Thursday, Jan. 4, 1990 | 2 a.m.
If someone had conducted an NBA draft, it's likely Cedric Ceballos would have ducked out on Cal State Fullerton at the half.
As well as the senior forward played during the opening 20 minutes of Wednesday night's Big West Conference game with 10th ranked UNLV, won by the Rebels 94-66, it wasn't enough to stop them from kicking the rest of his teammates all over the Thomas and Mack Center floor.
Anderson Hunt scored 28 points from somewhere this side of Stateline, while Stacey Augmon and Larry Johnson were busy grabbing 10 rebounds each and combining for 26 points as well down in the paint.
It wasn't a pretty picture for Titans Coach John Sneed who watched his team fall to 5-4 overall and 0-1 in the conference. UNLV raised its marks to 8-2 and 2-0, respectively, by playing everyone and his mother in the second half.
UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian had time to look at his calendar and see he's playing 10 games over the next two weeks, so he sat down his starters with 10 minutes remaining and went into his amoeba defense for good measure.
By that time Channel 34 had gone back to showing the television guide knowing full well most people were reaching for their remote controls to see if they could catch a rerun of the Three Stooges.
At times the Titans played like them, hitting only 31 percent from the field. They were out rebounded 89-44 and turned the ball over 16 times to force Sneed to use all of his timeouts with 11 minutes remaining.
"I don't know that anybody in our league can beat them here," Sneed conceded. "Maybe if the right circumstances come along on the road, one or two of us can catch them napping at home. I don't know.
"It wasn't from lack of effort. We went high on the glass, hands in the crow and all of that. But their hands were a foot higher. We just couldn't stay with them. We got beat by an excellent ball club tonight."
For the second game in a row Hunt hit outside jumpers like he invented them. The sophomore from Detroit was 6 of 9 from beyond the three-point line and 10 of 14 overall. He played the most of Tarkanian’s starting five (27 minutes), and doubled Johnson's point production. Johnson was second in scoring with 14.
Greg Anthony went 0 for 8 from the field, but finished with nine assists and six rebounds. He also picked off five steals as UNLV's defense flustered Fullerton off-guard Mark Hill for most of the game.
Hill went to the showers with 25 points to lead the Titans. The down side was his 9-of-29 performance from the field. Ceballos finished with 19 points and a career-high 21 boards. He had only three points in the second half.
"I can't really figure out what's wrong with this team," Ceballos said. "We're not clicking at all at the same time. UNLV is beatable. We have the guys who can beat them. But you can't make mistakes on offense and defense like we did all night and win."
"I felt confident coming in. Going against a front line like theirs doesn't change how I approach the game, just go in there and do my best. I guess tonight that wasn't enough."
It would never be enough, considering his supporting cast, against UNLV. Take away Hill and Ceballos, and Fullerton scores 22 points. Take Ceballos off the boards and the Titans grab a whopping 23 rebounds.
"I think we frustrated their other players pretty well," Tarkanian said. "I was pleased with our effort. Our running game was very good and we scored a lot of fast break baskets. It was good to play against a straight zone."
"We're going to see a lot of that in our next four games. If a team plays a zone against us like tonight, they have to pack it in because David (Butler) and Larry are so good. And that allows guys like Anderson, Travis (Bice) and Barry (Young) to get a lot of shots."
Bice and Moses Scurry came off the bench to finish with eight points apiece. All 13 players saw some action, with 12 of them breaking into the scoring column. Hunt said that's a lot of fun for the starters.
"We like to see everybody get in and play," Hunt said. "I've said this before and I'll say it again, we're a legitimate number one team. We'll get back there once some of their other guys start losing. We're playing like champions."
Well, maybe Big West Conference champions. After all, UNLV hit only 42 percent of its shots from the field and 50 percent (17 of 34) at the foul line. Still against a team like Fullerton, that's good enough.
The titans looked like a group heading for the second division in a hurry.
"I'm disappointed that we got beat by so much," Sneed concluded. "We can't break down on offense like we did tonight and expect to be in the ballgame. It was just one of those night. I honestly believe UNLV could win the national championship. They were that good at times tonight."