Sunday, Feb. 11, 1990 | 4:52 p.m.
Leonard Hamilton's Cowboys didn't pack nearly enough six-shooters for this Saturday afternoon showdown.
The Oklahoma State head coach knew the ninth-ranked UNLV Rebels had some big guns of their own, he just didn't know how many. He thought he'd done a pretty good job with the starting five, but there weren't enough bullets remaining in the chamber for Moses Scurry coming off the bench.
The 6-7 power forward led six Rebels in double figures. He finished with a career-high 23 points to help give UNLV a 100-84 win over Oklahoma State before 18,780 at the Thomas and Mack Center. For the effort, Scurry was named the MVP by CBS-TV and was escorted to the bench with cries of "Moses, Moses, Moses" from the UNLV student section.
Only a week ago, Scurry was greeted with a hearty round of boos and catcalls by the big Mack crowd for his part in the brawl with Utah State. Scurry hasn't let that bother him. He has played hard and clean in his last four games and is a key reason for the Rebels' recent success.
"Moses had 16 points at the half?" UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian asked. "I had no idea he had scored that many. Moses had the best game he's had since he's been here. He really was running the floor so well."
"Over the past few games, he's gotten at least 10 baskets by getting out so quickly on the break. He's running better than my other two big guys. That's how I want them to run the floor."
Nobody's running the floor better than junior point guard Greg Anthony. While he has shunned the media this year, the former Rancho High standout is making UNLV coaches forget former point guard Mark Wade with his all-around play.
Against the Cowboys, Anthony scored 12 points from the field. He also handed out 10 assists, turned the ball over only two times, managed three blocks and collected five steals in 28 minutes on the floor.
"Greg Anthony ran the ballclub so well," Tarkanian said. "He is really showing a lot of leadership and is playing the role of a coach on the court. He's doing everything we ask of him."
Maybe even a little more. Anthony wasn't quite ready to accept all the praise that has been coming his way. Being a player is one thing, but a coach? Well, that's a different matter.
"I'm not making the switches defensively on my own," Anthony said. "When we move into different zones, or presses off the free-throw line, I'm just doing what the coaches are telling me to do."
Coaching was an intricate part of this game. The Rebels played an excellent first half defensively and shot the ball well on offense (56 percent). But they were up by only eight thanks to a solid effort by the 13-9 Cowboys.
Tarkanian moved out of his pressure man, and into the amoeba (1-3 zone with a chaser) early in the second half, and suddenly Oklahoma State did not know what to do.
"That was a great move defensively from a coaching standpoint," Hamilton said. "We got a little hesitant, and turned the ball over three times out front. The outside shot was there. We got what we wanted."
"But they just wouldn't fall. We were down (57-49) when they went into the zone. Then we really fell behind (74-61 some six minutes later). This is a very talented team. Great teams find many ways to beat you. They had too many weapons for us."
Scurry and Anthony were the bookends of the six double-figure club. The four in the middle were Stacey Augmon (14), David Butler (13), Anderson Hunt (13) and Larry Johnson (12). That tied Johnson's season-low. He scored only 12 against Arkansas, but he countered that against the Cowboys with a game-high 15 rebounds.
"Moses having some good games is helping me and Larry," Butler said. He and Augmon also had eight rebounds apiece. "You watch, I'm going to get James Jones to play better off the bench too. We want everybody to be ready when it gets close to the NCAA tournament."
The Rebels are playing like a good tournament team at this point in the season. UNLV has won 10 of its last 11 and 16 of 18. The losses to New Mexico State and Louisiana State in the current streak were by a total of three points.
Tarkanian has watched his team win its last five games to raise the overall mark to 19-4 entering Monday night's Big West Conference game with Fresno State. The Rebels appear to be hitting their stride.
"I would put them on a par with Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas," Hamilton said. "It takes a team that can be error-free to beat them. Once they get you in transition, look out. That's what happened to us."
"This was a very physical game. I thought our post people were the ones getting fouled and then I look up and see our big guys sitting on the bench with four fouls. We got Butler in foul trouble early. But after that who knows?"
Forward Byron Houston led all scorers with 27 points. Royce Jeffries added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Cowboys. Guard Darwyn Alexander scored 12 and John Potter had 11 coming off the bench.
For UNLV, it was the fifth time in six games that the Rebels have scored at least 100 points. They hit 52 percent from the field and 73 percent at the foul line.