UNLV vs. Utah State | Thomas & Mack Center | January 22, 2013
When I started covering UNLV basketball 15 years ago, there were usually a few students in the stands sporting fuzzy red wigs who referred to themselves as “Rojos.” If memory serves, they disappeared around the time Bill Bayno did, leaving an energy void in the student section that matched years of Rebel basketball mediocrity. Fast forward to a few years ago when a handful of die-hard fans began showing up in face paint, which snowballed into a more active student section and one-upsmanship with large cutout heads. Those heads begat 3D heads and a giant, articulated version of then-UNLV forward Mike Moser, dubbed Mozilla. When Moser’s transfer to Oregon forced Mozilla’s retirement, its creator, former UNLV student Sean Clauretie, devised the largest prop yet, Khem Kong. The 20-foot-wide puppet, based on forward Khem Birch, was unveiled during the Rebels’ game against Utah State last week. And while Khem Kong wasn’t enough of a distraction to keep Utah from making its free throws, UNLV’s defense helped the Rebels to a 62-42 victory.