Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Confidence Builder – Rebels end losing streak, beat Boise St 75-58.

This is the type of Rebels game the fan is accustomed and more comfortable seeing. The Rebels put their stamp on this one with great defensive pressure and accuracy from three. A lot of very good things occurred in this one that the team can build upon finishing out the conference schedule .

Active hands – Part of playing Runnin’ Rebels defense is looking to create turnovers and convert them into points. The best part of doing so is it counts as a stop because the opponent missed their opportunity to capitalize, and our team just scored. The Rebels outperformed Boise State in the steals department 10-4. The really cool thing about our 10 steals, was that it was evenly distributed – everyone was looking and successfully grabbing the ball. Three players had 2 steals apiece, Bellfield, Stanback, and Massamba. The following players had 1 apiece, Smith, Hawkins, Moser and Marshall. The Rebels did a great job of capitalizing on turnovers, with 13 points off turnovers.

Chace is back – Although there was talk from players like Anthony Marshall and Chace Stanback about not stepping up previously, playing through injury, and apologizing to the fans – that was just talk, we needed action. Chace Stanback had another effortless game with perimeter shots falling regularly. Stanback led all scorers with 19 points, he was 7 for 11 from the field with 4 of those from the three point line (4 of 6). When Stanback plays well and the Rebels play defense, we are unstoppable. Good to see his shot not altered by his knee troubles. Besides shooting, he really went all out. He had 7 rebounds, a steal and a block. Very solid performance by Chace, if he keeps this up we’re going places. I'll single out Chace for the Reign Man award, but the whole team gets it as well for shaking off the cobwebs and playing Runnin' Rebel basketball again. 

Defensive pressure – The Rebels were impressive with finally employing a full court press, even when comfortably ahead. Several times, especially in the first half, they pushed the Bronocs to the brink of running out the shot clock – not an easy feat with a lengthy 35 second clock. While its easy to see the result of the pressure with the numbers already mentioned, the Rebels forced BSU into 14 turnovers as well. Unfortunately, UNLV had 14 turnovers of our own, but still the effort was good. Fortunately, UNLV played defense in a way where lots of traps were employed, some successful charges were taken, and foul trouble never really became an issue. Teams really fear this kind of defensive pressure, and keeping teams afraid is a battle worth fighting for.

Massamba is fine – Surely Rebel nation was collectively holding their breath when Brice Massamba sprained his ankle against New Mexico. But, tonight Brice started and played very effective basketball, in fact 27 minutes worth. Great news for the Rebels to have Massamba at the ready to deliver. On a side note – who knew he had range? In the second half he popped out to 16 feet and shot a jumper, opponents got to hate that!

Runnin’ is back – besides the obvious defensive component, people want to see fastbreak points. UNLV simply dominated in that category outscoring 13 to 2 in fast break points in the first half, and then 8 to 0 in the second half. The point total could have been even higher, in a few of the plays the Rebels were a little too creative or unselfish with the ball, which ended up in missed shots and turnovers. Also complementing the Runnin’ was assists. Although not exclusively confined  to fastbreak points, the Rebels had a respectable 19 assists as a team. Leading all players in unselfishness was Anthony Marshall with 5 assists.

Moser’s more than a scorer – Mike Moser finished with 6 points. His shooting was still off and was 2-7 from the field. He was still a valuable piece on the court, besides being one of the more active forces stirring up trouble for the Broncos, he had 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal and 1 block. Also worth mentioning was he helped clean up a fastbreak layup by Anthony Marshall that went awry by trailing the play and dunking the putback. Despite the lack of copious points, Mike Moser was valuable in every other way.

Knockout punch – Throughout the game the announcing crew of CBS Sports keep ragging on the Rebels for not being able to step on teams throats, and finish them. When the Rebels finally achieved a 20 point lead, they shut up. In the end, the Rebels gave back very few of the points in the win margin, and those that did fall by the wayside happened in garbage time. At least now the Rebels realize that doing enough isn’t always an easily definable number (see 18 point lead ending up in a loss).

Nickname – I’m christening a new one for the Rebels. Based upon their penchant for shooting the long ball, how about “Threepublic”? (play on Rebpublic). I’m just saying even though it frustrates me to no end to see such an athletic team jacking up threes all the time, maybe you just have to embrace it, for better or for worse.

Elsewhere – In other news, a much more exciting game occurred on The Mtn when Wyoming came to San Diego and pushed them to overtime. The Aztecs fought back and halted their three game losing streak, winning at home 67-58.

No comments:

Post a Comment