Published Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 | 7 p.m.
Updated Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 | 10:23 p.m.
UNLV 80, No. 15 Oregon 69
Ike Nwamu buried the dagger with less than 1:30 to play, putting UNLV ahead 11 with another long three on its way to a 80-69 victory against No. 15 Oregon. It's UNLV's second victory against top-15 team in the last week and a half.
Nwamu was blistering hot at the start then disappeared with the majority of UNLV's offense for a long stretch in the second half. The 20-point lead shrunk down to five, but then UNLV came up with its counter and they raced back to a 6-10 point lead for much of the remaining game.
Stephen Zimmerman Jr. had another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds, Jerome Seagears scored 16 and against his former team, junior Ben Carter had 10 points and six rebounds.
The Rebels hit the road this week at Wichita State, and one of the teams will probably be ranked. It's not the one that was ranked int he preseason.
Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from the Rebels' victory.
Was this a successful debut season for UNLV football coach Tony Sanchez? Is this going to be a successful stretch, starting with Friday's game against the Oregon Ducks, for UNLV basketball coach Dave Rice? Las Vegas Sun sports editor Ray Brewer and sports writers Case Keefer and Taylor Bern get into that and much more on this week's episode.
During the offseason, UNLV coach Dave Rice went around to a few fan events and talked about the upcoming season. Even with another solid recruiting class and an impressive nonconference slate, the biggest cheer might have been when Rice informed the crowds that this year’s game at the MGM Grand Garden Arena would be included in the Rebels’ season-ticket package.
“That was one of the times I actually got a standing ovation,” Rice said this week.
This game was indeed included for season-ticket holders, and combined with free tickets and deeply discounted tickets for UNLV students this should feel like a home game for the Rebels. UNLV (6-1) tips off against No. 15 Oregon (6-0) at 8:15 p.m. tonight on ESPN2.
Last year’s game at the MGM Grand — the Rebels’ first-ever on the Strip — was an extra expenditure that many UNLV fans didn’t deem worthy. Utah fans, who were in town for a basketball-football double dip weekend with the Utes also in the Las Vegas Bowl, happily scooped those tickets up.
Oregon isn’t going to have nearly the support on hand that Utah did, and there’s no good reason for UNLV or local basketball fans not to make their way to the arena for what could be a very entertaining game.
Freshman Tyler Dorsey and sophomore Dillon Brooks, a Findlay Prep product, lead the Ducks, but they also have a few seniors in the rotation and it’s not a deep bench with five players averaging at least 27.5 minutes per game. For comparison, UNLV has only two players above that level while it has nine players registering at least 15 minutes per game while Oregon has only six.
The Ducks will get deeper this season when forward Jordan Bell and guard Dylan Ennis make their returns as both players have been out following foot injuries. Rice said Wednesday that the Rebels would prepare for Bell to make his debut, but Oregon coach Dana Altman said the same day that Bell still wasn’t ready despite warming up before Monday’s victory against Fresno State.
So if Oregon has the same personnel available that they have up to this point this season, UNLV’s every-game plan to out-run and tire out its opponent takes on even more importance. It can be ugly for stretches of the first 30 minutes as long as the Rebels stay committed to their pace and letting depth carry them to the end.
Prediction: The Rebels are 2- or 2 ½-point underdogs depending on your book of choice, and in a de facto home game that feels like a coin toss I’ll take the points. UNLV 80, Oregon 78