UNLV basketball:

Rebels showered with media attention as they prepare for UC Santa Barbara


Sam Morris

UNLV’s Mike Moser and Oscar Bellfield celebrate in the closing seconds of their game against the University of North Carolina during the Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, at the Orleans Arena. The Rebels upset the No. 1-ranked Tar Heels 90-80.

Rebels look to play UC Santa Barbara

KSNV coverage of UNLV basketball preparing to face UC Santa Barbara, Nov. 29, 2011.

UNLV scores big win against North Carolina

UNLV forward Carlos Lopez celebrates the Rebels' upset of UNC with a court full of fans at the Las Vegas Invitational championship game Saturday, Nov. 26, 2011, at the Orleans Arena. UNLV beat the No. 1-ranked Tar Heels 90-80. Launch slideshow »

UNLV basketball gets national attention

KSNV coverage of UNLV basketball team ranking 18th nationally, Nov. 28, 2011.

What a difference a week makes.

When the UNLV basketball team finished its practice Monday at the North Gym on campus, the players were reminded yet again of what they accomplished last week.

The Rebels’ upset victory against then top-ranked North Carolina has put the program back in the spotlight, including coach Dave Rice being interviewed Monday on national radio by Tim Brando and top player Mike Moser earning the ESPN.com national player of the week honors.

For most practices prior to the North Carolina win, two or three reporters would attend and request player interviews at the end of the workout. Monday, all four local television stations took in the practice, leading their newscasts with the hottest story in Las Vegas — the Rebels, the city’s favorite sports team, are again the darlings of winter. The reward of knocking off the nation’s top team came earlier Monday when they were ranked No. 18 in the weekly Associated Press poll.

How long they stay in the rankings will depend on how UNLV plays this week in its first two games outside of Southern Nevada. The Rebels have won seven consecutive games to open the season, but will face a big test Wednesday on the road at UC Santa Barbara and Sunday at Wichita State.

Following Monday’s practice, the players and Rice went from media outlet to media outlet answering questions, likely giving a similar response: “Our next focus is Santa Barbara. The North Carolina game is over with. We have to move to the next game,” said senior Chace Stanback, whose 28 points keyed the signature win against North Carolina.

“Our season isn’t based on one game. It is based on 35. We have to move on to the next one.”

Rice all year has preached to take one game at a time and to not let an outcome — whether negative or positive — linger into preparing for the next game. It’s just easier said than done when the last game is being considered one of the most significant wins in program history.

“We are still really proud of the guys with the effort they gave Saturday night,” Rice said. “A huge win for us, but it is time to move on. That has been our philosophy all year long, to make improvements from game to game. Now we have a huge challenge on Wednesday at Santa Barbara and our guys understand it is time to play.”

By no means will Santa Barbara be an easy opponent — something the Rebels learned the hard way last year.

Santa Barbara already has the attention of the Rebel players thanks to its 68-62 victory at UNLV. The Gauchos made 10-of-19 of their 3-pointers with wings James Nunnally and Orlando Johnson combining for 35 points and 22 rebounds. UNLV struggled in shooting just 29-percent from the field in settling to attack Santa Barbara’s zone defense with outside shots.

Santa Barbara (4-1) is one of the top teams in the Big West Conference, averaging 80 points per game and outscoring opponents by 18.6 points per game. Johnson and Nunnally return as the Gauchos’ top players, with Johnson leading them in scoring (21.4 points per game) and rebounding (7.2). Nunnally is scoring 19.6 points a game.

They are so respected that UNLV, fresh off its nationally televised win against North Carolina, only opened as a four-point betting favorite.

“They were on the same page last year,” Stanback said. “They work hard together and play together. And they really didn’t miss from the outside. Those two guys really got off last year, so we are going to have to contain them.”

Containing Santa Barbara, or Wichita State later in the week, isn’t as daunting of a task as it might have appeared prior to the big win.

“Beating a team like North Carolina on a neutral floor gives us great confidence,” Rice said. “It shows we can compete with the best teams in the country. We have great depth. We got contributions from guys off the bench. We have talked about team from Day One and it was a total team effort to get a victory against a quality North Carolina team.”

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21.

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  1. ahhh... the fair weather fans have awaken.

  2. Brian, fair weather, great weather, crummy weather... we'll take them all.

    The Rebels are truly a Las Vegas team.

    Whatever it takes to get the T & M filled, we should do it. Were you here in the 70's, 80's, and early 90's?

    Our city needs something to feel good about and the Runnin' Rebs are it.

    The bandwagon is big and we can use everyone on board...

    Just sayin'...

  3. Yeah if this isn't evidence of a bandwagon town, I don't know what is. You barely heard anything about Rebel football during the later part of their season.

    You know this town is starved for attention when this is the "hottest story" by simply beating a team that was ranked high in a preseason poll.

    Beating a #1 team after they've established themselves is one thing. But this early in a season the rankings are a complete guess. Go look at who UNC had defeated at that point.

    It's one thing to be a UNLV supporter, but our ****hole media in this town only latches on when things are going well (as do 90% of their fans).

    For the record, UNLV sucks. It's a glorified community college. Mark my words: In two months from now, they won't be worth mentioning.

  4. I hope Rice woke the team up Sunday morning and filed them into the film room to watch the footage from last year's UCSB game. They embarrassed us at home and knocked us out of the ranking for the rest of the season. They should be amped for this game, I know I want revenge so they better want it more.

    The last win was great, but it is time to move on to the next one! GO REBELS!

  5. Daniel? Are you a complete idiot? Oblivious to the game of basketball? Zero knowledge? UNR or BYU fan, maybe? "The rebels suck"...as he so eloquently puts it...shows your hate for the team. To label UNV and put suck in the same sentence, you're obviously an antagonist of them. UNLV questionable ranking? They dominated a mcdonalds all-american, and unanimous number one team in the nation? 28 pts and 10 rbs from Stanback, moser with 16 and 18, Marshall with 9 assists...for you to say something so ignorant like "suck? and "won't be worth mentioning" is beyond comprehension. come back in two months and show your ignorance than. Thank you for wasting my time.

  6. Hey Daniel, I marked your words when you said:

    "It's been nearly a quarter of a century since this school had a relevant basketball program. Let it go and accept the common mediocrity.

    Because it isn't going to get better.


    ...I think it got a little better.

    And if common mediocrity is upsetting the number one team in the nation, being undefeated, ranked in the top 25, shown all over ESPN all weekend, and having arguably the nation's best rebounder, bring on the suck fest!

  7. The win against UNC was monumental, but its over. UCSB has a guard name Orlando is averaging over 20 pts and 7 boards per game. He's a guard. Yes, a guard averaging that many boards a game. They scorched us last year from the perimeter. but remember that droll offense that Kruger loved. Doesn't work..and is no longer intact. We've implemented the run and gun offense and I personally think we'll smack them on the boards, and hawkings/bellfield/marshall will be in their face at the perimeter. We give them all sorts of mismatch problems. Just like I said against the Canisius game...and Cal Poly...once the fast break is ignited, game over. UNLV 85, UCSB 67.

  8. "come back in two months and show your ignorance than."

    Only if you promise to fine tune your English skills...deal?

    It isn't better Snyder. Like I said, the disappointment that will be evident come March will balance out to another letdown of a season.

    But then again, here in Vegas just being mentioned on ESPN apparently is good enough, as your comment clearly validates.

    So maybe its a successful season if they just make the tourney? LOL...only in Vegas does something like 25th place spark celebration.

  9. UNLV is a great team this year, and in the last few years. This year they get over the hump. UCSB is a lot tougher than people think so far in the season and they have the stats to show. This game is no cake walk by any means.

    Don't feed the trolls people. They want you to come back some more.

  10. It's funny that the trolls criticize the real fans and never seem to realize that they themselves are part of the problem. It's tough to refrain from addressing them when they still appear even when the team has been perfect.

    Also, it's more, Daniel, than being "mentioned" on ESPN, it's more than being "in 25th place", but negative people like you can't seem to get excited about anything. Even in happy times, all you can talk about is how it will suck again someday.

  11. Although UCSB really scares me,it sounds like Coach Rice will keep the Rebs focused. I just hope they do their best, and keep playing with so much teamwork. That's what's been so impressive, along with the increase in their confidence, which makes all the difference in the world. Go Rebs, keep having fun!

  12. Daniel. There are 342 schools in Division 1 basketball. UNLV is ranked 18th. That means they are in the top 6% of the entire country's highest level of basketball. Have you ever been in the top 6% of anything. If so, you know it's something to be proud of. If not, then perhaps that's why you're not enjoying all the excitement that the Rebels have brought to a town that is desperately in need of some good news. Even if we were in 25th place as you stated, it would still be worthy of celebrating as we'd still be in the top 10% of every Division 1 team in the country. So, please, stop being an antagonist. You're just looking for attention, which unfortunately you now have attained. You are one of those who more than likely always had your negative behavior reinforced by attention. After all, any attention is attention. And now you're choosing to continue this behavior by trolling on these blogs. Grow up. Or go see someone who can treat your condition.

  13. What's with the lack of coverage for this team?
    No TV tomorrow night? Or radio?

  14. Have you seen this years team compared to last years? This guy is in utter oblivion. It just proves that you haven't watch basketball AT ALL this year. UNC was no fluke. You will see when UNLV just KEEPS WINNING. Smh...how can Vegans have so much hate for their own team? Has to be a mormon.

  15. So Daniel is just like that brainless critic who spewed his rhetoric on these boards a few years ago. I completely for his name. Anyways, this offense, and the defense we play will always give us the upperhand over any team. I haven't seen anyone play college basketball more collectively this year than UNLV. They always FIND the open man. Compared to Ohio State...they remind me of 07/08 Tennessee who repeatedly called isolation on offense. LOL! I haven't seen UK play yet either, but expect UNC to be resilient and whip Wisconsin and beat UK.

    With that being said, UCSB will be tough....but if we can get this fast break offense going, and turn them into a turnover machine. Easy money.

  16. Don't lump Daniel with the Mormons, we like this UNLV team with Dave Rice, not to mention, you'll have a Mormon PG playing for your team in Dantley Walker.

  17. Danial has been busting too many bricks with his forehead . He went to a leaving Las Vegas party but didn't leave what a shame . I really hope you don 't teach children your attitude . Whether the Rebels win them all or lose the rest I will stay positive and find something positive to talk about . There is only a letdown in March if you can't take a loss like a man .

  18. Daniel's entire agenda is to be as negative as possible toward anything Las Vegas-related, especially anything successful. Vegas sucks, Gorman sucks, UNLV sucks; that about sums up his views. Of course, how long has he been here now? If this city is so "beneath you," feel free to leave.

    As for reality, this weekend wasn't squeaking by Wisconsin at The Mack largely because Hawkins made a great play on a horrible pass. Saturday was simply outplaying the near-unanimous #1 team in the country in an Orleans Arena that we have always struggled in.

    The trolls will point out that we've started at least 7-0 the last few seasons and always have come back down and faded, but this feels different. It's not just the UNC game, but every game with the exception of the UNR game. We've dominated these teams that we should dominate. Too often those teams were allowed to hang around in games. Sometimes they won and we often had to hang on at the end.

    There's still a lot of work to do and I think we will lose at least one or two on this road trip. I think we'll handle UCSB, but Wichita St. and Wisconsin will be tall orders. If we lose those two road games, does that shame us back to being mediocre? I don't think so, but there is still a lot of season left and time will tell.

    As far as the "fair weather" fans; I'll take them. I'd rather be surrounded by 100's of people who only come around when things are bad than be around the one D-bag who always has something negative to say and always wants to break someone or something down. It's like Randy Quaid in Major League 2: he'll keep spewing about how much we suck despite all evidence pointing to the contrary.

  19. Don't worry daniel (I think the lower case is necessary) is a moron. I can't wait to see where this team is in two months! Go Rebels!

  20. Daniel, though you aren't a native, we'll let you jump on our bandwagon whenever you're ready. While it may seem we're getting excited over something small, times are tough and it's been a while. Crack a smile once in a while, guy!

  21. Re-bels! Great win, and wonderful for our city. As a native and an alumni, it's great to see the Rebels back in form. Welcome back!

  22. For starters great win against an over ranked UNC. Thank you for beating them. Yet unlike the great football team that brings the school down, it is time that the bball team starts to play harder schools if it wants to really move up in the polls. Still though keep up the good work.

  23. What happened, Daniel? Your mother lock you in a closet? Leave you at a fire station?

  24. It's so funny that now because UNLV beat them, UNC was overrated, or "over ranked."

    It's never that UNLV was underrated. Instead, it's that the best minds in college basketball -- you know, the guys that actually get paid for voicing their opinions -- we're all wrong. This includes the odds makers who already had UNC at 2/1 odds on favorite to win the national championship. All of them we're wrong to rank UNC so high.

    Get real, UNC is legit. UNLV was just under-the-radar.

  25. gmag - it's on the radio. ESPN 1100 AM or 98.9FM

  26. Radio is great Jerry, but we want to watch it. Where the heck is Jim Livengood to explain why HIS team isn't on TV at such a crucial juncture.

    Aussie, really? Ignorance cannot be bliss for you. Do you have any idea how many Mormons bleed Rebel Red and contribute massive funds to UNLV? Explain to me how being Mormon has to do with trollish comments anyway.

  27. @gobruins--
    um, is that sarcasm? because if it is, you're a mildly funny guy. but if it isn't, whew...... a non-conference schedule of n. carolina, illinois, wisconsin, wichita st., cal and ucsb isn't strong enough for you? i mean, granted, we don't have the likes of middle tenn. st., chaminade or pepperdine lined up to give us a REAL test, but we're trying to make do with one of the toughest non-con slates in the country, as usual.

    look, i know it's hard seeing a couple guys that your learning-impaired coach couldn't find any use for making waves nationally in vegas, but come on man, don't be dumb.

  28. Apparently the game can also be watched on the big west website for a fee ($9.95 for a month subscription minimum). I had to dig pretty deep through their website, but I ended up finding it for whoever's interested. http://www.bigwest.org/thisweek/ scroll down and find the game. It will take you to a CBS sports login, and you follow from there.

  29. Thanks Wade, your info was helpful as usual.

    Wish I was going to SB this evening to watch the game but work gets in the way...lol
    I really believe that the Rebels will go undefeated on this road trip and I plan to be at the Wisconsin game, I think it will be the toughest of the bunch. UNLV GO FIGHT WIN!!

  31. Someone on the UNLV Athletics Facebook page posted that if you go to firstrowsports.com and click on "Basketball" and scroll down you can find the UNLV game being streamed tonight. It looks like it will be free, but have not used this website before so can't be sure.

    If not, the post mentioned above would work with the paid subscription.

  32. Hope we can ride the same intensity we had in the UNC game. No doubt the Gauchos are tough but I have a feeling this team will step up tonight.

    I wonder if this is the first time Augmon will be back to the Thunderdome (not sure they call it that anymore) since his days @UNLV?

    UNLV 72 UCSB 65

  33. I feel ya FastCam, but I'm not paying the Big West $10.00 for that game. I don't think these non-conference games won't be televised next year. Livengood took a huge step getting the UNLV vs. UNR games on TV this year.

  34. It does continue to amaze me how completely HORRIBLE our TV contract / coverage is. The local stations used to cover EVERY road game, especially channel 8. I would love to hear the rational on why we, the FANS, continue to be screwed out of seeing the one team that gets support . . .

  35. The rebels have 2 of the 4 factors down, i.e., shooting and offensive rebounding. If we get to the line more, we will win this game easy, and make sure to keep those pesky Gauchos off the glass. All things considered, I suggest Rebel fans hold on tight because this one won't be easy. Orlando Johnson is an NBA prospect that can score and rebound, it is imperative that we contain him with our guards. I think Rice has done a tremendous job of keeping the kids focused, and team-oriented. Rebels will outlast the Gauchos tonight, and pull away late after a mostly hard fought close game. UNLV 78, UCSB 62 is the prediction. Go Rebels

  36. Byron_g, I use that website all the time, yes you can use it to watch the games, but I'd suggest getting adblock if you have firefox, the website can get pretty flooded with popups.

  37. Wow, AWFUL quality on this bigwest feed.

  38. I'm tired from watching that game. 8-0 the hard way!

  39. Can anyone tell my why Quintrell Thomas did not play?

  40. @Justin I would guess his handle on the ball. He's improving though.