Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008 | 2:09 a.m.
Freshman guard Oscar Bellfield pulled off a power slam over UCLA transfer Chace Stanback from the right baseline Tuesday afternoon in practice, stunning UNLV players.
Many Rebels’ mouths immediately went “O.”
Some walked around the Cox Pavilion practice gym at half-speed, in awe of Bellfield’s second shocking jam over Stanback.
Freshman center Brice Massamba howled.
“Ohhhhhhhh!” he yelled, making eye contact with a writer. “Hey, you HAVE to write about that!”
Done deal, Brice.
The Rebels’ shooting woes have been detailed over the season, but Bellfield hasn’t been a part of that malaise.
Of the regulars in the rotation who are not big men, Bellfield leads UNLV with a 51.9 percent shooting touch.
Senior swingman Rene Rougeau is next, at 48.2 percent.
Then it drops off like the Grand Canyon.
In addition, Bellfield takes care of the ball. He has 28 assists and 18 turnovers on the season. Prizing possessions is a staple of fifth-year coach Lon Kruger’s system.
So is playing with confidence, and Bellfield continued to show Tuesday that he’s not an average freshman.
The latest Mountain West Conference statistics are out and they are not kind to UNLV.
The Rebels are last in the nine-team league in field-goal percentage (.417), 3-point percentage (.308), rebounding defense (38.3 a game) and rebounding margin (-2.0).
They are second in turnover margin (+4.4) and blocked shots (4.3), and fourth with an assists-to-turnovers ratio of 1.13.
Senior power forward Joe Darger returned to practice Tuesday after spending some time in Utah with his father, John, who is recuperating after recent surgery … UNLV finished practice with the 11-second drill, when waves of three red-shirted regulars go full-court against three of the black-shirted reserves, comprised of walk-ons and transfers. They sub after each 11-second offensive possession. First to 11 wins. The black shirts won the first game on Scott Hoffman’s jumper along the left baseline. The reds won the next two, both on Darger 3-pointers, to win the best-of-three series ... “We have to dictate more!” Kruger yelled at one point Tuesday. “We have to deny! Don’t just stand there and guard them!” … Kruger said most of what Santa Clara is focused on is senior center John Bryant, who has dropped more than 50 pounds in his collegiate career to get to his current 275. Kruger said he is a primary option, and guards Kevin Foster and James Rahon feed off plenty of secondary action when Bryant is overplayed.