Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shakin’ off the funk; Rebels roll after the first 15 minutes and beat CSU San Marcos 94-50

The Runnin’ Rebels appeared to be frozen to the (actually quite cold) floor for a great while in the first half, before man-handing CSU San Marcos. For a team that was in its first year of existence, plays in the NAIA, and loaded into four minivans to come to Las Vegas, they were composed and hung with the Rebels initially.

While it was widely anticipated that the Rebels would blow out the weakest team on their schedule this year, ironically on the same floor they dispatched the #1 Tarheels. The Rebels and Cougars traded baskets until the 10:44 mark when the Rebels were up 20-19. The Rebels maintained a slim lead until the 6:00 mark of the first half, then broke open a lead that grew as large as 20 at the half. The lead ballooned after the half and resulted in a 44 point victory. The real turning point that helped the Rebels shake the funk off from Wichita, was defense.

Once UNLV put defense first, the offense naturally came. Players were regularly doubling offensively exposed players, getting hands on the ball to create steals, and challenging the passing lanes  to create turnovers. Once the Rebels figured out that their defense reigns supreme, the game was a simple victory. The Rebels had 34 points off of turnovers, and 25 fast break points – simply phenomenal.

Rebel Reign MVP Justin Hawkins had another breakout game, scoring 23 points on 9 of 12 shooting, and 4-5 free throw shooting. Several others had solid games, Chace Stanback remained reliable for 16 points, and shot over 50% for the game. Brice Massamba had 10 points and was a perfect 4 for 4 from the field, and Lopez impressed as well with 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting.

Mike Moser, who was suffering from a sore hand, was limited in scoring preventing what would normally be an easy double double. He still notched 12 rebounds, but only had 6 points for the game on 3 of 8 shooting. Anthony Marshall, also slowed by injury, was slightly below average with 7 points, but a healthy 8 assists.

This win, while insignificant in terms of RPI or respect, helps the Rebels to focus on what was lacking in the Wichita game – defense. The Rebels’ next game is likely one of their toughest on the schedule coming Dec. 10 at #14/16 Wisconsin. It also gave many of the players the confidence needed for the tough road game. Provided Anthony Marshall and Mike Moser can heal up and perform a their normal greatness, the Rebels have a better than average shot of notching a victory in Wisconsin.

Good effort by the Rebels, my only complaint would be the length of time it took for Coach Rice to empty his bench. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the one complaint. I'd like to have see Mashour get a good 7-8 minutes, and Cheney and Norman a good 3-4 minutes. Especially when our guys are a bit banged up as it is.