Rebels finally mop up Pacific

Stockton, Calif.—Jarvia Basnight is usually the easygoing, happy-go-lucky type. UNLV assistant coach Ralph Readout likes to call the junior center “the loosest goose in the pen.”

Pacific found out Monday what happens when Basnight has his feather ruffled.

Basnight, who did a nifty impression of The Invisible Man for 31 minutes, erupted during a four-minute stretch late in UNLV’s game at Pacific, helping the Rebels pull out an uninspired 73-59 Pacific Coast Athletic Association win.

The victory, in front of a standing-room only crowd of 6,000 at the Alex G. Spanos Center, gave the Rebels a 24-1 overall record and 12-0 PCAA mark. Pacific fell to 9-12 and 5-7.

With 9:16 to play and the Rebels leading 50-48, Basnight swooped to the hoop for a slam dunk. Pacific forward Willie Tatum had other ideas. He blocked Basnight’s attempt, but picked up a foul as both players crashed to the floor. Basnight had a few words for Tatum as the players untangled.

“We collided, and he just kept forcing his toward me,” Basnight said. “I just wanted to get him off me. He kept coming, and I had to push him down to get up. My emotions just got the best of me.”

Then Basnight got the best of the Tigers.

Basnight, who had just two points before the collision, hit two free throws, the proceeded to score 11 points in a 15-6 run that stretched the Rebels’ lead from two points to 11, 65-54 at the 4:38 mark.

“I really don’t like to get into things like that,” Basnight said. “But I guess it helped. It must have helped a lot.”

Pacific trailed by nine early in the game but rallied to cut the margin to 28-25 at halftime.

“We were so pumped up, it was hard to control our emotions,” Pacific head coach Tom O’Neill said. “As the first half went along, we settled into out game.”

Pacific scored on its first five possessions of the second half, taking 35-34 lead at the 17:20 mark on a jump shot by Karlwin Matthews. The Tigers boosted the lead to three a short time later on a pair of free throws by Brent Counts.

But UNLV regained the lead and went up by a 48-41 count after three-pointers by Geral Paddio and Freddie Banks. The Tigers cut the lead to two, but then made the mistake of making Basnight angry.

“The first half was the worst basketball we’ve played all year,” UNLV head coach Jerry Tarkanian said. “Fortunately, we put together a streak when we needed to.”

O’Neill said he was please with his team’s effort against the top-ranked Rebels.

“I thought we played real hard—it was a great effort by the kids, he said. “Physically, and spiritually, it was a great effort. Mentally, we just didn’t do what we needed to do to beat a team like Vegas.”

Counts, who scored 14 points, said the Tigers were confident they could play with UNLV.

“Going into the game, we felt like we had a chance to win,” Counts said. We still do. But it’s so hard. You’ve got to play 40 minutes of superb basketball against them to win. There were just five or 10 minutes when we didn’t play great.

The Tigers used a man-to-man defense—sort of. Pacific guarded four UNLV players and left UNLV point guard Mark Wade alone, freeing Counts to sag into the middle. The ploy worked. UNLV forward Armon Gilliam, who came into the game averaging 24 points, was held to 11. Banks, who came in scoring 20 a game, had just 12, on 4-of-14 shooting.

Guard Christian Gray led the Tigers with 19 points. Counts, finished with 14 and Matthews had 12. The Tigers hit just 39 percent of their shots from the floor.

The Rebels were led by Paddio who snapped out of a shooting slump with 19 points. Paddio was 9 of 17 from the floor, although hit just 1 of 7 three-point attempts. Basnight had 13, Banks added 12 and Gilliam had 11.

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