REBELS BASKETBALL:

UNLV hoops notebook: Bellfield’s slam stuns teammates

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Oscar Bellfield of UNLV scans the court at the Orleans Arena where UNLV took on Western Michigan Sunday afternoon. UNLV beat Western Michigan 70-61.

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.

Bottom feeding

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.

Free throws

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.

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  1. Rob, I'm gonna add some salt on this one...

    In my opinion, the fact the kids were wowed by those dunks kind of sheds light on what seems a vanilla brand of basketball played by the kids. Some of my fellow season ticket-holding neighbors at games have mentioned they're just plain boring to watch.

    Brice and the others should feel free to engage in Oscar's dunking barrage and then transfer that into games. I believe it would make a huge difference in producing energy from the home crowd, and maybe filling more empty seats.

  2. You are right Gray... that is sooooo true. THAT energy is what needs to be translated to games, nobody would voice that to you louder than Lon Kruger. He wants his team to dictate. That has been his biggest message of late in practice. He's been pretty vocal over the past week and a half. This team needs to start taking it to the other guys tonight, TO-NITE! Otherwise, it's in for a world of hurt Saturday vs. Arizona and at Louisville on NY's Eve. You and your fellow season-ticket holders have a right to demand some action on the court. Know that Kruger knows exactly what you are talking about.

  3. Now Rob, last night was more like it! Would love to walk away on Saturday with a big fat 'W' under our belts.

    Hope you didn't slide around the road too much after the game...