Rebels basketball:

No. 18 UNLV can’t overcome its mistakes in 83-79 loss to Oregon

The Rebels went more than eight minutes in the first half without making a shot. UNLV returns to action Saturday at 5 p.m. against Iowa State

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Anthony Marshall covers his face after missing a layup that would have tied their game against Oregon Friday, Nov. 23, 2012. Oregon won the game 83-79.

UNLV vs. Oregon

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall walks off the court after the Runnin' Rebels were upset by Oregon 83-79 Friday, Nov. 23, 2012 in the Global Sports Classic. Launch slideshow »

Freshman Katin Reinhardt, the Rebel who arguably had the most to do both with No. 18 UNLV even being in the game and then eventually losing it, cleared his throat a few times to get through a cold and succinctly summed up the team’s feelings Friday night.

“Losing sucks,” he said.

This was going to happen eventually. UNLV (2-1) was never going to go undefeated, so a night like this was a question of when, not if. It hits harder because few expected it to come so soon, though no one could argue the Rebels didn’t deserve the feeling in the pit of their stomachs.

UNLV started with a 9-2 lead, but for most of the night it was outplayed by a deep, tough Oregon squad that came into the Thomas & Mack Center and took an 83-79 victory in the semifinals of the Global Sports Classic. It’s the Ducks (5-0), not the Rebels, who will meet No. 22 Cincinnati in the championship at 7:30 tonight. UNLV will try to bounce back in the consolation at 5 p.m. against Iowa State, a fate for which the Rebels have only themselves to blame.

“It’s a devastating, difficult loss for us to have to deal with right now,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said.

UNLV was outrebounded (45-41), committed more turnovers (18-14), shot a lower field-goal percentage (41.8-35.8), and got outscored by 10 in the paint (36-26) and 27 (39-12) from the bench.

The lead changed hands seven times in the final 3:06, but the Rebels just couldn’t come up with as many game-winning type of plays as Oregon. Justin Hawkins' open 3-pointer in the corner with the game tied and 41 seconds left rimmed out, then Anthony Marshall made a great drive to the basket with about 10 seconds left and UNLV down two, but he missed at the rim.

“We had some great looks to put ourselves ahead,” Marshall said.

The key to the Ducks’ final charge was freshman-on-freshman crime, with guard Damyean Dotson attacking and finishing against Reinhardt. Dotson made three baskets in the final two and a half minutes, all of them plays designed to go right at Reinhardt.

“We cleared it out for him a few times,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “We had the matchup we want.”

Dotson hit the decisive free throws with 6.3 seconds left to finish with a team-high 19 points. Fellow freshman Dominic Artis, a Findlay Prep grad, and Bishop Gorman alum Ben Carter combined for 23 points and 11 rebounds, filling the void left by starters Tony Woods and E.J. Singler, who both played limited minutes because of foul trouble.

The simple answer to the Dotson-Reinhardt matchup would be to pull Reinhardt off the floor, but that wasn’t really an option for Rice. After an 0-for-6 start from the field, Reinhardt scored 18 second-half points that kept UNLV in the game.

Reinhardt got the best of Dotson at least once, too, drilling a 3-pointer with 1:34 to play that gave the Rebels a 79-77 lead. Oregon would go on to score the game’s final six points. Four came from Dotson and the other two from Carlos Emory, who finished with 16 points that included an important and-one basket minutes earlier against Bryce Dejean-Jones.

Unlike Reinhardt, Dejean-Jones wasn’t able to make up for his defensive lapse with stellar offense. Boy did he try, though.

Dejean-Jones shot the ball the first 11 times he touched it, finishing 3-for-12 from the field and 1-for-8 behind the three-point line.

“We’ve got to do a much better job of managing shot selection,” Rice said. “That’s on me; that’s not on the team.”

Dejean-Jones battled both foul trouble and an ankle injury, but Rice didn’t dig very deep on his bench to find a replacement. UNLV played essentially a six-man rotation, with four guys — Anthony Bennett, Mike Moser, Marshall and Reinhardt — going over 30 minutes. Bennett tallied 22 points and 10 rebounds against the school he nearly attended.

The seventh guy was Quintrell Thomas, who fouled out after just 12 minutes. The other guys to see action were Savon Goodman, who looked every bit a freshman with two turnovers and a miss in three minutes, and Carlos Lopez-Sosa, who had one rebound in four minutes.

It didn’t matter who was on the court in the first half because nothing was going right for UNLV. Oregon ran a full-court press mixed with a zone defense that confounded the Rebels so much they didn’t score a basket for more than eight minutes. During that stretch, they committed seven turnovers and went 0-for-6 behind the three-point line.

“Our defense tonight wasn’t what got us beat,” Rice said. “It was our offense; it was our inability to execute for sustained periods of time.”

UNLV could afford to do that against the likes of Northern Arizona and Jacksonville State. It wasn’t nearly good enough to beat Oregon, and the main positive for the Rebels to take away is that it was even a game after such a poor performance.

They’re back on the court against Iowa State about 20 hours after this one ended. That leaves little time to dwell on how their home court winning streak came to such an abrupt end. What they’re feeling sucks, sure, and the only way to get past that is to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“It’d be a really sad deal if this were the end of the season,” Rice said, “but we’re only three games into what we think has the chance to be a special season.”

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

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  1. This was really disappointing. The sloppiness, lack of concentration and discipline, combined the with the poor three point shooting were all reminders of why last season fell apart. That being said, it is only the third game and I think the team will grow and improve in these areas. The belief that shooting an open three anytime is okay will probably never prove overly beneficial since there are just not that many really good pure shooters. The biggest positive I saw was that Moser seemed to finally remember what it was that caused him to be the force in last season's first half and what caused him to be largely ineffective in the second half last year. Last night once he started playing inside the arc, instead of wandering around outside trying to prove he can shoot threes well enough to go to the pros, he looked like the guy who was so dominant early last year. That was very encouraging.

  2. Work in progress

  3. The Rebels played too fast on offense. When they slowed it down just a tad bit (still playing fast however), they had good offensive possessions.

  4. The giant elephant in the room is the 30 three point attempts. This team is way too big and lengthy to have to jack up 30 3 pointers. Every damn time i see one thrown up and it's not Reinhardt, Hawkins, or Marshall wide open I cringe.

  5. I think that it will take until year four or five of the Dave Rice era to put everything together. Nobody has a great grasp of what Dave Rice wants to do on offense. That will come with time, however. After that, they can start to work on the defense. They only have so much time in college each week for practicing.

  6. Oregon just outplayed the Rebel's

  7. We're going to get hurt by the lack of a true point guard. With so many ball hogs/gunners ya gotta have someone dish it and we don't have anyone that looks like they think pass first.

    And if I were playing the Rebs I would full-court press 'em as they looked lost against the Duck's press.

    The Rebels are a bunch of mish-mashed pieces. We'll see how good of a coach Rice really is as he tries to mold them into a team. He seems like too nice of a guy to kick some butts like he needs to do. Guess we'll find out...

  8. @AmLowLife - I don't know if you watched the UNLV-Colorado game last year, but Dave Rice was furious when he called a timeout about five minutes into the game. I'd never seen him so mad before.