Monday, November 14, 2011

Recap - UNR vs. UNLV

Undefeated, 2-0

What a fun game to watch! Three potential headlines could describe this one:

Sloppy beginning – dictating tempo, playing UNLV’s game, not UNR's

The game started out rough for both teams. Lots of errant passes, teams trying to do too much, and push tempo a little too fast. It was a relatively low scoring affair at first, and the turning point came with 12 minutes left in the first half and the score tied 12-12. From that point on things were more controlled and more consistent, and UNLV went on a few runs. UNR seemed to play at UNLV's speed rather than trying to stretch the clock and slow down tempo. Regardless, their shooting was embarrassing and who knows if slowing it down would have helped any. Even though it seemed fast paced, I would say I saw the Rebels run too many breaks, or shoot the ball especially quickly within the clock. Maybe it's the illusion of Runnin' that is occurring right now, and we'll get actual running later?

Comfort zone: consistency for UNLV, fluctuating lead

Once UNLV took the lead, they maintained it throughout most of the game. This was exactly the type of basketball fans wanted to see UNLV play. Before the season started, we asked who would be the coaches getting off the bench and making some noise – you saw both Heath Schroyer and Justin Hutson both up and rallying the troops to victory. The lead fluctuated between 5 points early on, to our biggest lead of 18 points (61-43) with 6:36 left in the half that came on a fast break dunk by Justin Hawkins. You could tell from this game that the Rebels strength and conditioning was superior to most of the Wolfpack except for Deonte Burton, who had to hoist his team on his back to make things competitive. Chances are with an 18 point lead with 6 minutes left, some fans tuned out or left the arena – shame shame shame, there was more game to be seen.

The one that almost got away, close finish

People will say, UNLV lacks that killer instinct. With such a big lead they let it slip away and almost lost the game. It’s a valid point, but lets look on the bright side – it kind of made the game entertaining and put UNLV in another pressure situation that they can learn from when times get tougher. Close games are more entertaining than blowouts, and this game was transformed into a close one when the rest of the Wolfpack joined Mr. Burton ‘s crusade.


There are so many guys the Rebels can have step up and have a big game on any given night. Among the group of stars, I’d list Moser, Bellfield, Marshall, Lopez, Thomas, and Hawkins – that’s a much bigger group to chose from than last season.

Rebels still shooting the three frequently and poorly, 26.9% for the game. They need to stop doing that so much or make them more frequently, long shots create long rebounds and fast break opportunities for the opposing team.

Rebel passing is sloppy, too many cross-court passes that could have been picked off. If you want to see how this team is different than last years, look at passing. Last years team would swing the ball around the perimeter, and Coach Kruger would cringe at the cross-court passing.

Hustle is in effect, saw many players sacrifice their bodies to steal or try and recover the loose ball.

Player notes

Rebel Reign MVP – Carlos Lopez
For a guy who missed a game with a severe ankle sprain, he performed a miracle and was the heart and soul of the team tonight. Sure, he was only the 4th leading scorer but the guy was awesome to watch and played as if he was never injured at all. Lopez is really picking up where he left off and enjoying the freedom that comes with being a power forward rather than a center. His trick moves and fancy footwork make him a cross between Anderson Varajo and Tim Duncan. Can't wait to see more from Lopez.

Chace Stanback
Welcome back Chace. His point production was critical and it was interesting to see that he was letting the game come to him, with no jitters or indication that he had missed any games. Chase is a pro, and hopefully he can help out in a balanced role that makes opposing teams guard all of our talented tall players causing matchup difficulties all season.

Mike Moser
We knew he was a offensive machine, but who knew he was a double double every night kind of guy? He’s becoming so good that it will really hurt if he gets injured. Although it wasn’t another 20 rebound night, he’s feeling comfortable in the offense and is a shoot first, pass second type of player. Fact is, someone has to be that guy. Looking forward to more Mike.

Brice Massamba
Although he fouled out, some of the best Massamba I’ve witnessed happened tonight. He was dominant, showed a lot of heart, and did things that wont show up in the stat line. With the blistering pace this game was played at, Brice should be happy with that decision to shed the weight last season. Good job Brice!

Quintrell Thomas
Didn’t have a stellar offensive game, but became heavily relied on to deal with people like Olek Czyz when Brice went out due to foul trouble. Q is in a category of players who didn’t have horrible nights – but not everyone can shine at once. Still a good rebounding effort and a really nice block by Thomas.

Kendall Wallace
Wallace still hasn’t found his in-game rhythm when it comes to his specialty – the three point shot. What I would hate for him to become is another Derrick Jasper, a senior who is on the court because they are a senior but can’t shoot and can’t guard anyone due to injuries. I still have high hopes for him, but for his own sake I feel that if he doesn’t develop a dependable three point shot by the break he’ll be buried behind Reggie Smith as a fourth option guard. Even if Wallace’s shot comes along, Coach Rice may want to play some zone to compensate for his lack of defense.

Anthony Marshall
Had an off game, no field goals at all. But, that’s how great this year’s team is – he doesn’t have to. Marshall quietly did some damage from the free throw line and helped his team by dishing out 7 assists with only 2 turnovers. Marshall will bounce back.

Oscar Bellfield
He’s really enjoying the new role, and was rock solid tonight. At several points in the game it seemed as though you could count on him or Moser creating their own shot at critical points to further momentum. He did a nice job.

Justin Hawkins
Coming off a career night, Hawkins still had some magic in his shoes and made the most of it. He shot 50% from the field and led all Rebels with 13. Hawkins is a really different player than the guy we’ve seen the past two seasons, its as if he were one of these new transfers we’ve been hearing so much about. Whatever he did in the off season (or what Coach Rice did for him), its working. I get the Hawkins part of the equation. If he keeps pulling of these genius performances I’m changing his first name to Steven like Hawking J

Great game for the Rebels. Good two point shooting, bad three point shooting, good rebounding, and great assists. We may have caught UNR on a bad night, we may have escaped a possible disaster, but all that matters are Ws’ and L’s and so far we are undefeated and UNR is winless – the way it should be.

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