Rebels rip Long Beach in PCAA opener 105-70

INGLEWOOD-Calif.—You know things are going right when.

Eldridge Hudson and Richard Robinson make free throws in the same game.

Lawrence West misses a reverse slam dank, hangs on the rim for a technical and laughs about it. Amazingly, head coach Jerry Tarkanian laughs with him.

It was that kind of night Thursday for UNLV, which buried Cal State Long Beach 105-70 at The Forum in the first round of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association Tournament.

The win gave the top-ranked Rebels a 31-1 overall record. The 49ers finished the season at 12-19 under third-year head coach Ron Palmer, who announced his resignation on Monday.

UNLV will meet Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m. Friday in the semifinal contest will match UC Santa Barbara and San Jose State at 9 p.m.

It was business as usual for the Rebels, who rolled through the conference season with 18 straight wins.

Armon Gilliam, who was named PCAA Player of the Year earlier in the day, led the Rebels with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

Freddie Banks, another first-ream PCAA choice, added 20 points, including 14 in the first half.

Gary Graham came off the bench to contribute 15 points and, as usual, aggressive pressure defense.

Mark wade, the third UNLV player named to the all-conference team Thursday, set an NCAA single-season assist record. He finished with eight in the game, giving him 336 for the season. The old mark was 328, set last season by Mark Jackson of St. John’s.

“It felt good,” Wade said. “I wanted to get it the last game of the season at home, but it’s nice to get it here. My parents and friends are right up there (in the stands).

Tarkanian was happy to see Wade set the record.

“Mark’s just been terrific for us all year long,” Tarkanian said.

The 49ers were within eight, at 31-23, before the Rebels found the range from three-point land.

UNLV hit treys on four consecutive trips downcourt. First it was Graham. Then Banks and Gerald Paddio. Banks nailed another to give the Rebels a 43-23 lead with 7:05 to play in the first half.

Gilliam followed a miss by Paddio, then Banks scored on a drive to cap a 16-0 UNLV run. With 5:22 to go, the Rebels led 47-23.

The lead reached as many as 30, before UNLV settled for a 57-31 halftime lead.

“We had a hard time getting started in both halves, but once we got going, we played real well,” Tarkanian said.

The 49ers were in the hunt early. Freshman Rudy Harvey scored nine points in the first eight minutes, including a pair of slam dunks. Junior center DeAnthony Langston, who was shut out twice by UNLV during the regular season, scored 11 points in the first half.

But the 49ers went cold, and UNLV pulled away. Banks, who connected on three three-pointers, led the Rebels with 17 points in the first half. Gilliam added 14.

UNLV hit 7 of 12 three-point tries in the first half. The Rebels shot 50 percent from the floor, compared to just 39 percent for the 49ers. UNLV had a big first half rebounding edge, 28-18.

The 49ers hurt themselves at the free-throw line in the first half, hitting just 7 of 17 attempts.

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