Rebels rally, pen the Hogs

Greg Anthony took a quick look at the box score in UNLV's locker room before heading quietly out the door.

The junior guard didn't notice the numerous points he scored (20), the total assists he dished out (11), or even the many steals he picked off (four) in leading UNLV to a come-from-behind 101-93 win Saturday over Arkansas before 18,853 in the Thomas and Mack Center.

Anthony was far more interested in Lee Mayberry's line of offense on this afternoon that had the air of an NCAA tournament game about it. The first two things Anthony noticed were the number of turnovers he forced on Mayberry (seven) and the number of three-pointers the sophomore point guard made (none). Those numbers were enough to convince the former Rancho High standout his job was well done.

"I thought Greg played an absolutely sensational game." UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian said. "Mayberry mad some unbelievable shots with Greg right on him. Greg's defense was just awesome.

"I was really happy to see Anderson (Hunt) shoot the ball as well as he did. We needed him to break out of his slum and he certainly did that. This was a good win over a great team."

The 11th-ranked Razorbacks were the better team in the first half due in part to the lack of turnovers (five) they committed against the No. 12-rated Rebels. They led 48-44 at the half behind the long-range eye of Todd Day and the excellent play of Mayberry at the point. Arkansas' guards drove all over the floor.

But in the second half, Tarkanian decided to take Anthony off Day and put him on Mayberry. This freed up Hunt on the offensive end, and allowed Anthony to show a nationally televised audience on CBS the true meaning of the words defense at the point.

Hunt picked up Anthony's cue by connecting on five three-pointers in a second-half stretch that took the life out of Arkansas Coach Nolan Richardson, who could only watch and shake his head in disappointment.

The sophomore from Detroit finished with a career-high 28 points by hitting 11 of 18 from the field and six of those were three-pointers. He gave UNLV an 80-75 advantage on one three-pointer and then watched Stacey Augmon put the game away on three coast-to-coast slam dunks to take an 88-81 lead with 4:30 left.

Augmon came alive in the second half after a slow opening 20 minutes. He finished with 19 points. The California junior raised the nation's eyebrows on one sequence by blocking a Day shot on one end, then picking the ball up and driving the length of the court for a wrap-around-the-back slam dunk.

"In the last 10 minutes I thought Stacey really took over," Tarkanian said "We need some good games out of Stacey for us to be a good basketball team. He didn't have a good first half. But he made up for it in the second."

UNLV played most of the second half without Larry Johnson. He picked up three fouls in the first and his fifth with about seven minutes left in the game. Tarkanian set Moses Scurry loose, who responded by hitting 1 of 10 from the field.

"I couldn't throw a nickel into the ocean," Scurry said. "Man, what a horrible day I had."

But it was good enough against what Richardson called a five-guard offense. His three big men, Lenzie Howell, Mario Credit and Oliver Miller, were all in foul trouble for most of the game. Arkansas' game plan was to topple the Rebels' forward wall.

"We really didn't get a chance to see our strengths against UNLV's strengths in the second half." Richardson said. "We basically played them with give guards because Credit and Miller were already in foul trouble.

"There was nothing at all wrong with our game plan. We wanted them to try to beat us from the outside. Give Hunt credit. He nailed down the open shots and that was the difference."

Hunt credited Anthony for his afternoon of success. Big man David Butler, who finished with 17 points and 13 rebounds himself, also found Hunt on the perimeter at all the right times.

"They were diving at us all afternoon," Butler said. "You either have to go up fast with our shot, or kick it out on the perimeter and he made them pay for it."

Hunt entered the contest connecting on only five of his last 20 from the field. A nagging wrist injury sustained in the Oklahoma game has kept him from making the bomb. He said it still was hurting him.

"But I told everybody to give me the ball because I was going to have a good game," Hunt said, then smiled. "It's still the same, but it feels a lot better when you score 28 points.

"Greg kept driving or, getting the ball in down low, and it left me open. You have to give Greg all the credit. When I was open, he was always getting me the ball. I told Todd and Lee in the tunnel during the half that 'Y'all may be ahead, but we're going to win.'"

And that's what ended up happening for the 7-2 Rebels, who held the 8-2 Razorbacks to just 44 percent from the field. They entered the game hitting 56 percent. Day led Arkansas with seven rebounds and 28 points.

Mayberry countered with 21 points and four assists. He entered the game averaging only 1.2 turnovers a contest, and led the nation last year in that category for point guards with a 1.6 average.

He committed seven against UNLV's pressure defense. He was 0 for 5 from three-point range. The Razorbacks were also outrebounded 53-33. Johnson finished with 12 points and nine boards to round out UNLV's attack.

"That was some game," Richardson concluded. "It was a great one for the crowd and the national audience. I couldn't be prouder of my team. They came into a very tough place to play, overcame a lot of adversity and still played their hearts out.

"They don't think they lost, and I like that. We just have to put this one behind us and get ready for our conference opener against Houston. I hope this rivalry continues, and I look forward to UNLV coming to our place next year."

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy