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UNLV’s Anthony Marshall, Quintrell Thomas have flashes of strong play in scrimmage at UCLA

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Quintrell Thomas smiles during their first practice at Immaculata High School in Ottawa, Ontario Friday, August 17, 2012. The Runnin’ Rebels are taking part in a four game exhibition tour in Canada.

Here’s all you need to know about the UNLV basketball team’s Saturday afternoon scrimmage against host UCLA: The game was closed to the public and media, and no score or stats were kept.

And, in following NCAA rules, Rebels coach Dave Rice had to be vague in his description of the game. He wasn’t even allowed to mention UNLV’s opponent.

If the scoreboard was running, however, Rice suspects his team — which is ranked No. 18 in the Associated Press preseason poll — would have lost.

“We didn’t play with a sense of urgency we needed to play with for being ranked that high in the preseason,” Rice said.

The scrimmage followed the same script as a regular season contest with 40 minutes of play and a full complement of television timeouts. Rice experimented with a variety of lineups and player rotations in preparation for the Nov. 12 season opener against visiting Northern Arizona.

Rice couldn’t go into specifics highlights for his players but said senior point Anthony Marshall had a strong game.

“Anthony Marshall has made great strides in terms of being a playmaker and running our team,” Rice said.

Rice added senior center Quintrell Thomas provided a physical presence on the inside and said the trio of freshmen — Anthony Bennett, Savon Goodman and Katin Reinhardt — played well, too.

The scrimmage turned out being the preseason test for which Rice was looking. Not only was the scrimmage a road game against an equally talented team, it gave the players a chance to face the adversity of not performing their best.

“The expectation for our team is we’ll be better (after today),” Rice said. “It was just a scrimmage. At the end of the day, our record is still 0-0.”

Rice won’t have to be so vague on Wednesday night. That’s when UNLV hosts Dixie State at 7 p.m. in their final tune-up for next week’s season opener.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. I can't say I'm very surprised because this is the beginning of the season. They have a lot of newcomers, and it takes time for the guys to gel. I don't think they will start playing their best basketball until February and March. Luckily, they have easy opponents to start off the season (at home) and their talent alone will get them victories.

  2. Sorry, but "talent alone" does not get you victories in big time college basketball. Remember Syracuse losing to a div 2 squad in exhibition a few years ago?
    UCLA has a lot of newcomers as well, so that excuse is pretty flimsy. From the vague descriptions of the game it sounds like the Rebels were soft on D, not a good sign. Like Coach said, just a scrimmage and they're still 0-0, I'm sure they'll fix it and be ready on Wednesday night.

  3. Sounds to me that the Rebels did not do very well at UCLA. Mr. Rice wasn't able to figure it out towards the end of last season. With all the talent he recruited, returning players, and all the preseason hype this isn't good. I hope they have a successful season. Maybe it's time for back to basics before the season starts. Good Luck Rebels