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UNLV to face UCLA in opening game at November’s Maui Invitational


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV coach Dave Rice and New Mexico coach Steve Alford talk before the start of their Mountain West Conference Tournament championship game Saturday, March 16, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

UNLV’s first game at the Maui Invitational will come against a recent Mountain West coaching foe, ESPN reported today.

The official bracket for the Thanksgiving week tournament comes out Tuesday, but the pairings have leaked early, and the Rebels’ first game is the nightcap against UCLA and former New Mexico coach Steve Alford. A Sun source confirmed the matchup.

UCLA is coming off a Sweet Sixteen run, it returns guards Isaac Hamilton and Bryce Alford and also brings in top-100 guards Prince Ali and Aaron Holiday. The Rebels and Bruins met in a closed scrimmage last season but haven’t played an actual game since 1997. UNLV is 0-4 all-time in the series.

The other half of UNLV’s side of the bracket features Kansas vs. Chaminade. The Rebels and Jayhawks are in the middle of a home-and-home series that skipped the 2015-16 season because of the chance they could meet in this tournament. UNLV lost at Allen Fieldhouse last season and will host Kansas at the Thomas & Mack Center during 2016-17.

Chaminade is a Division II program located in Honolulu that serves as the tournament host. Former Rebel Dantley Walker, the all-time points and assists leader in Nevada preps history, transferred to the Silverswords earlier this offseason and is eligible immediately.

The top half of the bracket features Indiana vs. Wake Forest and Vanderbilt vs. St. John’s. Games will be played Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 23-25 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

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

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