Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010 | 7:14 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Dec. 4, 2010 | 10:06 p.m.
- No. 24 UNLV out for fifth straight victory against struggling UNR
- Despite late efforts, UNLV’s game with UNR won’t be televised
- Hostile environment fuels No. 24 UNLV in 82-51 thrashing of Illinois State
- Notebook: Rebels avoid ‘curse,’ enjoy new-look uniforms
- 2010-11 UNLV Schedule
- All Sun UNLV men's basketball coverage
Final, UNLV wins 82-70
RENO — Oscar Bellfield will be the story of No. 24 UNLV's 82-70 blowout of rival UNR, but it was again a spread-out, team effort as the Rebels improved to 8-0 on the season on Saturday night at the Lawlor Events Center.
Bellfield continued his trend of thrashing the Wolf Pack each season, scoring a career-high 24 points, including a 5-of-6 showing from 3-point range.
Derrick Jasper (12 points), Tre'Von Willis (11) and Justin Hawkins (10) each scored in double figures as UNLV ended its stretch of five games in nine days unscathed. The Rebels are now 8-0 and will next play Boise State on Wednesday night at the Orleans Arena.
UNR struggled to just a 5-of-24 shooting performance in the first half and took advantage of laid back UNLV defense after the break. Despite getting to within as few as eight points, the game never felt close after the Rebels took firm control in the early going.
UNLV has now won five straight against UNR, who drops to 1-6 on the year.
For full postgame coverage, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.
2:13, Second Half, UNLV leads 80-62
RENO — For the third time in his time at UNLV, junior guard Oscar Bellfield has set a new career-high in points against UNR.
The Rebels have let up some this half on defense and allowed the Wolf Pack a bevy of inside scores, but Bellfield has had several answers. He just hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game and has 24 points, as UNLV is putting on the finishing touches.
Also huge this half has been Derrick Jasper and Tre'Von Willis, who have combined for 23 points tonight.
Oddly, the Rebels have hit the 80-point barrier without a single point from their leading scorer, Chace Stanback. He has four fouls, two rebounds and is scoreless on just 0-for-2 shooting.
11:52, Second Half, UNLV leads 56-39
RENO — He'll surely be asked plenty of times after the game, but it's something about playing against UNR that brings out the best in Oscar Bellfield.
After UNR went on a 12-4 run to open the second half and wake up the crowd a bit, the UNLV junior guard ripped its collective heart out again, hitting a pair of deep 3-pointers. He now is 3-of-4 from long range and has a game-high 17 points as the Rebels are back up big, 56-39.
Bellfield's career numbers against the Wolf Pack are flat-out silly.
As a freshman, he scored 17 in this same gym, hitting five of his seven 3-point tries.
Last season, he scored 22 points, had four assists and three rebounds in a big win at the Mack.
Each time, his output against UNR went down as a season high for him in terms of points.
He's not done yet, as he's getting in the faces of his UNR foes tonight after every play he makes and is thoroughly enjoying the experience.
Halftime, UNLV leads 46-25
RENO — After UNR got to within 13 points of UNLV late in the first half, the Rebels again flexed some muscle, and Oscar Bellfield spearheaded a late 10-2 run to give his team a commanding 46-25 lead over UNR at halftime.
In the run, Bellfield hit a corner 3-pointer and two late free throws, as he has a game-high 11 points so far. Justin Hawkins also came up with a steal and scored an old-fashioned 3-point play in the spurt.
Nothing has come easy so far for UNR, who is just 5-of-24 from the floor and well on its way to a 1-6 record.
For UNLV, Carlos Lopez played big minutes off of the bench at the power forward spot in place of Chace Stanback, who picked up two early fouls. He has nine points and five rebounds so far, scoring in a variety of ways.
Meanwhile, the Rebels overall are 16-of-29 from the floor and forced 12 Wolf Pack turnovers on the other end.
Look for Lopez to see plenty more minutes in the second half, along with freshman swingman Karam Mashour, who played a handful of minutes in the first half.
Bellfield's strong 17-mintue performance in the first half didn't just include big-time scoring. He has two steals, three assists and no turnovers, and while others around him have had foul trouble, he's been the one constant so far.
3:07, First Half, UNLV leads 33-19
RENO — It took nearly 11 minutes of game clock to do so, but UNR finally got its first field goal on a Deonte Burton layup following an 0-for-13 start from the floor as a team.
Still, they haven't strung together enough buckets or defensive stops to get too close, and UNLV leads its rival late in the first half, 33-19.
Lon Kruger has emptied his bench early, which is to be expected given both the score and the fact that UNLV is at the end of a 10-day whirlwind right now which has included five games.
Chace Stanback, who leads the team in scoring this season, picked up two early fouls and has been on the bench scoreless for much of the half.
Filling the void for him is redshirt freshman Carlos Lopez, who leads all scorers so far with nine points. He's playing valuable minutes, and doing much of it alongside fellow big Brice Massamba.
UNLV so far is 13-of-25 from the floor, while UNR is just 5-of-21 and has turned the ball over 10 times.
11:45, First Half, UNLV leads 13-2
RENO — It didn't take long for UNLV to sense a backcourt weakness in its opponent, as the Rebels have dominated the rival Wolf Pack so far and lead 13-2 in front of a silenced Lawlor Events Center crowd.
The Rebels started fast, as Quintrell Thomas, who was scoreless with seven rebounds on Wednesday at Illinois State, scored two easy buckets against UNR's thin frontcourt.
Most of UNLV's dominance so far, though, has come on the defensive end, as it has been sticky and held the Wolf Pack to no field goals on 0-for-10 shooting. The Pack is struggling much more than even I anticipated, as it really doesn't have much of a structure on offense and is struggling mightily behind freshman point guard Deonte Burton. UNLV is applying all sorts of defensive pressure and UNR is getting easily flustered.
To boot, UNLV is out-hustling its rival and winning almost every loose ball.
Tre'Von Willis has scored five quick points off of the bench for UNLV and, surprisingly, hasn't heard much from the packed UNR student section compared to what he got three nights ago in Normal, Ill.
As a team, UNLV started 6-of-11 from the floor.
RENO — UNLV sophomore guard may have summed up the entire team's feelings just before taking the floor for warm-ups tonight at the Lawlor Events Center on his Twitter feed.
"After a long week of work, it's time to have some fun," he said.
In reality, it's been a long 10 days, as the No. 24 Rebels (7-0) have spent much of it away from home, and that stretch has given them more of a taste of what life in pro ball is like.
Now, as Hawkins said, UNLV hopes to end the long stretch in style against struggling rival Nevada-Reno (1-5). The Rebels will get a bit of breathing room after tonight, as they're not back in action until Wednesday when they'll take on Boise State at the Orleans Arena.
UNR doesn't present quite the threat it has in recent years, and is struggling in the wake of losing both Luke Babbitt and Armon Johnson to the NBA draft.
The Rebels, meanwhile, are hot on both ends of the floor. It's been most noticeable on the defensive end, where only two of their first seven opponents have shot over 40 percent against Lon Kruger's club.
To kick off the night, here are three things I'll be watching for tonight as UNLV goes for its fifth straight win in the series.
1) Lost in the diverse stat sheet from the Rebels' 82-51 smacking of Illinois State on Wednesday was a dominating performance down low, out-rebounding the Redbirds 44-30. Quintrell Thomas was the only UNLV player not to score, but had seven boards, while Derrick Jasper was his typical self in adding nine. ISU's big men were solid, but young. Again, that's the case tonight. Dario Hunt is the Wolf Pack's leading scorer and rebounder, but the 6-foot-8 junior likes to play on the perimeter more than in the paint, so the opportunity for UNLV to be strong again on the interior is there.
2) Tre'Von Willis passed his first test in dealing with the hatred from an opposing fan base regarding his tumultuous off-season. Surely, UNR's students will be even more vile than Illinois State's. Does he use it as fuel again? I'd say he probably does, but it'll be something to watch all season.
3) UNR has a strong young two-guard in sophomore Indiana transfer Malik Story, but UNLV has made its bread and butter this season pressuring opposing point guards into submission … and turnovers. Tonight, they get their first look at flashy freshman Deonte Burton, who is averaging 9.0 ppg and 4.2 apt. How will he handle what will be the strongest backcourt defense he has yet to face?
As for a prediction and Pick to Click, I'm going to start by saying UNLV moves up the rankings come Monday after improving to 8-0. I'm going with 77-59 as a score, as UNR is much like ISU was on Wednesday night in having not yet seen a challenge like this.
For a Pick to Click, I'll go with Oscar Bellfield. He's quietly been one of UNLV's most consistent performers so far, and in his first go-round at Lawlor as a freshman, he had 17 points off of 5-of-7 3-point shooting.
I'll be back starting after tip-off. As per usual, add the #unlvmbb and #UNLV hashtags to your in-game tweets to join the conversation with me, or give me a follow at twitter.com/ryanmgreene.