Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 | 1:03 a.m.
- Rebels earn pleasant flight home with easy road victory at Wyoming
- Rebels’ Bennett exits game at Wyoming early with left shoulder injury
- Can Rebels overcome road factor against Wyoming?
- UNLV Extras: Can UNLV do something about its rising number of turnovers?
- Marshall lifts UNLV to victory in home battle against Colorado State
- Instant Analysis: UNLV gets tough again in last-second win over Colorado State
- Eustachy the catalyst behind Colorado State’s rebounding dominance
- All UNLV men's basketball coverage
Impressed is the wrong word, but it’s a good sign UNLV (21-7, 7-5 Mountain West Conference) did exactly what it was supposed to against Wyoming (18-9, 4-9) in a 65-42 victory Saturday at Arena-Auditorium.
Remember, Boise State and Fresno State were both missing key contributors in those Rebels losses, so while we can all agree Leonard Washington means more to Wyoming than Igor Hadziomerovic does to Boise or Robert Upshaw does to Fresno, it still was important for the Rebels to get this blowout. It gave UNLV coach Dave Rice a chance to experiment with lineups, and although he didn’t do much of that save for playing five subs together for an extended stretch in the first half, at least he had the opportunity.
Usually, on the road, UNLV hasn’t been able to think about anything except how to survive. This time, the Rebels could even think about trying to make a quick exit to catch a charter flight out of the Laramie, Wyo., airport. Speaking of which:
UNLV’s charter helps team avoid delays
This trip gave the team a great example to present to the Rebel Athletic Fund to possibly make charter trips more of a regularity.
On last year’s trip to Laramie, the team flew into Denver during a blizzard and had bus issues from there, turning the jaunt into about a 14-hour day. Personally, I got caught at Denver International Airport for several hours before flying straight into Laramie. Another reporter had to fly to Salt Lake City and drive approximately 400 miles up through snow and wind, and then back down.
This time, the team took a round-trip charter, most importantly beating the incoming snowstorm Saturday night to easily get back to Las Vegas. Most of the flights out of Denver on Sunday morning were canceled, and several people trying to get back couldn’t get a new flight until Monday night. With a week off until their next game, that wouldn’t have been a disaster for the Rebels, but what if they had something like the San Diego State game Wednesday?
Travel (and the delays that come with it) is part of the deal in college athletics, but any time you can eliminate some of those risks, you would love to do so. After the Fresno and Air Force losses the Rebels boarded planes back along with athletic fund members, but this was the first round-trip charter just for the team this season. With a scenario like this one proving the charter’s value, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of them in coming seasons.
Current Mountain West standings
Team MW record (Overall)
- New Mexico 10-2 (23-4)
- Colorado St. 8-4 (21-6)
- UNLV 7-5 (21-7)
- San Diego St. 8-5 (20-7)
- Boise St. 6-6 (18-8)
- Air Force 6-6 (15-10)
- Wyoming 4-9 (18-9)
- UNR 3-9 (12-14)
- Boise St. 3-10 (9-17)
I brought this up after the last game, too, but UNLV had even more turnovers (18), bringing its three-game average up to 17.3.
It’s important to note this is during a three-game winning streak, so it’s not like this has prevented the Rebels from doing what they need to do. But Rice often brings up the high turnover numbers in his opening statement, saying it’s too many and that they need to get them under control before anyone even asks about it. For example, from Saturday:
“Once again, way too many turnovers,” he said. “We’re playing against a team that doesn’t press; we cannot have 18 turnovers.”
The numbers have risen in the past two weeks. UNLV’s lowest turnover total in Mountain West play was 11 at home in a victory against New Mexico, and the team’s turnover margin in league games is -3.38, almost three more than eighth place.
Here’s a look at how the Rebels’ three primary ball-handlers have fared in that area in league play:
Anthony Marshall — 2.3 assist-to-turnover ratio (84 assists, 37 turnovers)
Katin Reinhardt — 1.2 ratio (33 assists, 28 turnovers)
Bryce Dejean-Jones — 0.9 ratio (28 assists, 30 turnovers)
Marshall controls far more possessions than the other two, making his total number of turnovers easier to swallow, especially in comparison to his younger counterparts. Most of Reinhardt’s errors seem to be errant passes, while I would guess Dejean-Jones is close to leading the league in offensive fouls.
UNLV can waste those possessions without issue against Wyoming, and it survived them in the previous two victories. However, without individual accountability and the decision to put greater value in controlling the basketball, it could come back on the Rebels in a tournament game.
Odds and ends
• Since the team was off Sunday, Rice said he would have an update on Anthony Bennett’s left shoulder Monday. Right now it’s just a guess, but I’d be surprised if he doesn’t play Saturday at UNR.
• Senior guard Justin Hawkins missed three more 3-point attempts Saturday, dropping his total to 1-for-28 in the past 11 games. Hawkins has never been known as a shooter, but it’s still baffling to see his stroke disappear completely.