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Live Game Blog: Bellfield, UNLV come through late, upset No. 16 Louisville, 76-71

Sophomore guard finishes off 17-point day the hard way as Rebels improve to 5-0


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Matt Shaw scrambles for a loose ball with Louisville guard Payton Siva, left, and Kyle Kuric during the first half of Saturday’s game at the Thomas & Mack Center.

No. 16 Louisville vs. UNLV

Despite losing a 19-point lead, UNLV held on to beat sixteenth-ranked Louisville 76-71 Saturday.

UNLV-Louisville Basketball

UNLV forward Brice Massamba and the rest of the Rebels celebrate their 76-71 upset of 16th-ranked Louisville Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

POSTGAME EDITION: Rebels produce winners across the board on busy day

Ryan Greene, Christine Killimayer and Ray Brewer discuss a busy day in UNLV athletics, including the hoops squad's resounding 76-71 victory over No. 16 Louisville at the Mack and the football team's sendoff to coach Mike Sanford and its 16 seniors coming in the form of a 28-24 come-from-behind victory at home over San Diego State.

Final, UNLV wins 76-71

When an 18-point lead vanished in the second half — completely — Oscar Bellfield took over, and the UNLV sophomore guard's 17 points helped pace the Rebels to an upset victory over No. 16 Louisville on Saturday afternoon at the Thomas & Mack Center, 76-71.

Bellfield was 5-of-10 from the floor, and hit several acrobatic shots from close range in the final minutes to help UNLV cruise through the final two minutes towards the finish line.

The Rebels were 27-of-56 from the floor and had four players in double figures, as the Cardinals' sluggish first half came back to bite them in the end.

Tre'Von Willis added 16 points for UNLV, and rounded out his impressive stat line with nine assists and six rebounds. Darris Santee had 13 points and five boards for the Rebels, while Derrick Jasper chipped in 12 points, four rebounds and two assists.

Edgar Sosa led all scorers with 18 points for Louisville, while Rakeem Buckles had a big second half, finishing with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Samardo Samuels was silent overall for the second straight season against the Rebels, finishing with 13 points and three boards.

Louisville was 24-of-60 from the floor, going 17-of-26 from the free throw line. Those missed charities kept the Cardinals from cutting their deficit earlier than they did.

The Cardinals will have several chances to lick their wounds against weaker competition before facing Kencuky in Lexington on Jan. 2. That run starts with Stetson at home on Wednesday. Meanwhile, UNLV takes its 5-0 record to Tucson for a meeting with Arizona on Wednesday night at 6 p.m.

For full postgame coverage, including stories, video, photos and stats, stay tuned to www.lasvegassun.com/rebels.

1:00, second half, UNLV leads 73-66

Bellfield made both of his free throw tries out of the timeout to put UNLV ahead, 68-64. But Reginald Delk added with two charities of his own on the other end, with both teams in the double bonus, to keep it a one-possession game heading into the final three minutes.

Bellfield then drove again and hit another acrobatic leaner along the baseline, giving him a team-high 17 points. Jerry Smith missed a runner at the other end, and after Darris Santee came down with the board, he was fouled and sent to the line at the 2:04 mark.

The senior forward hit both free throws to put UNLV back up by six points with 2:04 to play.

After a Louisville timeout, Santee deflected an entry pass on the other end to force a Cardinals turnover, but UNLV gave it right back when Oscar Bellfield lost the ball out of bounds off of his knee moments later with 1:35 to go.

Jerry Smith missed a 3-pointer after a tie-up kept the ball with the Cardinals, and Derrick Jasper was held while boxing out for the board, sending him to the line for two potentially clinching free throws. The first missed, but the second swished through to make it a three-possession game at 73-66.

A Cardinals turnover quickly after sealed it.

3:07, second half, UNLV leads 66-64

Samardo Samuels missed a pair of free throws out of the timeout, making the Cardinals 4-of-11 at the stripe on the day, and Darris Santee added a mid-range jumper on the other end to extend UNLV's lead to 18 points.

After Samuels then scored the Cards' first bucket of the second half on their next possession, Santee scored yet again, giving him a game-high 11 points to make it 50-32, UNLV. Louisville, however, earned its way into the double bonus with 10:07 to play in the game. Peyton Siva hit one of two, making the Cards 11-of-19 from the stripe on the night.

Tre'Von Willis and Jerry Smith then traded buckets, and UNLV got its way into the bonus at the 9:10 mark. Matt Shaw, however, couldn't capitalize on the opportunity, and Louisville's Samardo Samuels scored on a tip-in on the other end, drawing a foul along with it. He hit the free throw, and an Edgar Sosa 3-pointer moments later brought a tense silence across the crowd, with UNLV leading just 60-54 with 7:40 to go.

After UNLV called a timeout, Willis missed a running layup inside, and Rakeem Buckles scored on the other end to make it a four-point game.

Derrick Jasper brought the crowd to its feet quickly with another finish off of a Tre'Von Willis pass, but Buckles scored yet again to keep it at a four-point game, 62-58.

Samardo Samuels then split a pair of free throws to make it a one possession game, and after Willis air-balled a try attempt, Edgar Sosa tied the game up, 62-62, with 5:10 left in the contest.

Oscar Bellfield then went to the line for a bonus trip, hitting two more charities to keep UNLV slightly ahead as the game entered the final five-minute stretch. Bellfield then stole a pass at midcourt and attempted to bring the house down with a slam in transition, but was fouled by Peyton Siva under the hoop.

Bellfield missed both, and UNLV's chance to extend the lead yet again went by the wayside.

Louisville took its time on the ensuing possession, and after Edgar Sosa was forced to his left, he drove, fed Buckles and the game was tied yet again with just over four minutes to play, 64-64.

Bellfield made up for the free throw misses with another hard drive to the bucket and a leaner from five feet out which swished. Jerry Smith tried to give Louisville the lead with a 3-point try, but it missed and Derrick Jasper skied for the board. Bellfield was fouled on the other end while going up for a jumper, sending the game into its final TV timeout.

11:55, second half, UNLV leads 56-38

Samardo Samuels missed a pair of free throws out of the timeout, making the Cardinals 4-of-11 at the stripe on the day, and Darris Santee added a mid-range jumper on the other end to extend UNLV's lead to 18 points.

After Samuels then scored the Cards' first bucket of the second half on their next possession, Santee scored yet again, giving him a game-high 11 points to make it 50-32, UNLV.

Then, after Jared Swopshire hit a pair of free throws, Tre'Von Willis one-upped him with an old-fashioned 3-point play, giving him 11 on the afternoon.

Edgar Sosa responded with a jumper atop the key, but UNLV still remained unfazed, breaking the Cardinals' full-court pressure with ease and holding onto a 17-point edge.

After UNLV's lead was trimmed by two more points, the Rebels responded yet again, with Matt Shaw scoring a hoop of his own while drawing contact. He added a free throw to push UNLV back ahead by 18 points at 56-38.

15:42, second half, UNLV leads 46-30

Edgar Sosa missed a 3-point try atop the key to start the second half, and UNLV came right back down to get two inside from Brice Massamba, forcing the Cardinals into a quick timeout just a minute into the second half facing a 12-point deficit.

Massamba then scored again out of the timeout thanks to a sweet pass from Chace Stanback, as Rick Pitino began to dig for some sort of boost off of his bench, inserting Mike Marra off of his bench.

Darris Santee then extended the lead with a two-handed slam on the right side off of a dish from Tre'Von Willis, giving the UNLV junior guard five assists on the afternoon.

Halftime, UNLV leads 40-30

Derrick Jasper earned a trip to the free throw line out of the timeout and hit one of two, putting UNLV back up by double digits at 37-27.

Then, after Rakeem Buckles missed the front end of a bonus trip to the line, Tre'Von Willis went to the stripe in the double bonus. After his first try rimmed out, he hit the second to make it an 11-point game with two minutes to go.

The offensive drought continued, but Terrence Jennings brought it to a close with a follow-up slam off of an Edgar Sosa miss to kick off the final minute, again making it a single-digit deficit.

Oscar Bellfield turned the ball over out of a late timeout, and instead of holding for the final shot, Sosa got himself to the line with 18.8 seconds to play before the break. Louisville's struggles at the line continued, though, as he made one of two. That made the Cards 4-of-9 from the stripe in the first half.

Tre'Von Willis ended the first half with a bang, hitting a runner off the glass at the buzzer, making it a 40-30 game in favor of the Rebels at the break.

Some first half numbers to chew on ...

— UNLV was 14-of-26 from the floor and hit five 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Louisville was 12-of-29 and 2-of-9 from deep.

— Both teams had 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

— UNLV won the rebounding battle in the first half, 17-15.

— UNLV's top performers: Oscar Bellfield has nine points and three assists, Derrick Jasper has seven points, two rebounds and several highlights, while Tre'Von Willis has eight points, three rebounds and three assists.

— Louisville's top performers: Jerry Smith, Samardo Samuels and Edgar Sosa have seven points apiece for the Cards.

3:20, first half, UNLV leads 36-27

Out of the timeout, after Louisville failed to close the deficit, Tre'Von Willis hit his first 3-pointer of the game, making good from the top of the key to put UNLV up by eight at 30-22.

Then, Derrick Jasper drew a key offensive foul on the other end against Rakeem Buckles.

Willis tried to make it a double-digit lead with another 3-point attempt, but after his miss, UNLV was called with an intentional foul at midcourt. Jerry Smith missed both of the free throw attempts, however, helping keep the atmosphere in UNLV's favor. That was followed by an ugly 3-point miss by Preston Knowles. Jasper yanked down the defensive rebound and went coast-to-coast for a layup, putting UNLV up 32-22.

On the other end, Louisville got itself into the bonus at the 4:39 mark thanks to a blocking call against Brice Massamba, and this time, Smith cashed both of his free throw tries. After getting a chance for more, Louisville was called for three seconds.

UNLV's unselfish play continued, as CHace Stanback then passed up on a wide open 16-foot baseline look and hit Darris Santee for an easy layup. Peyton Siva responded with a 3-pointer for the Cardinals, but an Oscar Bellfield runner and then a traveling call on Louisville kept UNLV up by nine heading into the first half's final TV break.

6:22, first half, UNLV leads 27-22

The crowd was silenced momentarily out of the timeout, as Anthony Marshall was called for a carry, and Louisville's Jerry Smith quickly hit an and-one layup in traffic. However, he missed the charity, and UNLV drew Louisville's sixth team foul on the rebound.

UNLV lost possession, though, when Reginald Delk tied up Justin Hawkins on a layup attempt, and Samardo Samuels cut UNLV's lead to three points with a tough layup inside. Then, after Chace Stanback scored his first points of the day for the Rebels, Samuels scored another bucket, this time drawing contact along with it. A made free throw to go with it put the score at 20-18, with UNLV still slightly out ahead.

Edgar Sosa then tied it up off of a Derrick Jasper turnover, quieting the Mack significantly.

Moments later, UNLV got into the bonus at the nine-minute mark, and Oscar Bellfield capitalized with a pair made at the stripe to put UNLV back out in front.

Samuels had another opportunity to tie it, but a botched layup in transition turned into three on the other end for Matt Shaw, forcing Rick Pitino to call a timeout for the first time. Sosa responded immediately out of it for the Cards with a bucket, but after Steve Jones and Oscar Bellfield saved a loose ball off of a Jasper 3-point miss, madness ensued.

The ball went straight to Tre'Von Willis, who lobbed it for Jasper. The result was an emphatic two-handed throwdown, making it 27-22 heading into the game's third television break.

11:33, first half, UNLV leads 18-11

Derrick Jasper and Edgar Sosa traded acrobatic layups right out of the timeout, and after a Tre'Von Willis travel, both coaches ignited their backcourts by adding some youth. Rick Pitino put in high-flying frosh point guard Peyton Siva, while Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins came in off of Lon Kruger's bench.

But it was the big man for UNLV, Darris Santee, who stole the show on the next possession. Thanks to a sweet dish from Willis, he went up strong and dunked in the face of Louisville's Jared Swopshire while drawing contact. The ensuing free throw was good, and put UNLV up 12-8.

Jerry Smith cut down on the deficit with a three after Louisville displayed some nifty ball movement, but Justin Hawkins added a trey of his own, putting UNLV back up by four.

Then, after Kyle Kuric aired a retaliation three attempt on the other end, Hawkins drew the fifth team foul on the Cards.

Kendall Wallace, fresh in off of the bench, made the Cardinals pay with a three of his own, absolutely igniting the Thomas & Mack Center. Then, UNLV forced a tie-up at mid-court and was awarded possession out of the following TV timeout, up 18-11.

15:26, first half, UNLV leads 7-6

Following a thunderous pregame ceremony, highlighted by an Ellie Smith national anthem performance and Human Nature delivering the 'Lights Please' video, Louisville's Edgar Sosa controlled the opening tip.

Samardo Samuels immediately went to work with a tough drive to the bucket. But following a miss and a loose ball turnover by the Cards, Oscar Bellfield got the game started for UNLV with a runner in the lane from eight feet out. That was followed by an offensive foul against Sosa.

Derrick Jasper then made it two team fouls on Louisville, drawing contact on a drive of his own. He then took it in strong against Jerry Smith, but came up empty-handed. On the other end, Sosa missed a 3-pointer from the corner, and the Cards were whistled for their third infraction while going for the rebound. The make-up call came soon after with Chace Stanback drawing a whistle for a push-off.

The crowd rose to its feet yet again for the Rebels as UNLV then got the ball back and Jasper fed Bellfield for a trey atop the key, putting the Rebels up 5-0.

Preston Knowles hit a mid-range jumper soon after to start the scoring for the visitors, and Samuels then quickly scored inside following a UNLV turnover.

Tre'Von Willis put in his first points of the game with a nifty head-fake underneath followed by a tough lay-in, helping UNLV answer back.

After Louisville missed a pair of shot attempts, a turnover by Willis gave the No. 16 team in the land possession yet again. Knowles then hit a step-back jumper after forcing Steve Jones to lose his feet in his first possession in the game off the bench.

Jones made up for it with some hustle, helping UNLV get the ball back with a dive for a loose rebound following a Willis 3-point miss. The game then headed into its first television timeout, with UNLV maintaining possession up 7-6.


Hello everyone, and welcome to a doubleheader day here for UNLV which will hit on both ends of the spectrum.

Before the UNLV football squad brings its 2009 season to a close with a thud tonight at Sam Boyd Stadium — remember, Mike Sanford's final game with the Rebels — the main event takes place in the matinee time slot.

The 4-0 hardwood Rebels host No. 16 Louisville today in a 1 p.m. tip at the Thomas & Mack Center.

No question, this will more than likely be UNLV's most hyped home game of the season. A packed house — or very close to it — is expected.

Heading into this one, you can certainly say that UNLV is the more tested between the two undefeated clubs, with wins over tough mid-majors in UNR and Southern Illinois. On the other hand, Rick Pitino's club opened up the season by downing Arkansas — without its top two scorers due to suspension — and since then won home games against East Tennessee State, Morgan State and Appalachian State.

That said, it's clear why the line in this one is only 2.5 points in the Cards' favor. That's because in a close game, they're the ones getting their first true road test out of the way.

UNLV's comes on Wednesday night at Arizona, followed by a trip to the Bay Area next weekend to face Santa Clara.

Some key points to watch in this one.

— While do-it-all guard/forward Terrence Williams and sharpshooting forward Earl Clark are off to the NBA from last year's Louisville squad, the Cards are very dangerous and experienced.

Behind the senior guard combo of Jerry Smith and Edgar Sosa, Louisville has plenty of firepower. Then you can throw in high-flying freshman guard Peyton Siva.

However, behind sophomore big man Samardo Samuels, Louisville isn't very deep inside. Sound familiar?

— Speaking of Samuels, it'll be interesting to see how the sophomore, averaging 17.5 points and eight boards a game so far, reacts after playing one of the worst games of his young collegiate career last season in a 55-54 loss at home to UNLV. On top of his offensive struggles on that chilly afternoon, don't forget, he's the giant that Oscar Bellfield went up against for what proved to be the game-winning basket in the final minute.

— My pick for a breakout performer in this one? Derrick Jasper. Granted, it's against the school that was down the road from his old one, but this is the first chance for the Kentucky transfer to get a shot at a big-time opponent. This is a big-time talent who's used to facing opponents of this caliber. Expect him to stand out today.

— What decides this one? The big men and the young fellas. Which team's front court can make more of a statement? You know what you'll get out of Samuels, but what can sophomores Jared Swopshire and Terrence Jennings bring? And for UNLV, can Brice Massamba, Darris Santee and Matt Shaw compile a nice combined stat line?

Also, it could be an interesting duel between freshman guards off the bench between Siva and UNLV's Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins.

— I suppose you want a prediction. UNLV 71, L'Ville 65. In a coin-toss game, always go with the home team, especially when the visitor has yet to see a road atmosphere this season.

Talk to you after tip-off.

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  1. The NBA range 3 wallace hit was amazing. I love it! GO REBS

  2. I am very very impressed with this Rebel team right now. Especially Derrick Jasper.

  3. Rebels!

  4. That save to alley oop blew my mind!

  5. only 4 point game now.go rebels

  6. tied game

  7. The refs are doing all they can to help Louisville. Big free throw difference.

  8. right after I said there was a diff in free throws, the refs seemed to even things out.

  9. awesome santee. great game

  10. I'd like to think that the Rebs will be in the top 25 this week but, they have been screwed by the old boy network before. They might just drop Louisville out and figure they just weren't a good team to begin with.

  11. Still look like an NIT team? Still want to fire Kruger?


    I know it's still early but we played really well!

  12. Great game! Rebs showed some poise during the second half Louisville run. Pitino shook Lon's hand this time after the game. Go Rebels!

  13. Awesome game, great Venue, great fans, I had a BLAST! Thank you Runnin' Rebels, the two tickets I purchased were worth every penny! Freaking awesome game experience!

    Fireworks+ great crowd+ top teams+ top coaches+ big time programs+ great venue= Runnin' Rebel Basketball!

  14. Not bad for a top 80, NIT-bound team. However, a bit disappointing that we were out-rebounded again and shot poorly from the 3-point line. We won't keep winning if we don't start improving. Louisville isn't as good as its ranking.

  15. Where you at Sufferin Succotash? Was that a lucky win?????????

  16. top 25 here we come good win rebs...

  17. Where's Sufferin? Why isn't he here saying we still suck? Good game Rebels!!!

  18. bob= probably a BYU fan or Wolf Pack fan

  19. Bob is probably Sufferin, just too ashamed to post under his real name. We get a lot of those lamers here that don't have the moxie to come back after they are proved wrong. I would love to see the team put two halves together, but at least they recovered from the slow down offense to pull away at the end.

  20. I'm happy that we won this game.....hopefully, we don't collapse for the rest of the year like we did last year after we beat Louisville.


  21. Santee has been bashed way too much this season by the fans. I too have had my doubts. All I have to say today about Santee is GREAT JOB!

    The one thing not written is how well Oscar handles the full court pressure. The entire game he is the man you wanted with the ball in his hands.

    Great Win! Great Job Fans we too worked our butts off!

  22. Sufferin is a LOSER.

  23. Hey Bob...AKA Sufferin YOUR A LOSER

  24. Oscar is not the typical underclassman...we all know that by now..he plays like a senior..lets hope he stays consistent...he can really drive to the hole, take contact, and put the ball in the bucket.

  25. Epic game, it was a lot of fun! Crowd got into it too, I think that made a little difference. We shot very well, with a lot of energy!

  26. Please tell me that the Polee Jr. recruit was at this game like they said he would be. Adding another top 100 recruit to this team would make us a top team for years to come.

    GREAT WIN tonight. Jasper played amazing, as did Santee. Overall great hustle and leadership the whole game.

  27. What a great game for Dwayne Polee to see!

    He sounded really positive after the game when I shook his hand and he was all smiles. I heard he was saying he wants to be a Rebel. I know it's hear-say but I think everyone did a good job of welcoming him at the game.

  28. Yeah he was there, front row of the student section during the second half. He seemed to be enjoying himself even though he was next to nobody he knew. I saw him clapping along and getting into the game (but he was also doing a lot of texting).

  29. I thought the MWC was supposed to be down this year? Our Rebels beat Louisville, and Utah took care of the Illini on a neutral court, New Mexico is unbeaten and winning games by an average margin of 56.2 points (not a real stat but just made that statement look better). Let's see if Andy Katz at ESPN can take timeout from falling all over himself about Portland and the demise of UCLA to maybe say something about UNLV and/or the MWC. I won't hold my breath. Portland is actually a great story though, they have some kids that can shoot and when they actually D up they are very good.

    But enough about the Pilots, how about those Rebels, overcoming some of the most bizarrely poor officiating I have ever seen and hang on. How can you take 15 minutes to figure out if you have enough b***s to call a flagrant foul against Prince Pitino of College Basketball? Make a call already!

  30. Also, I thought Santee and Shaw had very good games, very encouraging to see those guys contribute. If we can get that kind of production from the post consistently we will be very difficult to beat. Hey coach, maybe we can let LJ teach those guys some post moves a la Olajuwan with Kobe last summer? Just a thought...

  31. There is no way in hell there was only 14,390 people there this afternoon. Between 16 and 17 thousand is more like it. The attendance figures have been screwy all season. What the heck is going on with UNLV?

  32. If we go up by 20 points against Loserville in the 2nd half
    ,then let them back into the game (with the help of the zebras) and you throw up a lil bit in your mouth, you might be a Rebneck.

  33. If you get contributions from everyone but you still feel there's a way to lose this game (in the 2nd half), you might be a Rebneck.

  34. If your team is playing the 16th ranked team in the country and you're winning by two with three minutes remaining and you sprint for the exits....you might be a Rebneck.

  35. Sufferin Succotash seems to be pretty quiet when the Rebels are doing good. If the Rebels are in the Top 25, I bet he doesnt post at all, and if he does he will sound like an idiot (more than usual)

  36. I had no idea what to expect from the Rebels before the season, but WOW is all I can say now. If we keep playing with this intensity and fire the sky is the limit. Just love hearing how deep this team is, never heard that about a Rebs team. In Lon we trust!!! Go Rebels, beat the cats.