Saturday, Nov. 29, 2008 | 2:09 a.m.
Ryan Greene and Rob Miech talk about UNLV's 73-55 loss to Cal in the Global Sports Classic on Friday night, as the the Rebels dropped their first game of the season thanks to 19-of-64 shooting.
Some thoughts ... from the Mack
Rob Miech: “It seemed like a debacle like Friday was on the verge of happening. In three of its first five games, UNLV shot 36, 39 and 37 percent from the field against, uh, non-elite squads. And Cal came to Las Vegas with the nation’s top 3-point shooting team.
“Voila! Those trends continued, a perfect storm for the Rebels, who made only 29.7 percent of their attempts against the Golden Bears, who continued to torch the nets from long range. Assistant coach Greg Grensing said a game like Monday’s in El Paso, in which UNLV trailed by 13 in the first half, usually is a teaching situation. But the Rebels pulled that one out.
“That loss came four days later. Back to the drawing board.”
Ryan Greene: "It's not like the Rebels' shot selection was that bad. Again, they just didn't fall. That's one thing you could consider a fluke, but UNLV's had that problem already this season. They've proven to be good at times, not so good at others. You just wonder how long that streakiness might last.
"The situation, trailing by 13 points at the half, was similar to what UNLV faced early at UTEP Monday night. But this time, against a more veteran team and a successful, veteran coach, coming back wasn't so easy. The Rebels had a golden opportunity in the second half, when the Bears hit just two field goals in a 10-minute stretch, but couldn't string together enough offense of their own to do so.
"UNLV should be able to lick the wounds against a young and raw Cincinnati team, which looked pretty beatable in its own Friday night contest against Florida State."
Inside the numbers
29.7: That number -- the Rebels' field goal percentage for the night -- pretty much tells the tale for UNLV, which was just stale from the floor and couldn't find any rhythm. Inside of that, UNLV's three-headed senior corps of Wink Adams, Joe Darger and René Rougeau combined to hit just six of 30 attempts.
18: Jerome Randle's 18 points for Cal only began to tell his story from Friday night at the Mack. The diminutive Bears point guard played 38 minutes, and added eight assists and six rebounds. In the first half, after finding a teammate with a sweet dish, he showed a sneer on his face, then let out a yell after hitting the subsequent 3-pointer. He had attitude and confidence, and didn't let Wink Adams pushing him around derail him from a strong night.
3: Max Zhang, the 7-foot-3 freshman center, only played six minutes for the Bears in the first half, but it was enough time for the tallest player in Cal history to swat three shots and alter a handful of others. This was a good weapon for Mike Montgomery to have, as it forced UNLV to work the perimeter quite a bit when shots weren't falling.
10: Findlay Prep product Jorge Gutierrez scored 10 points in 17 minutes off the bench for Cal, and added five rebounds to his stat line. He came in with a reputation as being a guy who provides a spark with consistent hard play. He gave just that for a Bears ballclub with little depth to work with. He and sophomore big man Harper Kamp were the only ones to log double-digit minutes off the pine for Cal. UNLV had four reserves who did so.
63.2: One of the mysteries through six games for UNLV continues to be spotty free-throw shooting. The Rebels hit just 12 of 19 attempts.
Just in case you missed it ...
A big key for UNLV in Monday's road victory at UTEP was the play of both of its point guards -- Tre'Von Willis and Oscar Bellfield. Willis had a rough start Friday evening, with two early turnovers and an offensive foul, which didn't quite help the Rebels set the pace they wanted. He finished with nine points on 3-of-9 shooting, five fouls, one assist and four turnovers. Bellfield hit a couple of late buckets to give him 10 points, but was quiet for much of the night in 26 minutes.
Hopefully you didn't miss it ...
Cal came in leading the game in 3-point shooting, and again put up an impressive percentage, hitting seven of its 10 selective tries. Jerome Randle hit four threes, including two early in the first half, which help set the tone. UNLV tried to squeeze some in during a second-half stretch when the door was left open by the Bears. In a 10-minute span, Cal hit just two field goals, but the Rebels had their three looks rushed by stellar perimeter defense. At one point, Gutierrez flashed out on a Kendall Wallace try from deep, which wound up catching nothing but air.
They said it ...
Lon Kruger on Cal dictating the tempo: "A game where not many things to really feel good about. I thought Cal opened it with authority -- quicker, bigger, more aggressive on both ends of the floor. We found ourselves reacting more than we did dictating for the rest of the night."
Wink Adams on UNLV getting sidetracked: "On the defensive end, I think a lot of guys had the right mindset in taking charges, but a lot of them I guess were fouls, a lot of free throws shot. I think a lot of our guys got down and started talking to the refs. Cal kept their composure and just outplayed us tonight."
Jerome Randle on his matchup with Wink Adams: "He's real aggressive. He was trying to shove me a little bit, but I was able to use my speed and get around him."