Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012 | 2:05 a.m.
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- Bryce Dejean-Jones expected to miss at least a month with fractured hand
- The Rebels’ Justin Hawkins raises the bar for Twitter conversations
- As first practice looms, UNLV basketball puts in work for much-anticipated season
- All UNLV coverage
The anticipation for the upcoming UNLV basketball season has been felt at the ticket office.
Season ticket holders have increased 25 percent from last season, and when individual game tickets go on sale online Sunday, there won’t be much to pick from on the lower level of the 18,500-seat Thomas & Mack Center.
D.J. Allen, UNLV’s senior associate athletics director who oversees the department’s communications, said Tuesday that about 100 season tickets remain in the 9,000-seat lower bowl.
“This scenario is a marketer’s dream,” Allen said in an email. “You have a winning team playing an exciting brand of basketball with an extremely likable coach who played here. And the team he is leading is made up of proven veterans — who are already fan favorites — some exciting transfers and one of the top recruiting classes in the nation. It’s easy to see why Runnin’ Rebel fever is sweeping the valley.”
Last year, when there were 8,100 season ticket holders, UNLV had six crowds of more than 15,000 fans and three sellouts to rank No. 17 nationally in attendance. For the fourth consecutive season, the Rebels ranked No. 1 on the West in attendance. More important, they also were undefeated at home.
UNLV opened the season with victories in 21 of its first 23 games in climbing to No. 11 in the rankings last year in coach Dave Rice’s first season, and the team played an exciting brand of running basketball — reminiscent of the program’s glory days — to spike interest to a new level.
Then, this offseason, preseason All-American forward Mike Moser passed on leaving early for the NBA Draft and top recruit Anthony Bennett picked UNLV over offers from schools such as national champion Kentucky.
So, UNLV got aggressive with its ticket-sale efforts, even hosting a mid-summer open house for holders to pick seats.
The end result will be obvious Nov. 12 when 19th-ranked UNLV hosts Northern Arizona to open the new campaign: Season ticket holders will account for more than 10,000 fans each game this season, and another 2,500 student tickets will be reserved for the Rebellion student organization. That’s about 13,000 fans already with tickets for each game.
“We expect to average our largest crowds in 20 years,” Allen wrote.
While the lower level is nearly sold out, Allen said there still are several good seats available on the upper level starting at $125 for the season. There also are partial season ticket plans.
Visit UNLVtickets.com or call 739-FANS for information. Individual game tickets are available online only Sunday. At 11 a.m. Monday, tickets can be purchased in person at the arena or by telephone.