Hawkins provides spark as UNLV pulls away from CMU, 73-47

Reserve guard scores 13 points in extended minutes as UNLV closes non-con slate at 12-2


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV’s Justin Hawkins (L) and Anthony Marshall guard Central Michigan University’s Trey Zeigler during their game Thursday, December 30, 2010.

Updated Thursday, Dec. 30, 2010 | 9:03 p.m.

UNLV vs. Central Michigan

UNLV's Justin Hawkins (L) and Anthony Marshall guard Central Michigan University's Trey Zeigler during their game Thursday, December 30, 2010. Launch slideshow »

UNLV vs. Central Michigan

KSNV coverage of UNLV vs. Central Michigan basketball, Dec. 30, 2010.

Final, UNLV wins 73-47

It was far from pretty or efficient, but UNLV put together a nice enough stretch in the second half to beat Central Michigan on Thursday night by the margin everyone expected.

Providing the spark, though, was an unlikely source.

Reserve guard Justin Hawkins scored 13 points, had four assists and three steals in an inspired effort, playing extended minutes and helping spark UNLV to a 73-47 win to close out the non-conference schedule.

The 12-2 Rebels host BYU to open up Mountain West play next Wednesday back at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Tre'Von Willis added 15, while Oscar Bellfield had 11 for UNLV, who led by as few as four towards the end of a sluggish first half.

Hawkins was key on both ends after the break, though, and the highlight of his night was a nice and-one bucket to extend UNLV's lead to an unreachable margin for the 3-10 Chippewas.

For CMU, star freshman guard Trey Zeigler had 16 points, but the Chips had just six assists compared to 25 turnovers.

UNLV 24-of-51 from the floor, but didn't have much flow on that end, and will again have plenty to work on during a week off.

For full postgame coverage, stay tuned to

Halftime, UNLV leads 33-20

UNLV lagged big-time during the second half of the opening stanza, allowing a sloppy Central Michigan club to get back to within four points at 21-17.

It looks a little better for the Rebels at the break after Tre'Von Willis scored six points in the final 90 seconds to extend the lead a bit, but the team's offensive funk apparently carried over from the holiday break.

UNLV is just 12-of-30 from the floor after a 4-of-6 start. Chace Stanback is just 1-of-4 and visibly frustrated, but Willis has carried the load with 11 points. Derrick Jasper started hot and had a strong nine minutes in the first half, posting seven points and four boards.

Central Michigan is within range, but coach Ernie Zeigler can't be happy, as his team committed an eye-popping 17 turnovers in the first half. His point guard Amir Rashid was responsible for four of them.

CMU is just 6-of-19 from the floor, and several offensive possessions have dragged out only to end in poor shots or giveaways.

The Rebels need to get something out of this second half, and that's a confidence boost. The shooting needs to pick up, and UNLV is in no position to take these final 20 minutes lightly.

7:19, First Half, UNLV leads 17-6

While UNLV's been efficient on the offensive end, it hasn't been overly productive.

It doesn't really matter at this point, though, as Central Michigan is floundering about and looking puzzled on offense, which feeds right into the Rebels' pressure defensive attack.

The Rebels at the under-eight-minute timeout have forced 12 turnovers, and Central Michigan has no assists on 2-of-9 shooting.

UNLV is 8-of-19, but the effort to get Chace Stanback back on track tonight hasn't gone so well so far. He's scoreless in 10 minutes of play and has only attempted one shot.

Derrick Jasper is still the Rebels' rock tonight, with a game-high seven points and four rebounds.

On the other side, you almost feel for CMU star freshman Trey Zeigler. He's showing flashes as to just why he was so highly-regarded coming out of high school, but the lack of quality around him has him somewhat trapped. He's scoreless with two turnovers to this point, and UNLV is pretty much cruising.

14:48, First Half, UNLV leads 9-2

Apologies for the late start to tonight's blog. Got held up presume, but lets get it started right here.

(Sidenote: presume prediction was UNLV 77, Central Michigan 49, Pick to Click was Tre'Von Willis)

Central Michigan has been very sloppy all year, and so far is living up to that billing. On offense, the Chippewas have drained lots of clock, but looked pretty scattered, as coach's son Trey Zeigler is handling the ball plenty, but not much is getting done. His father, Ernie, yells quite a bit and sounds the part of a frustrated coach of a 3-9 team.

The Chips are 1-of-5 from the floor with no assists and four turnovers.

On the other end, UNLV is showing nice patience so far without he ball, and its resulted in a quick 9-2 lead. Though it took the Rebels three minutes to score the game's first points, they're 4-of-6 from the field to this point.

Tre'Von Willis started things off with a nice spin move and bank shot from close range, and from there, everything's clicked. Derrick Jasper then added a three from atop the key, then threw down a lob from Willis for his second bucket. Jasper has three defensive boards so far to go with his five points.

As for substitutions, Lon Kruger's trying to get a lot of guys involved early. At the first media break, he inserted Justin Hawkins, Anthony Marshall and Quintrell Thomas, leaving Willis and Chace Stanback on the floor.

The atmosphere tonight as actually better than expected, with a pretty good student turnout and the lower bowl almost completely filled.

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