UNLV basketball:

Rebels sneak out with overtime victory despite ‘embarrassing’ performance

Carlos Lopez-Sosa made a layup in the final seconds of overtime to push No. 18 UNLV over the top in an 81-80 victory against Dixie State


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Carlos Lopez-Sosa drops in the game winning shot agasint Dixie State during their exhibition game Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack. UNLV won in overtime 81-80.

UNLV VS. Dixie State

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall forces a held ball situation with Dixie State guard Kimball Payne during their exhibition game Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack. UNLV won in overtime 81-80. Launch slideshow »

Senior guard Anthony Marshall spent the final minute of UNLV’s postgame press conference Wednesday breaking down the game-winning play of an 81-80 overtime exhibition victory against Dixie State. That alone tells you what you need to know about the 18th-ranked Rebels' near disaster of a debut at the Thomas & Mack Center.

“At some points it was embarrassing how poorly we played,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said.

After falling behind by seven in overtime UNLV scored the game’s final eight points. On the final drive, Marshall took the ball from freshman Katin Reinhardt and started his drive at the top of the key with about 10 seconds left and both teams out of timeouts. Reinhardt had hit a big 3-pointer near the end of regulation and again in overtime so his man didn’t want to leave him alone in the corner.

“They really didn’t want to help off and give a 3 so the lane kind of opened up for me,” Marshall said. “When I got close to the rim they all sunk in and I saw Carlos (Lopez-Sosa) and he made a spectacular play for a reverse and made it.”

Lopez-Sosa’s man abandoned him to stop Marshall’s drive, leaving the former wide open on the left side of the basket. Lopez-Sosa went to the other side and laid in the game-winner with 5.6 seconds left for his only points of the game. Dixie State’s final attempt ended with a harmless off-balance shot and what was left from the crowd of 12,814 erupted like this game was something bigger than a nail-biting overtime victory for a team that’s not supposed to have this kind of game.

“There’s no doubt, starting with me, we didn’t give it everything we have tonight,” Rice said. “And that’s not fair to the fans who come here, that’s not fair to our program.”

Reinhardt poured in a game-high 20 points, followed by Marshall with 16. Freshman Anthony Bennett had nine points and eight rebounds.

The Red Storm led by as much as five down the stretch in regulation and it was Reinhardt’s 3 with 1:08 left that put UNLV back in front by one. The Rebels led by two when a foul on Lopez-Sosa with just one second left gave Dixie State two free throws to tie the game and they went to overtime after Marshall’s 70 feet heave rimmed out at the buzzer.

The first half was the coronation it was supposed to be for UNLV. Junior Mike Moser had 13 points in 14 minutes and senior Quintrell Thomas scored 10 as the Rebels built a 17-point halftime lead. Though he didn’t score Bryce Dejean-Jones looked good in his first action in a year and a half and the first since breaking his left, nonshooting hand a month ago. Freshman Savon Goodman started the game and was equally impressive.

The rest of the game was supposed to be more of the same — swarming defense that generated breakaway points — and a chance to get a guy like freshman forward Demetris Morant onto the court for what would likely have been his only minutes of the season. Morant is going to meet with Rice on Thursday to discuss possibly redshirting and both sides have said in the last week they thought it was a good idea.

Instead, Morant never got off the bench as the Red Storm cut their deficit to six less than two and a half minutes into the second half and never went away despite falling behind by 13 a few minutes later.

Dixie State’s McKay Massey (25 points) and Dalton Groskruetz (19 points) both would have new career highs had this game counted for records. They were a combined 16-of-26 from the field, including 9-for-13 behind the three-point line.

Conversely that was a disaster zone for UNLV. The Rebels finished 6-of-32 behind the three-point line. That and sluggish second halves were two of the team’s biggest problems down the stretch last season, and clearly the new pieces haven’t immediately solved those problems.

“We shot a lot of contested 3s and then we started missing some open 3s and that really translated to our defense,” Marshall said. “I think we got our heads down on the offensive end, slumped our shoulders and then went down on the defensive end and really didn’t give the same effort.”

Thomas, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, said it was good to get a game like this out of the way while it doesn’t count. Rice doesn’t get particularly fired up or emotional in any interview settings, but the speed of his intro to the postgame press conference and occasional flairs while dissecting what just occurred ensured that Thursday’s practice will not be a pleasant one for the Rebels.

“You can imagine we had a few things to talk about in the locker room,” Rice said, “and we are far from done.”

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

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  1. Wow, the team looked pretty much the same this game as last season. First, way too many 3 pointers. Second, Rice completely abandoned his rotation in the second half and played the same guys over and over. I know that the team has free reign to shoot, but what happened to working outside in? It was just four guys standing on the outside jacking jump shots. As to the rotation, no DeJean-Jones in the send half, no Goodman, and no Moser. I thought that Rice would try to work more guys in, but he just likes to play six guys in the second half. Hope that Coach Rice just didn't want to show too much and was holding back. Otherwise, we are in for a disappointing season.

  2. Uhhhhhhhh, that's because the coach is trying different rotations...had he kept his top players in it would have been different...that said these are great scenarios to expose them to...now....that needs to be over and get to stomping the lesser competition!

  3. Were you at the game? He had his starters in most of the second half. Moser fouled out, but he should have put Savon in at the end...at least he drives to the basket. Also, Bennett looked frustrated that the Rebs were jacking 3s (he was doing it too) instead of feeding the post. The half court offense wasn't good.

    I understand trying to slowly work in DeJean-Jones to knock the rust off after the injury, and that the team will need some time to jell, but it was disappointing that the Rebs didn't finish off Dixie. Additionally, the second half flops were a painful reminder of last season. Habits die hard...that's on Coach Rice.

  4. OMG... Mr. Rice didn't learn a thing from last years second half of the season demise. Looked like the same Rebels who did not play smart basketball or play with a sense of urgency. It is definitely time to get back to learning the basics of basketball. Call it first game jitters, ok it's only an exhibition game, and ok that the team was not completely intact, there are plenty of excuses, but something was missing from a nationally 18th ranked team. How embarrassing against a Division II team. I applaud Dixie State for their strong effort. The fact that Mr. Rice did not play Demetris Morant sends a message to Demetris (I want you to redshirt). Mr. Rice does not seem to know how to instill the concepts of basic, smart basketball. I was not impressed, overrated.

  5. I was working, so I was unable to watch the game. Based on the comments from Rebel_Mike, it doesn't appear that Rice learned anything from last year. That's what we get when we hire coaches with no prior head coaching experience. We'll have to put up with their learning curve. It's only one game....I'm hoping Rice can pull it together and not revert to last year's 3 point jacking, 2nd half collapsing, lack of motivating (when it counts) season....I agree, it's all on Coach.

  6. It is very difficult not to be very frustrated with that game. Just like Hoosierboy detailed, you do have to take those factors into consideration but man do we have a long way to go. Being outscored 43-26 in the second half to a DII team on your home floor? Exactly the same problems we ran into down the stretch last year. Second half collapse due to jacking up threes for a low percentage, very poor defense letting a couple players have career scoring nights, and an overall lack of intensity. We will see what they do against NAU.

  7. OMG. That was a carzy game. We did not play well at all, we have still have not learned not to settle for jumpers. Still, good job Katin for coming up in the clutch. This could have been the Appalachian State-Michigan football game of basketball, but Katin said no.

  8. I'm just glad the Rebels won. However, you can't read much into these exhibition games. The point of the game is to get the players warmed up for the season.

  9. The football team showed up.

  10. Haha wolfdog that is giving the football team way to much credit...

    Don't let this be a new thing for the basketball team as well, my god an overtime to beat a team that NO one has even heard of... These preseason games are suppose to be blow outs, not let's see how far in the polls we can drop before the first game.

  11. Got to get better every day. We have a young team with new pieces, but you'd hope that with the Canada trip we'd have a little more chemistry and feel for each other already. Moser needs to stop working on his NBA game and start playing like he wants to win the Conference this year. We're ranked and everyone will be gunning for us. Those kids from Dixie weren't wide eyed 18 year olds, they were 23-25 year olds with something to prove. Can't underestimate anyone when you're ranked.

  12. Did Bobby Hauck talk to the team before the game?

  13. Wow, you guys are going to throw coach Rice and company under the bus after winning an exhibition game? Following the best recruiting class in UNLV history? I've gotten used to over-reactions on these comments, but wow.

    How did UNLV look? They looked like a team starting 3 freshmen in their first college game. They came out flat in the second half after being up by 17 and didn't defend the perimeter well. They looked confused and disjointed in the half-court offense, they looked nervous shooting the ball, and Anthony Marshall was pressing. That said, Dixie State really wanted to win that game and they had a couple players who had really nice games. The Rebels still won.

  14. Yes UNLV-123, we all understand the principle of "a win is a win". The thing is that it was an OVERTIME win against a sub par division 18 college team! It was not like the team was a great team... UNLV looked horrible.

  15. Yes GoBruins, we all know you're a troll. It's okay to feign outrage over a bad exhibition game against a D2 team. I'll be the one to pat you on the head and tell you you're doing a good job, just don't believe for a second anyone actually takes you seriously. :)

    Until they lose a regular season game, chill.

  16. I was at the game and moser and Bennett are the problem. Just like last year moser thinks he's a shooter and he chucks up 3's. He needs to work the mid range and the paint, same with Bennett . He has the same issues. Plus goodman really struggled unlike this article suggests. He looked out of place. I'm not saying the sky is falling but it's getting cloudy.

  17. @ UNLV-123, are you Hey Reb the UNLV mascot, if your are I have to admire your undying fan support. The mascot outfit may have obscured your vision as to what really happened at the game last night. UNLV pretty much stunk. All the hype they have received was in no way displayed last night. Mr. Rice, is clueless and is unable to get these guys going. Sure it was an exhibition game, but let's say UNLV would have lost, I wonder what your thoughts might be. Chill ???

  18. The team should seriously be alarmed - it probably would've been better if they had just lost - at least then they would seriously have to look in the mirror and quit checking all the espn college hoops pages to see if another article was written about them ... the high volume of 3s have been a problem since Kruger had back to back tourney champs - Rebels (I know you read these comments) ... the entire town is BEGGING you ... PLEASE GO TO THE HOLE!!! Moser is 6'8 and thinks he's freaking Larry Bird - KNOW YOUR ROLE! GET IN THE PAINT!!! - all the preseason reports were ... Bennet can really shoot the 3 - oh really? - you are 6'8 and can jump higher than most teams you'll play - trust me Bennet's shooting percentage will go up the closer he is to the basket

    After 3 years JHawk still can't shoot - we should just call him Hawk; This team is a mediocre jump shooting team AT BEST and has been for many years - I'm not saying they're bad its just not one of their strengths ... so Rice, team, big men, guards who lack a jumper, SOMEBODY needs to figure it out - I'm not saying I have the answer but in trying to use common sense this free-shooting-everyone-has-the-greenlight style of basketball may not always play to this teams strengths

  19. @HoosierBoy, No, unfortunately I'm not the Rebels mascot. I am a fan with patience and perspective. First of all, I never said the Rebels looked good or played well, in fact I said the opposite in my first post.

    A few negative things you can take away from this game:
    1. The players were nervous and the freshmen appeared to not be used to playing together on offense. (big surprise)
    2. They shot way too many 3 pointers, and an abysmal percentage. 6-32 (19%)
    3. Bryce Jones is not at 100%.

    A few positive things you can take away from this game:
    1. Katin Reinhardt got to step up and be the hero, just adding to his confidence.
    2. They will hopefully be humbled a bit, learning quickly that any team on any night can be dangerous if you don't put them away. (something previous teams never learned, under Kruger or Rice)
    3. They were able to come back and win the game giving them a bittersweet end to an otherwise embarrassing performance.

    Just for a bit of perspective.. Syracuse lost an exhibition game in the 2009-10 to division 2 team Le Moyne. They ended the season 30-5 with a loss in the sweet 16.


  20. When did Lopez get a second last name?

  21. I agree with UNLV-123 here. We need to be realistic and not demand Rice's firing. Did we play well? Absolutely not, but it's only an exhibition game. Which would you rather have, a team does peaks in November or March? So, in a sense, it might be good that we are not playing well. Either way, we won a crazy game. We were able to fight back twice when behind late in regulation and overtime. But still, we did not play well at all for most of the game.

  22. Dixie State played their hearts out. Especially 20. Watching this one I was a bit perplexed at Moser's play. Everytime he got the ball you knew a shot was going up, so did Dixie and they basically stopped guarding everyone else and double and at times triple teamed Mike and STILL he forced up shots. (I know you're auditioning for the NBA but at least try to look like a team player just for appearances sake) Great job at the end by Marshall and Reinhardt, very clutch. Let's remember, Bennett is just a freshman, I'm sure the butterflies were going first game at the Mack.
    I'm glad Dixie gave us a scare. Dixie is an experienced team that has played together for awhile, and that showed against a UNLV team with many important new parts. The early season was bound to be ugly, no surprise really at this one. Like a previous poter said, the idea is to peak in March. Not hitting the panic button yet

  23. Dixie state is not a sub-par team by any stretch. They won their conference last year and from what I saw have a few players who could play D1 at the mid-major level.

    As far as what happened in the game it comes down to coaching. When you take out effort and talent what you have left is coaching. The Dixie team was a better coached team last night. They made adjustments to what the Rebels were doing, but its more than just that. I'm all for the lets run mantra, but the reality is that won't always work. Teams will adjust to take that away and when that happens you are left with half court basketball and the Rebels simply cannot play half court basketball. They have limited sets to run and their zone offense left a lot to be desired and wasn't effective. If I can coach a middle school team to run multiple zone offenses and many different man offensive sets with quick hitters a college team should be able to do 5 times as much without breaking a sweat. How many times did the ball go into the high post against the zone?? Its simple fundamentals of basketball and I just didn't see it at all last night. I'd like to believe that regardless of what the players came here to do (run, run and run some more) that they can be taught to run plays and be patient with the ball. Put some stuff in so when the running stops you can still compete without having to have an out of this world shooting night.

    I agree that Savon looked out of place. He is an undersized 4 playing the 3 who can't shoot. Moser needs to either play team basketball or sit. Maybe it would have been better if he left if this is the sort of thing that can be expected of him. I can't imagine that Birch will deal with the lack of touches in the paint when he becomes eligible either. Maybe Cook should start at the 1. He may not be the best player out there, but at least he is a pass first point guard who won't jack up bad shots like Marshall continues to do. Run some high pick and roll plays with him and Bennett or Lopes-Sosa or Birch. It would look more like an offense than what they ran last night.

  24. LMAO - yeah....what's up with Lopez and his new 2nd name...? Lame. If that was your real name, why wait until your college years to add it?

  25. I 'd have to agree with Bball coach with a lot of what he said. While I don't agree with benching Moser and Marshall, I have to say the Rebels can no longer afford to live and mostly die by the 3. After teams make their halftime adjustments, they are usually successful in taking the "run" out of the Rebels. We have to find better ways to utilize our post players offensively. All too often, the Rebels swing the ball around the perimeter until they jack up a 3. If it weren't for the fact that this has been problematic for this team the past 3 or 4 years I wouldn't have much of an issue with last nights performance. Fact is, they shot 32 3's against a smaller Dixie State line up. Of all games, that was a chance to see what we've added over the past year...a post presence. I can understand being the first action for 4 freshmen, and it will take time for the team to mesh, but the offense needs to work inside out.

  26. Hey Go Bruins, how's that Shabazz Muhammad signing looking for you now? Good thing you guys signed the #1 recruit in the nation all so that he can look on from the stands this season due to the fact that the NCAA ruled him ineligible.