UNLV Extras: Travel schedule helps Rebels avoid delays on the road

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Associated Press

UNLV’s Bryce Dejean-Jones, left, and Wyoming’s Derek Cooke, Jr. reach for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, at the Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, Wyo. (AP Photo/Casper Star-Tribune, Alan Rogers)

UNLV vs. Wyoming

Wyoming's Matt Sellers (43) tries to get inside against UNLV defender Khem Birch (2) during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013, in Laramie, Wyo. UNLV won 65-42. (AP Photo/Laramie Boomerang, Jeremy Martin) Launch slideshow »

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)

Turnovers continue

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.

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

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  1. Regarding jhawk it's not that he's missing shots. His shots are missing badly... Not exactly rimming out. There's two keys here.. One: get him some OPEN .. Wide open looks .... Two: attack the basket , get to the foul line.. Get The confidence back.... Gotta find ways to contribute

  2. The team should take a note from the 90's bulls strategy and feed the post early. Second option attack the basket early. Draw foulsssssssssssss. It tends to soften up the defense.... Especially early when teams are pumped and bite on fakes. I rarely see anyone witht the ability to drive and draw fouls..... Marcus banks... Tre Willis .... Wink Adams..... It's a art and it is a big facet of offense... Come on coach.

  3. Hawkins shooting the 3 is a turnover.

  4. Justin Hawkins has been put in some bad situations on offense. He should NEVER be in an iso situation, and that seems to happen about twice a game.

  5. I was glad to see the reduction in 3 point shooting this past game and hope going forth, UNLV follows that plan unless it's a completely wide open look, or set play for a 3 (that should be a wide open look, if done correctly anyway). Feed the front court, especially with Moser looking much better than earlier this season.

  6. @Sofakingbored (Wade Fasano) - With the strength of the Rebels' frontcourt, it would be nice to see them shoot a maximum of 25% of their shots from beyond the three point line. Some of the players get too frustrated, give up, and settle for horrible three point attempts.

  7. I do not mind seeing guys shoot threes off the catch in rythym(even Hawkins). My problem is when you see guys dribble into a three or catch the ball with a defender close by, hold the ball, look at the defender and then try to rise up and shoot a contested three. Those two scenarios (done mostly by Reinhardt and BDJ) tend to contribute to our wildest misses and low shooting percentage. Bennett and Moser also like to catch and rise up for three with a defenders in their grill. Granted JHawk is in a miserable shooting slump but when the three is wide open he still needs to take it. I do not want to see what happened to Derrick Jasper a couple of years ago when he decided to stop shooting and became a complete non factor on offense and put alot of pressure on the other guys to pick up the slack.

  8. Phillips is right. Hawkins has been put in some tough situations given his limited offensive skills. Especially in the SDSU game. SDSU made their run late because Hawkins ended up with the ball late in the shot clock & had to jack up prayers two or three possessions in a row. That is no slight on JHawk, though, that is Marshall's fault....he's gotta recognize the situation, the shot clock, not pick up his dribble up high, get the right people in the right place, and then take the ball to the rim and/or kick. We can live with a JHawk wide open look but not JHawk in iso 25ft from the rim.

    Having said that, I dont have a SINGLE problem with JHawk or Savon being on the floor. Those kids fight and bring a tenacity this team sorely needs. I just dont want the ball in their hands with 5 secs left on the shot clock.

  9. Wow really? , this article was about travel problems and you guys turn it into armchair coaching issues. Dave Rice can schedule flights but not a team on the court. yeaaaah.