UNLV basketball:

Rebels satisfied with lopsided victory against La Verne

Anthony Bennett posted new career highs in points and rebounds and Daquan Cook had some bright spots in his collegiate debut


Steve Marcus

UNLV’s Daquan Cook is fouled by Alex Wolpe during UNLV’s game against the La Verne Leopards at the Orleans Arena Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012.

UNLV vs. La Verne

UNLV Rebel Daquan Cook guards Jake Vieth during their game against the La Verne Leopards at the Orleans Arena Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. Launch slideshow »

UNLV men's basketball dispatches La Verne easily

KSNV reports that UNLV men's basketball team defeated La Verne 91-44 during finals week, Dec. 13.

The stats looked good, Anthony Bennett looked great and with another road game right on the horizon, No. 20 UNLV (8-1) will happily take this somewhat sloppy 91-44 victory and move on to the next one.

The final margin was predictably lopsided. La Verne (1-5), a Division III school from the Los Angeles area, has a roster full of players who would struggle to find minutes at the majority of Mountain West schools. The Rebels shot 65.5 percent from the field in the second half, the result mostly of UNLV wearing down the Leopards and creating a lot of turnovers that turned into easy baskets.

“Those buckets on the road and in league games, we’re going to need all of those,” said freshman Savon Goodman, who tallied 13 points and nine rebounds.

Bennett waltzed to new career highs in points (27) and rebounds (14) while registering more than a couple of dunks and shooting 7-of-9 at the free-throw line. He was the guy who put together the most complete game and could have easily registered even more had he played more than 24 minutes.

“It’s not a surprise anymore,” freshman Katin Reinhardt said of Bennett, who also had three blocks.

UNLV had plenty of cold stretches, though the only one that causes much concern is the team’s constant nemesis: the first minutes of the second half. In the first four minutes after going into the break with a 17-point lead, the Rebels committed three turnovers and got outscored by one.

The rest of the second half easily wiped that stretch away, but the fact that it’s something the Rebels constantly emphasize yet still struggle with is a concern.

“You can’t look away from it,” Goodman said. “You’re only going further in the season, playing better teams and trying to make the tournament. That’s a thing we have to correct.”

Reinhardt hit his first two 3-pointers and finished with 14 points. Goodman’s roommate, freshman Daquan Cook, made some good plays in his collegiate debut, finishing with four points, three assists, one steal and three fouls in 17 minutes.

Cook first checked in for starting point guard Anthony Marshall about nine minutes into the game and Cook assisted a Quintrell Thomas dunk on his first possession. After that it was a mixed bag filled with equal parts good-looking drives to the basket and silly hand-check fouls on defense. Nobody expected perfection from the undersized guard from Baltimore this quick, so overall there was enough reason to be optimistic about Cook’s immediate future.

“He’ll be a guy that we will utilize the rest of the year,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said.

Bennett and Goodman combined to equal La Verne’s rebounding total (23), pacing UNLV to a 49-23 advantage in that category. As expected, the Leopards simply couldn’t handle the Rebels inside or out, where UNLV hit 7-of-15 3-point attempts. Those long shots were made easier by the Rebels’ dominance inside, which forced La Verne to collapse.

“(Bennett) can find the open man too,” Reinhardt said. “He knows when to score and when to pass the ball.”

Subtract some individual plays that left Leopard shooters wide open, the Rebels played pretty good defense. La Verne, playing from behind the entire game, hit just 4-of-20 3-point attempts and overall shot 31.4 percent from the field. UNLV is always talking about consistency, and for the most part the defense delivered.

Overall this game served its purpose. Some of the Rebels finished their first semester in the hours leading up to the game, and forced into the Orleans Arena by the National Finals Rodeo at the Thomas & Mack Center, the team made due in front of 5,069 fans.

This was a get in, stay healthy and get out type of situation. With Cook now in the fold, the Rebels add yet another piece in Monday’s game with sophomore forward Khem Birch becoming eligible.

There are bigger questions to answer and better opponents than La Verne lurking in the days and weeks ahead. On Thursday the Rebels looked really good at times, put together a few highlights and no one got seriously hurt. In the end that’s all they could ask for.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. Reinhardt and Dejean-Jones still making bad decisions when driving the lane and playing selfishly. In fact, I haven't seen Dejean-Jones look good anytime he dribbles more than once.

    Cook showed flashes of excellent play.

  2. Anthony Bennett is simply a beast. He is by far Freshman of the year. Is there a better player in the country playing to the level of Anthony Bennett? I don't think so. Mr. Bennett just might be the player of the year.

  3. Well I think that we saw what D. Cook is capable of and given the right time he will blow past Marshall quickly, and I hope Rice doesnt screw it up?

  4. @mitmo52 - I think you make a good point, but Marshall is still a better player than Cook right now. Marshall is at his best when he's attacking the basket, something he can't do so much when playing the point.

    I think Cook will bring a much different look than Marshall, and other teams will have to prepare for it. I'm ready to see how he can manage the offense when the Rebels get complacent against the zone and jack up threes.

  5. Obviously you can not take to much from this game either positive or negative given the level of competition. I still think this team has to play alot smarter and even though our defensive numbers overall look good, I think we have a long way to go. Still can not figure out why Marshall does not pressure the ball and why our bigs do such a lousy job of showing on screens. Time after time guards get screened and the offensive player drives right into the lane without any opposition from our bigs until they get to the basket. The only guy that is really getting into the grill of his man is BDR. Love his energy on defense. Nice to be 8-1 but some good tough tests ahead. We will see how the Rebs react. DC is definitely going to be an asset this year.

  6. Boy, strange to see some negativity after a 47 point victory. I guess since they didn't win 120-35 a couple of you have to nitpick on the imperfections.

    RunThisTown, did you see the Cal game where Jones had 22 points and pretty much won the game for the Rebels? And I think he led the team with 6 assists last night - what part of that is selfish? There's no question that he and Katin are trying to play unselfishly, so I'm not sure what game you were watching. Yes, they both had a couple of out of control plays, but it was pretty limited. Even Anthony Bennett threw an outlet pass too far and it went out of bounds - you want to pick on him for that? As long as the Rebels limit their sloppy turnovers and play smart, that's all we can ask for. I don't think they shot one bad 3-pointer last night. All were in the flow of the offense.

    Mitmo, you're crazy if you think that Daquan Cook is going to blow past Anthony Marshall. There's not a chance that will happen. Cook will be a decent backup this year and allow Anthony to catch his breath, but Anthony is going to get the bulk of the minutes and rightfully so. He's a better player than Cook right now. Cook just turned 18 years old and hasn't played a strong opponent yet. I'm not even sure why people are down on Anthony Marshall. Is he a true point guard? No, but neither was Curtis Terry. I think Anthony has adjusted pretty well to his new role and will continue to improve at it.

    Gumby, I agree with what you said but I hope that Khem Birch will be the answer to the problem of teams consistently getting to the rim against the Rebels. He's a shot blocker and has a long wingspan, so hopefully he will be the help defender that the Rebels have been missing. The Rebels actually did a good job against the dribble against Cal. There were a few games before the Cal game, particularly against Hawaii, where it was layup after layup against us. But it appears to me the Rebels have improved in that area the last couple of games, and it should only get better on the defensive end with Birch in there. Let's at least give him a few games to get his feet wet though. I don't care if he scores a point. As long as he is a shot blocking presence and rebounds, he will provide exactly what the Rebels have been missing.

  7. Daequan looked very smooth. He will bring a real presence at the point and it'll be great to watch him develop. Meanwhile, there's Dantley Walker in the wings next year, a prolific scorer from outside the arc. Both of them are undersized, but quick as they come and very talented. This team should outperform for the next few years, IMHO.

  8. @mickeyday Has anyone heard anything or seen Dantley Walker since he left on his mission? You're talking about a 5'10 160lb guard who played in 2A high school ball, and hasn't played any high level team ball in 2 years, coming in and making an immediate impact? Sure he was great in high school, but really, with Reinhardt, Jones, Cook, and Kendrick, I wouldn't be surprised if they red shirt him.