May 21, 2019 Currently: 78° | Complete forecast

As usual, Rebels sparkle against Spartans, 105-69

It may be the end of time before San Jose State ever beats UNLV.

These two could play each other forever, and it's likely the result would be as lopsided as Monday night's 105-69 victory for the ninth-ranked Rebels before an announced Thomas and Mack Center crowd of 17,666.

It was the 19th straight time that the Rebels have outfought the Spartans. San Jose Coach Stan Morrison has only been around for two of those, but no matter who the Spartans run in there, UNLV's Jerry Tarkanian seems more than equal to the task.

"Firstly, I’d like to say that when you talk about some of the great coaching jobs around the country you have to say what a helluva job that Stan Morrison has done at San Jose State," Tarkanian said. "I thought we played hard in the first half, but San Jose played tremendously hard. For the first 12 minutes, they were right there.

"They played hard, they were competitive and they kept coming at us. That's the mark of a well-coached team. When they keep playing hard right until the end, then you know the coach is doing a good job."

UNLV regained sole possession of first place in the Big West Conference with a 10-1 mark. The Rebels are 17-4 overall. San Jose State lost its sixth straight game. The Spartans are 5-15 overall.

Even though Larry Johnson found the bench at the 13:45 mark in the second half he led six UNLV players in double digits with 18 points and also yanked down 16 rebounds. Moses Scurry came off the bench to score 17. David Butler had 17 as well.

"Moses came in and did a good job," Johnson said. "What happened last week is gone for us. We came out and played harder on defense. That was something coach wanted us to do. I though our intensity was there.

So did Morrison and Tarkanian. During the Saturday affair against North Carolina State, the Rebels were passive on defense. Because of the problems of last week, UNLV appeared timid. But whatever Tarkanian said Monday prior to the game, worked.

The Rebels forced 25 turnovers, while holding San Jose State to 34 percent from the field and 1 of 16 from beyond the three-point stripe. Kevin Logan and Troy Batiste led the Spartans with 16 points apiece. Logan also had 15 rebounds.

"I think the Rebels were better than they were last night (Saturday afternoon) for two reasons," Morrison said. "First we have lost some close games in the past couple of weeks and I think we have been questioning ourselves, which we didn't do last month.

"Second, with them having Scurry and Butler back in a groove, they really blend well together. Their mix is phenomenal. I watched the N.C. State game on Saturday and it seemed as if UNLV was not getting after it, but tonight they took us apart. This is a different league for us. In fact, I caught myself applauding for one of their plays."

Point guard Greg Anthony had another solid game out front. He scored 11 points, handed out nine assists, committed only two turnovers and collected three steals. Anderson Hunt added 10 from his off-guard spot and Travis Bice came off the bench to score 13.

Both Tarkanian and Morrison spoke of the unselfish play of the Rebels. Morrison praised it, while Tarkanian conceded that perhaps some of the guys are too unselfish at times.

"Sometimes on the fast break," Tarkanian began, "we wind up throwing one too many passes. I'd like to see somebody just take it to the basket without looking for somebody else."

Morrison didn't quite agree.

"They are really unselfish and work hard on the defensive end," Morrison said. "They are always looking for the guy who's most open on the play. At times a good team can have one or two selfish guys who hurt. But not this group. Everybody scores."

That was certainly the case in the first half. After Stacey Augmon opened the game with a lay-up, the Spartans rallied to take a 7-2 lead they would only hold for a few minutes. UNLV went ahead 11-9 for good en route to a 56-34 halftime lead.

Tarkanian pressed a little, played a little of the amoeba and employed a half-court trap just to keep things spicy. Late in the game, David Rice was hit in the head and required 14 stitches to his forehead to close the cut.

"David Rice's face was covered with blood and he still wanted to play," Tarkanian said. "He's a beautiful kid."

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