UNLV Hoopsters Wilt Down Stretch Against San Diego State; Marketing Ideas: Tarp Upper Bowl, All Fans In Low… – LVSportsBiz

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By Alan Snel of LVSportsBiz.com

I was strolling the Thomas & Mack Center concourse at halftime of the UNLV vs San Diego State basketball game Saturday when I met two friends who suggested the Rebels lower ticket prices to get more fans in the once-rocking arena.

They mentioned the UNLV box office wanted more than $100 for lower bowl seats, but they instead bought two tickets for $35 off a secondary market site website.

They were among the few thousand fans who watched UNLV play a strong game on New Year’s Day against the always-tough Aztecs for most of the game, only to go cold down the stretch and lose, 62-55, to fall to eight wins against six defeats. UNLV made only 19 of 64 shot attempts for a lowly 29.7 percent. That shooting aim not going to win many games.

It was a tough defensive battle. With our best defensive performance of the season, we would have loved to end up with a win and have a better flow offensively, but that’s what they do to you. Our group, seeing that for the first time, is good for them. San Diego State has been doing that for a very long time and will end up winning games like this because of the way they defend. – UNLV head coach Kevin Kruger

Though the crowd was small, the fans were a feisty bunch who made a lot of noise and rained boos down on the court when a fragrant foul was called on UNLV in the second half.

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Much has been discussed about the struggles of the once-powerful, nationally-known basketball program. There has been a carousel of head coaches the last four years and the UNLV has not had a sniff of the NCAA Big Dance, the national basketball conference.

In the end, all the promotions and ads won’t deliver fans into the 17,000-seat arena without conference championships and Big Dance berths.

Nothing replaces wins. UNLV had a chance to draw a spotlight in a very competitive sports market with games against high-profile basketball schools like UCLA and Michigan this season. But the Runnin’ Rebels lost both games and lost all their games in which they were the underdog this season.

As a result, many fans are the longtime UNLV rooters who have backed the hardwood Rebels for decades.

Realtor and UNLV fan Justin Gannon observed, “Experience was fine. I would tarp off the top and just pack people in the lower bowl. 6,000 lower bowl would create a much better atmosphere. Also get rid of the outrageous ticket prices. Luckily secondary market was cheap.”

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San Diego State is a longtime UNLV basketball rival known for intense defensive play, especially down the stretch in the last few minutes. It was the script that played out today. UNLV cut a deficit to only four points, 53-49, with 5:54 left in the second half. But UNLV stayed stuck on 49 points for more than five minutes as San Diego State buckled down the Runnin’ Rebs on defense. In the end, UNLV had Donovan Williams with 16 points and Bryce Hamilton with 15, while Royce Hamm Jr. collected a game-high 14 rebounds.

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