David Jenkins was UNLV’s most indispensable player in the first half of Tuesday night’s loss to Nevada. He played all but 24 seconds of the first 20 minutes.
But then Jenkins got benched. After the first 5:10 of the 2nd half, Jenkins only played 1:13 the rest of the game.
UNLV was missing Bryce Hamilton. The Rebels had very little offensive firepower, but T.J. Otzelberger sat down his best scoring option. And it was because of defense.
In the opening five minutes of the 2nd half, Nevada scored 11 points. UNLV’s defense started to wither.
“David, as a fourth-year college player, needs to be a guy to help get our defense set up. Help anchor it. Help talk. Help communicate. Really care that we get stops. I thought there was some slippage there.”
Looking at how Nevada picked up those 11 points, it is hard to put the blame on Jenkins. The first seven points Nevada scored were in one on one matchups where UNLV defenders simply got beat. Jenkins was off the ball in all three occasions, and he didn’t miss a help side rotation.
The sins of Jenkins may be during UNLV’s transition defense. The Rebels gave up consecutive layups due to horrific defense.
Jenkins would seemingly be absolved from blame, as he is guarding in the opposite corner while three other Rebels look lost at the top of the key. But this might have been Jenkins fault. On the two previous possessions, Jenkins was guarding Tre Coleman (#14). So the reason for confusion may have been Jenkins guarding the wrong man. But we don’t know that for sure.
The very next possession, Warren Washington ran straight to the rim for an easy dunk.
This one falls primarily on Mbacke Diong, who just kind of stopped running once he got to the three-point line. Jenkins could fall in the secondary blame category, as he seems to realize Washington is streaking unguarded to the rim and does not intervene.
Jenkins had one more defensive possessions (after a UNLV timeout) where he gave up an open three.
Jenkins is slow to react and doesn’t get close enough to really contest the shot. But it is a deep three and doesn’t connect. It isn’t the worst defense. But it was the last defensive possession Jenkins played before watching for the next 10 minutes on the bench
Otzelberger did not call out any specific play Jenkins did not execute, but was critical of his leadership on that end of the floor. Those were certainly the worst two defensive possessions of the game for UNLV and Jenkins took the brunt of the blame.