Webster scored 13.
Ryan Kalkbrenner led the Bluejays (8-2) with 22 points. Baylor Scheierman scored 16 and Mason Miller had 11.
Both of Creighton’s losses have been to Mountain West teams. The Bluejays also lost to No. 17 Colorado State 69-48 on Nov. 23 before winning three in a row.
“UNLV played great,” Creighton coach Greg McDermott said. “They controlled tempo probably as good as anybody we’ve played this year.”
UNLV showed early it wouldn’t be an easy night for the Bluejays, going on nine- and six-point runs to take a 36-28 lead at halftime. Creighton didn’t help itself by missing five of seven layups.
The Rebels didn’t slow down in the second half, either. They used an 11-2 spurt to go up 62-46 with 7:59 left.
UNLV led for nearly 35 minutes.
“It was a clear understanding (with the players) that the effort had to be at the level it was to give ourselves a chance to win the game,” UNLV coach Kevin Kruger said. “Without a doubt, it was there and the tone was set early. I was just really proud and happy for them because there were a lot of things they dealt with in terms of injuries and availability. For them to come out and get the win over a top-10 team, I feel like they deserved it.”
Creighton: The Bluejays’ defense let them down, with UNLV shooting 52%. Creighton was repeatedly beaten to the basket, and UNLV made 11 layups and outscored the Bluejays 38-26 in the lane.
UNLV: Expectations were high for the Rebels entering this season after Kruger put together his best recruiting class in his third year. UNLV, however, opened with a stunning loss to Southern and on Saturday fell to Loyola Marymount. The Rebels could use this victory as a catalyst.
Creighton: Will host Alabama on Saturday.
UNLV: Will play Saint Mary’s in the Jerry Colangelo Classic in Phoenix on Saturday.
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