Notebook: Rebels impress in front of key recruits

Sophomore standout Xavier Johnson, Findlay Prep guard Cory Joseph in attendance for Saturday’s blowout


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Tre’Von Willis watches his layup go in against BYU Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV upset 12th-ranked BYU 88-74.

#12 BYU vs UNLV

Led by a Tre'Von Willis career-high 33 points, UNLV upended twelfth-ranked BYU 88-74 for the Rebels' seventh straight win over the Cougars at the Thomas & Mack.

UNLV-BYU Basketball

UNLV guard Tre'Von Willis watches his layup go in against BYU Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV upset 12th-ranked BYU 88-74. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

BYU POSTGAME: A hot, hot first half ... and more

Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer break down UNLV's 88-74 whipping of No. 12 BYU on Saturday afternoon at the Mack to pull even with the Cougars atop the Mountain West Conference standings. The guys give you the key points from the Rebels' 19th win of the season, plus handicap the race for the league's regular season title moving forward.

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The timing of UNLV's emphatic 88-74 whipping of No. 12 BYU on Saturday afternoon was key in terms of impressing a couple of spectators in particular.

Taking part in an unofficial visit to UNLV this weekend is Xavier Johnson, a 6-foot-6, 190-pound sophomore wing out of Chaparral High in Temecula, Calif.

Johnson is regarded widely as one of the top targets in the 2012 class.

This season, in leading Chap to a 22-1 record to this point, he's averaging 17.7 points, 11 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game.

Also in attendance was a good portion of the Findlay Prep team, including star senior guard Cory Joseph.

Joseph, who is ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 7 prospect in the 2010 class, will more than likely wait until after the conclusion of the Pilots' season to make a decision regarding his collegiate destination.

The five schools Joseph will choose from are — in no particular order — UNLV, Minnesota, Villanova, Connecticut and Texas.

Joseph finished all five of his allotted official visits, including a visit to UNLV in mid-December.

Inside the numbers

Some key numbers from within Saturday's box score ...

• For the second consecutive game, all 10 healthy players in Lon Kruger's rotation scored at least two points.

• Matt Shaw has been a model of efficiency in his last two games off the bench for the Rebels. He scored 13 points on Saturday on 4-of-7 shooting, including a 3-of-4 performance from long range. He also had five rebounds and three assists. In two victories this week, he's produced 29 points in 35 minutes on combined 11-of-16 shooting.

• Kendall Wallace finished with nine points and three assists in his second consecutive start in place of the injured Derrick Jasper. However, he was key early in the second half. After BYU switched to a 2-3 zone on defense, he broke it by driving to the bucket and drawing a foul. He then hit two free throws for his first points of the game. After that came his lone 3-pointer of the contest and then a nice assist inside to Tre'Von Willis for a layup.

• UNLV won the rebounding battle in terms of numbers for the sixth straight game, 38-37. Each of the 10 players who saw the floor for UNLV grabbed at least one board, and the effort was led by a career-high 14 caroms by Chace Stanback.

• BYU, on the day, was just 24-of-63 from the floor and 7-of-27 from long range.

• UNLV had 24 assists on 32 made field goals and only nine turnovers. BYU had 12 assists and 11 giveaways.

What's on tap?

The road doesn't get any easier for UNLV, as the week ahead will more than likely be the Rebels' toughest remaining stretch in the regular season.

On Wednesday, the Rebels face No. 15 New Mexico, which outlasted San Diego State on Saturday in Albuquerque, 88-86.

The win helped New Mexico keep pace with UNLV and BYU by improving the Lobos to 7-2 in Mountain West play.

The game nearly seeped through the cracks as SDSU guard D.J. Gay was fouled shooting a three with 6.7 seconds left in regulation and the Aztecs trailing by just two.

He only hit two of the three, and behind junior Darington Hobson, Steve Alford's club pulled away late in overtime.

Hobson, who played his freshman year of high school ball in Las Vegas at Western, had 29 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in the win.

He'll be out for revenge maybe more than anyone when the two teams tip at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at the Mack.

In the first meeting — a 74-62 UNLV victory at The Pit on Jan. 9 — Hobson had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. But he got winded mid-way through the second half, and after he came out, the Rebels pounced on the Lobos behind six Kendall Wallace 3-pointers.

After Wednesday's game, the Rebels will prepare to hit the road again, taking on SDSU on Saturday in San Diego.

UNLV is 8-1 this season in true road games.

The final word

Tre'Von Willis on atoning for a Jan. 6 road loss at BYU: "The series is 1-1, and we just wanted to come out with so much energy, because we felt that was the only way to stay in them and make them down a little bit. We knew we let that one slip away in Provo in the first meeting. We wanted to get after them and make them as uncomfortable as possible."

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  1. ryan, any chance of posting somewhere the post game video of the media questions to the coaches and players? i always like to see that.. the mtn does a piss poor job on UNLV..

  2. That is so great to hear. I told my buddy as we were watching the game today that I was praying that Corey was in attendance. With the way the T&M was rocking, I was really hoping that he would get to see the potential atmoshpere he could be playing in next year. Thank you, to all the 18,577 recruiting assistants today.

  3. Too bad Polee didn't make the trip too.

  4. Not trying to nit-pick Ryan..but Kendall Wallace hit 7 threes @UNM.

  5. I think Ryan is saying that Wallace had six 3's in the second half.

  6. Great coverage, Ryan. Keep it up. Thank you.

  7. Wallace sucks...he's useless.

  8. Thanks, VegasNative

    gumby/rebelsfan11 ... I did mean the second half

    Zerocals ... Video is above. Got inserted late last night. Enjoy!

  9. Polee, Joseph, and the solid Southern California pipeline of players, has me super excited for the next couple of years!!! Things are looking better and better everyday down on Maryland Pkwy!!!

    Go Rebels!!!