Blog: Rebels rout Prairie View A&M for second straight win

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L.E. Baskow

UNLV’s guard Jovan Mooring (30) battles with Prairie View A&M’s forward Keion Alexander (1) and teammate while driving to the hoop during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center

Updated Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 | 9:04 p.m.

UNLV opens 76-46 lead over Prairie View A&M

The Runnin' Rebels have played two games this season, and they've won them both in convincing fashion after dispatching Prairie View A&M by a score of 98-63-XX on Wednesday.

Junior forward Anthony Smith was UNLV's leading scorer with 17 points off the bench. Smith also contributed one of the game's highlights, as he slammed home an alley-oop pass from Jordan Johnson in the second half which extended the lead to 80-46 at the time.

Johnson finished one assist shy of his second straight double-double, as he posted 16 points and nine assists.

Prairie View was overmatched physically and managed to make just 30.9 percent of its field goal attempts. For the game, UNLV outscored Prairie View 60-24 on points in the paint.

UNLV is now 2-0 on the season, with Eastern Washington scheduled to visit the Thomas & Mack Center on Friday.

Jordan Johnson has been touted as a true point guard, and while he does have seven assists so far tonight, it's been his scoring that has made the biggest difference for UNLV. Johnson has a team-high 16 points, and the Rebels have a 76-46 lead over Prairie View A&M with 11:35 remaining.

Johnson has made 4-of-7 shots from the field and an efficient 3-of-5 from 3-point range.

For the game, UNLV is shooting 56.9 percent as a team, while Prairie View is at 32.7 percent.

After Johnson, junior Anthony Smith is the Rebels' second-leading scorer with 15 points off the bench.

Rebels race out to 55-41 halftime lead

For the second straight game, UNLV is pushing the pace and appears to be headed past the century mark, as the Rebels have taken a 55-41 halftime lead over Prairie View A&M.

UNLV didn't play a great first half—the Rebels committed seven turnovers and made just 5-of-15 from 3-point range—but the penetration of Jordan Johnson and the finishing ability of Shakur Juiston and Brandon McCoy have allowed the Rebs to build a 34-14 advantage in points in the paint.

McCoy and Johnson have each scored a team-high 11 points, while Juiston has scored 10 on 5-of-5 shooting. Anthony Smith has made an impact off the bench, adding 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

Prairie View is only shooting 40 percent from the field, but the Panthers are hanging around thanks to free-throw shooting. Prairie View has made 10-of-11 from the stripe, while UNLV has hit just 4-of-12.

UNLV building big early lead over Prairie View A&M

Through the opening minutes, it appears as though UNLV has a clear physical advantage over Prairie View A&M, and it's reflected in the score. The Rebels have a 20-9 lead with 11:08 to play in the first half, and the lead could be much bigger than that.

Prairie View missed its first nine shots from the field and didn't score until there was 14:39 left in the half, at which point UNLV was already up 11-0. UNLV has made 6-of-10 shots from the field, but four turnovers have limited the Rebels' output, otherwise this game could already be out of hand.

Freshman center Brandon McCoy leads UNLV with four points on 2-of-3 shooting, including a breakaway dunk off a feed from Jordan Johnson.

Three keys for UNLV basketball vs. Prairie View A&M

UNLV unveiled its rebuilt roster in Saturday's season-opening 108-66 win over Florida A&M, and the first impression was very promising. Can the Rebels keep the momentum going tonight, with Prairie View A&M visiting the Thomas & Mack Center? Three keys to watch:

Paint production

UNLV outscored Florida A&M 66-26 in the paint, mostly due to the frontcourt duo of Brandon McCoy and Shakur Juiston, who combined for 44 total points. Prairie View is a small team that should have huge issues matching up when the Rebels go big (which is always). Look for UNLV to work the ball inside, crash the glass and try to control the game through their big men.

Team defense

Marvin Menzies loves having two bigs who can protect the paint, and his defensive system is built around that advantage. The Rebels held Florida A&M to 33 percent shooting in the season opener, thanks in large part to the interior defense. The Rebels only forced 16 turnovers, however (while committing 14 of their own). Can UNLV defend the basket while also forcing takeaways and fueling the fast-break attack? Prairie View has committed 36 turnovers in two games, so the opportunities should be there for the Rebels.

Position battles

Before Tuesday’s practice, Menzies said there are three or four players competing for the small forward job. Junior Kris Clyburn started in that spot on Saturday, but he went scoreless in 17 minutes, so auditions are open. Amauri Hardy (eight points in the season opener), Anthony Smith (six points) and Tervell Beck (13 points) could all fit as the third perimeter option alongside locked-in starters Jordan Johnson and Jovan Mooring.

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

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