Rebels basketball:

No. 24 UNLV survives second-half scare and pulls out 77-63 win against Hawaii

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Bryce Dejean-Jones falls over Hawaii forward Isaac Fotu during the first half of their game Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack.

Updated Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 | 6:14 p.m.

UNLV vs. Hawaii 2012

UNLV guard Justin Hawkins shoves Hawaii guard Jace Tavita out of his face while Hawaii center Vander Joaquim reacts to being called for a technical foul during their game Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack. Hawkins also received a technical foul for the altercation with Joaquim. UNLV won 77-63 Launch slideshow »

Anthony Bennett scored 16 points and No. 24 UNLV survived a scare from Hawaii before pulling out a 77-63 victory. The Rebels led 49-27 at halftime but scored just 12 points in the first 14 minutes of the second half before fixing things.

Christian Standhardinger led the Warriors’ attack with 27 points and 10 rebounds. He went one-on-one with UNLV’s Mike Moser for much of the second half and won more battles than he lost. Moser missed the final stretch of the game because he had four fouls. Bryce Dejean-Jones also missed a lot of time in the second half, though that appeared to be a coach’s decision.

UNLV’s Savon Goodman came off the bench and registered 13 points and six rebounds. Quintrell Thomas was also a big role player, finishing with nine points.

It was freshman Katin Reinhardt’s 3-pointer in the corner with 5:40 left on the clock that seemed to wake the Rebels up for good. Justin Hawkins, who finished with eight points, followed with a 3 as UNLV quickly pushed its lead from seven to 13.

The Rebels go on the road for the first time this season on Tuesday when they play at Portland. The NFR kicks them out for the next few weeks as they won’t return to the Thomas & Mack Center until Dec. 19 against UNI. That stretch includes one “home” game at the Orleans Arena.

Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from tonight’s game.

Halftime: Rebels running away from Hawaii behind balanced attack

UNLV is firing on all cylinders against Hawaii, racing out to a 49-27 halftime lead behind Anthony Bennett’s 10 points and nine from Savon Goodman off the bench.

The Rebels have looked stellar and basically every front. They’re doing well against full-court pressure, against zone defense, in their half-court offense and in transition. There’s nothing UNLV hasn’t done well thus far, including hitting 5-of-7 on 3-pointers.

Senior point guard Anthony Marshall has five points and six assists to three turnovers in 17 minutes. He may get a rest in the second half thanks to the lopsided score and the fact that Rice recently pulled the redshirt on freshman guard Daquan Cook. It’s also Cook’s birthday today, just another reason I expect to see him in the second half.

UNLV’s focus right now should be to replicate absolutely everything they did in the first half. There’s naturally going to be some regression in an area or two, but the important thin for them to learn from this game is maintaining the intensity they showed throughout the first half.

Pregame blog: No. 24 UNLV must stay disciplined against Hawaii

In the two games since its four-point loss to Oregon, No. 24 UNLV has made a concerted effort to work the ball inside. The Rebels barely had more 3-point attempts in the past two games combined (31) than they did in that loss (30).

Obviously this is a good thing, though it would be foolish to think the Rebels won’t regress at some point. That step back could come today, when the Rebels host Hawaii at 4 p.m. in the Thomas & Mack Center.

The reason for this possible regression is that Hawaii has one of the nation’s top 20 defenses in terms of effective field-goal percentage. The Warriors guard the paint well with a talented front court and force opponents into bad shots that often come from the perimeter.

UNLV’s challenge on offense will be to work through any struggles it may experience by getting the ball inside more, not less. The usual option if things aren’t going well is to start shooting a bunch of open or even contested 3s. That’s exactly what a team such as Hawaii wants the Rebels to do, because unless they’re on fire out there, it only helps the opponent.

The Rebels have done a good job of adjusting to those type of issues from game to game, but the next step is fixing it during the game. Obviously it may not be an issue if UNLV comes out and dominates inside from the beginning, but that’s unlikely. Hawaii has both size and experience in the paint, and no doubt they’ve spent plenty of time during its 10-day layoff breaking down tape on Rebels freshman Anthony Bennett.

THE OTHER SIDE

Hawaii projected lineup

G — Jace Tavita, 6-4, Sr, 3.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 8 apg

G — Brandon Spearman, 6-3, Jr, 15.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.4 apg

F — Hauns Brereton, 6-6, Jr, 13 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.2 apg

F — Christian Standhardinger, 6-8, Jr, 15 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.2 apg

F — Vander Joaquim, 6-10, Jr, 15.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 57.7 fg%

Sixth man — F, Isaac Foru, 6-8, Fr, 8.2 ppg, 8 rpg, 58.6 fg%

Best name: Manroop Clair, 6-2, Fr, G

Extra storyline: UCLA transfer guard Tyler Lamb is visiting the Rebels this weekend and will be in attendance. UNLV has had success recently with Bruins transfers (see: Mike Moser and Chace Stanback) and could be adding another one.

Useless Wikipedia factoid: Bette Midler, whose performance “The Showgirl Must Go On” could be seen at Caesars Palace for three years, is a Hawaii grad.

Kenpom line: UNLV -22

Vegas line: UNLV -21.5

Bern’s take: While Hawaii may be able to match UNLV inside, the Rebels seem to have a clear advantage at the guard and wing spots. Over 40 minutes at home it’s likely that will be enough to win out, but UNLV could face a steep challenge from a team it defeated by just five on the road last year. UNLV 79, Hawaii 65

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. That first half reminded me of the championship team; it was pure, poetic, unselfish basketball from an era when individuals didn't play solely for the highlight reels and NBA scouts. Glad to see the team pull it back together at about the 14 minute mark of the second half -- in time for a respectable win. Go Rebels!

  2. Tonight was a tale of two halves. The Rebels over-dribbled in the second half and settled for some bad shots. This was a good game for them because they had some weaknesses exposed that can be worked on in practice.

  3. We have a lot of weaknesses. Rice better get these guys in the gym and working harder...I'll take the win, but we won't go deep into the tourney if we don't drastically improve before March.

  4. Am I the only one who think Sinatra711 is a Debbie Downer? The Rebels showed a lot of positives in the Hawaii game. It's hard to put together a better first half than the Rebels put together. They dominated all facets of the game.

  5. Replay the first half for the rest of the season... we have a top 10 team, we just need to see it for 40 minutes, not 20.