LIVE GAME BLOG — FINAL:

Willis’s big second half helps No. 24 UNLV oust Santa Clara, 66-63

Junior guard scores all 14 of his points after halftime as Rebels improve to 7-0

Updated Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009 | 9:11 p.m.

UNLV vs. Santa Clara

UNLV's Tre'von Willis, right, puts pressure on Santa Clara's Robert Smith during a Dec. 5 game at Santa Clara. Launch slideshow »

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The Rebel Room

Insight from the AP voter who has UNLV at No. 11

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Ryan Greene is joined for a special edition of The Rebel Room by Tom Keegan, who is the sports editor of the Journal-World in Lawrence, Kan. Why, you may ask? Well, Tom in his AP poll last weekend voted UNLV at No. 11, which was the highest nod the Rebels got following their victory over Louisville to improve to 5-0. Keegan explains why he voted UNLV so high, plus offers some insight into another program he knows well in Kansas State, who visits the Orleans Arena for a showdown with Lon Kruger's club next Saturday.

Final, UNLV wins 66-63

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Thanks to a late defensive stop, No. 24 UNLV escaped on the road for the second time in four days, outlasting Santa Clara, 66-63.

The reason it came down to the game's final possession, however, was again Tre'Von Willis, who for the second consecutive outing carried the Rebels after halftime.

Following a scoreless first half in which he picked up two fouls — one a hold seven seconds into the game, the other a questionable blocking foul — he scored all 14 of his points after the intermission. Willis also had five assists, no turnovers and two steals in the effort, improving UNLV to 7-0 on the season.

The Rebels trailed by 10 points early in the second half, 43-33, when Santa Clara's Marc Trasolini was called for a technical foul after he executed a pull-up on the rim following a slam dunk. UNLV answered with a 10-0 run to tie the game at 43-43, and from there simply outmuscled the Broncos, who were without leading scorer Kevin Foster. Foster was in street clothes with a broken right foot.

UNLV now has six days without game action before taking on Kansas State at the Orleans Arena next Saturday. Kansas State, of course, is where Rebels coach Lon Kruger both played his college ball and later served on the bench as both an assistant and head coach. On his staff, assistants Greg Grensing and Steve Henson also have deep ties to K-State, and director of basketball operations Mike Shephard is a K-State grad.

For full postgame coverage, including stories, photos, stats and The Rebel Room: Postgame Edition, stay tuned to www.lasvegassun.com/rebels.

3:40, second half, UNLV leads 59-58

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — It continues to be the Tre'Von Willis show here in the second half, as he recently ended another UNLV offensive drought with a 3-pointer, putting the Rebels up 59-58 in what is suddenly a noisy road atmosphere.

With 3:40 to go, Santa Clara won't go quietly into the night.

The loose balls and cheap fouls have piled up in the second half, but Willis is truly a calming influence. He has scored all 14 of his points in the second half and has five assists to go with no turnovers.

Santa Clara is now in the bonus, which isn't as scary as it was in the first half, as the Broncos are 1-of-4 from the line in the second half.

7:44, second half, UNLV leads 54-53

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — For the second game in a row, it's the Tre'Von Willis Second Half Show.

The junior guard has 11 of UNLV's 23 points since the break, and the Rebels have found new life with him at the helm on the offensive end rather than on the bench with foul issues.

His most recent contribution was a nice inside dish to Darris Santee, who in turn scored his first two points of the game after Willis wrapped the pass around two defenders.

The Rebels are 9-of-18 from the floor in the second half, while Santa Clara is 6-of-16. Willis, on the night, has four assists and no turnovers to go with his 11 points.

Sidenote: Just got a visit on press row from former Rebel René Rougeau. He said he'll be starting his run soon with the ABA's Clayton Showtime. Congrats go out to the former swingman.

15:41, second half, Santa Clara leads 43-41

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Marc Trasolini scored another huge bucket for Santa Clara, but this time hurt his team in the process.

The sophomore forward slammed home two points early in the second half, but did a complete pull-up on the rim, citing him for a technical foul. After that came an 8-0 run for the Rebels, which is still going into the second half's first full break.

As was the case on Wednesday night at Arizona, Tre'Von Willis has sparked the effort. After scoring no points and picking up two fouls in the first half, he has five so far after the break for UNLV. Oscar Bellfield also added a three, while Brice Massamba scored two off of a nice back-door feed from Chace Stanback.

Halftime, Santa Clara leads 39-31

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — UNLV was trying to hold for a last shot, hoping to trim their five-point deficit against Santa Clara before heading into the halftime locker room.

Instead, the Rebels find themselves trailing by eight at 39-31, thanks to an incredible 3-point play by forward Marc Trasolini.

Oscar Bellfield and Matt Shaw had some miscommunication coming off of a screen atop the key, and Trasolini stepped in to take a loose ball the other way. Spinning, he hit a layup and was fouled with :01.5 left on the clock.

It was only fitting that Santa Clara ended the first half at the free throw line, as the Broncos spent much of the game's first 20 minutes right there.

UNLV was in foul trouble most of the way, whistled for 15 fouls in the first half as opposed to six called against Santa Clara. The Broncos responded by going 15-of-19 from the free throw line.

Here are some other numbers of note from the first half...

— UNLV has no one in serious foul trouble, but Tre'Von Willis, Chace Stanback, Oscar Bellfield, Darris Santee and Steve Jones have two apiece.

— UNLV is 4-of-12 from 3-point range. Santa Clara is 4-of-9.

— Oscar Bellfield leads UNLV with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting. The rest of the team is a combined 8-of-23.

— Trasolini is carrying the offensive load for Santa Clara, who is without leading scorer Kevin Foster due to a broken foot. Trasolini has 11 points, while freshman guard Robert Smith has nine. Trasolini and Robert Smith are a combined 10-of-11 at the line.

— UNLV is being badly outrebounded, 24-11. Santa Clara has nine offensive boards.

7:28, first half, Santa Clara leads 22-20

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Derrick Jasper hit a 3-pointer from the left wing to end an offensive drought of sorts for UNLV, as the entire first half so far has been frustrating for the Rebels on that end of the floor.

The shooting percentage hasn't been terrible, but the finding of open looks has been the issue.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara has used the free throw line to its advantage, as the Broncos are in the double bonus the rest of the way until halftime. UNLV's been forced to use a ton of different lineups in hopes of avoiding foul trouble. So far, Darris Santee and Tre'Von Willis have two apiece.

11:28, first half, Santa Clara leads 15-14

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — UNLV is struggling to find some solid ground on offense, as Santa Clara is playing a brand of defense every bit as sticky as what the Rebels saw at Arizona on Wednesday.

To make matters worse for Lon Kruger's club, the fouls are beginning to pile up rapidly, as the Broncos are in the bonus with 11:28 to go in the first half.

The latest foul was a blocking call on Tre'Von Willis, which was a toss-up. Willis didn't agree, as he shot up off the ground, walked away from the action and vented his frustration all on his own with some words under his breathe.

Santa Clara is in good position to build a lead with the early bonus, too. So far, the Broncos are 5-of-6 from the line.

Meanwhile, UNLV is having trouble attacking the rim, which Kruger has stressed plenty of late.

15:46, first half, Santa Clara leads 9-8

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Broncos, in a late note, are without leading scorer Kevin Foster (19.8 ppg), who recently suffered a broken foot.

However, Santa Clara has found a way to make up for the sophomore guard's absence early on, and that's by crashing the offensive glass.

In building an early 9-8 edge on UNLV, Troy Payne has two buckets inside, but more important are his three offensive rebounds in just over four minutes of game play.

Oscar Bellfield has paced UNLV early on, scoring five points on two-of-two shooting, including a 3-pointer to open up the scoring for the Rebels.

UNLV has seen nothing but man defense so far, which could change as this one progresses.

Pregame

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Well, this certainly isn't the McKale Center atmosphere that UNLV encountered on Wednesday night, where the No. 24 team in the land prevailed in double overtime, 74-72.

So far, there are honestly just as many Rebels fans in the building as their are Bronco backers. Then again, there are only about 100 spectators in here as we're roughly 40 minutes from top time here at the Leavey Center.

It's a quiet night here on campus, which is one that pops up out of nowhere in suburban San Jose/San Francisco. On my walk from the parking garage to the arena, I couldn't help but notice that the rec center next door was packed. That leads me to believe that the student turnout tonight will be minimal, too.

So what does this all mean?

Well, several players after Wednesday's win talked about how the venom coming from the stands in Tucson gave them something to feed off of. Tonight, the Rebels will more than likely have to provide their own motivation.

If you go by what Lon Kruger said over the past few days, it shouldn't be an issue. He said that, despite overall poor shooting, one thing fueling UNLV's 6-0 start this season is the fact that his players have a mutual desire to continually improve. That, of course, has been a byproduct of the lack of ego on this team.

Well, tonight we see how strong that desire is, playing against a struggling program in a rather empty arena, with six days free on the horizon before the Rebels' next game.

Key to tonight's game

Who can hit the three more efficiently? Both teams are relying on it a ton, maybe even a bit too much. On each side, roughly 35 percent of all shot attempts have come from long range. UNLV is hitting at a 25.2 percent clip, and Santa Clara at 30.8. If one team gets hot early on from deep, that could mean all of the difference.

Prediction

Going with UNLV, 80-66.

Pick to click

It's going to be junior guard Derrick Jasper. He has had two solid, well-rounded performances back-to-back against Louisville and Arizona, combining for 24 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in UNLV's crucial five-day stretch. This is the kind of game he can thrive in, too, as UNLV could be seeing a decent amount of 3-2 zone from the Broncos. Few can manipulate a zone on this roster better than Jasper. He's starting to show flashes of just how good he will ultimately be, and this game is just another step in that process.

Be back shortly after tip-off.

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  1. Guys here the link to watch the game.

    http://www.channelsurfing.net/watch-sant...

  2. anyone else watching the feed from thier website? the camera isnt moving on my screen?

  3. not working at all for me... no love for us mac people. grrr... am1100 isnt streaming broadcast either.

  4. The camera is working good for me. There is static noise but, I'll deal with it.

  5. Did I leave the iron on?

  6. I'm on the edge of my tweet. Need the info. Update please.?

  7. chopper jones is a bum....he really needs to get back the bench.

  8. Rebels not looking so good.

  9. this would be a very ugly loss

  10. Nothing more frustrating than watching UNLV play like this against a worthless opponent. This would be a disaster. Wake up Rebels!!!!

  11. You can listen to the game here.
    http://radiotime.com/station/s_35297/KDO...
    Not our announcers but better than nothing.

  12. sound is terrible but pic is good

  13. what the heck-and this team sucks!

  14. Too much shooting from the outside and when we miss, which is often, they get the rebound. Bellfield turning it over at the end of the half hurt. It should have been at least a 3 point game at the half not 8. We can't seem to get to the basket. With all the fouls we aren't going to wear them out either.

  15. Anyone know why our local radio station AM 1100's stream always goes offline for the rebel games?

  16. Actually, Reb4Life, I don't think outside shooting is the problem tonight, or think there's been too much of it. The Rebounds and fouls tell the tale. UNLV being outboarded 24-11 and got called for 15 fouls as opposed to Santa Clara's 6 in the first half. Those two things, when that lopsided, usually lead to a score such as this. That play at the end of the first-half was a killer for the Rebels.

  17. Have they hooked the microphone to a hairdryer?

    Come on Rebs, shake a leg.

  18. why must we jack up the 3 ball over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over 41-31 JFK Rebels PULL THE HEAD OUT OF THE ANUS!!!

  19. 1100 is working fine for me (though I'm watching the internet stream). AM stations have to power down at night, so unless you live close to a tower, you might not be able to get reception after 6 o'clock or so.

  20. Ryan, it's not three's I'm talking about it's that we can't seem to penetrate to the basket. At least in the first half. The second half we've scored a couple already attacking the basket.

  21. How many second chances are we going to give these guys? Does anyone know how to block out??????

  22. Weird how they have the camera on the "wrong" side of the court.

  23. 1100 doesnt work online for me either. It says off air. Im listening to Santa Clara's site.

  24. Oh, I didn't realize you guys were talking about the online stream. It may be some type of contractual thing.

  25. Reb4Life ... gotta credit Santa Clara there ... they're playing really good man defense tonight ...

  26. Indeed they are.

  27. Uppy Datey, please. Argh!

  28. finally a santa clara player with 4 fouls

  29. nice assist from willis to santee

  30. SC up 55-54. their best point gaurd, Robert Smith, just picked up his fourth foul. Tied at 56 with a Santee dunk.

  31. Sorry, I put up the wrong score but we are tied at 56.

  32. willis hits for 3

  33. Yesssssssssss. Tell me more, please.

  34. Image Broncos at the foul line again, miss wallace rebounds.

  35. 3:33 left in game we are up by 1 and we have the ball. Wallace just hit a three....

  36. wallace hits a 3 62-58 rebels.

  37. Wallace 3, UNLV 62 SC 58

  38. Yesssssssssssssssssssssss

  39. under 3 minutes. rebs timeout... 4 point lead..Rebs

  40. talk to me, but only the good news:)

  41. 2:02 left 62-60

  42. c'mon Rebs!

  43. santa clara steals the ball willis fouls his fourth

  44. 62-61

  45. 62-60 rebs...1:40 left rebs have the ball...SC steals the ball and they are going to the line. Willis 4th foul. They missed the second. we are up one.

  46. Rebs by 1, shaw at the line

  47. shaw fouled. 2 shot

  48. Shaw hits his first FT. Timeout. Rebs up two.

  49. shaw gets first, 63-61 rebels

  50. c'mon Matty!

  51. lets pull this thing out!

  52. shaw gets it rebs by 3

  53. 64-61

  54. Broncos fouled again

  55. Defense! No foul.

  56. 64-63

  57. miss Broncos rebound

  58. shot clock off, SC has the ball down by 1

  59. Rebs up one but SC has the ball. 32 secs left

  60. 26.4 Broncos timeout

  61. cmon get the ball!!

  62. Offensive foul on smith, rebel ball

  63. offensive foul on sc

  64. take care of the ball!!!!!!!!!!

  65. And/or make a free throw

  66. Shaw at the line.

  67. shaw made the first

  68. 66-63

  69. Shaw made the second. Reb time out. rebs 66-63 at the timeout.

  70. No FOUL!!!!!!!

  71. Rebels win 66-63

  72. Final Score: 66-63 Rebels Win!!!

  73. REBS WON

  74. I picked a bad week to give up drinking.

  75. Think I lost about 5 years off my life with this game!

  76. well time to go have a beer to celebrate

  77. I'll take any win. 7-0 means 7-0. REBELS!!!REBELS!!!

  78. way to go REBELS

  79. omfg. All I can say.

  80. Sureshot - No problem, glad I could help you get your rebels fix!

  81. Near cardiac arrest with this one. Much much closer then anyone expected..

  82. just got back from the game..it was a dreadful to watch at times, but our man tre'von took over. my favorite part is when we were up 1 pt with less than 30 sec. left and their point guard was running out the clock before making a move...and tre'von just pounded the floor with his hands while guarding their point guard, almost like saying, "do something!"...then we had the stop..matt shaw comes through and the wife and kids got to do the rebel chant amongst the many disappointed fans. nice!

  83. You said it BetOnBlack. Great turnout by the Rebels fans... The Broncos gave us all we could handle tonight.

  84. My connection screwed up so I did not get to see the play when SCU tried to run out the clock but it came back on and saw Shaw's FTs and the missed 3 at the end.

    Here's hoping the rest of our games are on TV.

  85. Dodged a pretty serious bullet by pulling this one out. Would have not looked pretty on our resume, but pulling out another close win should be beneficial (didn't think it would be against this particular squad, but hey). From the radio feed, it sounded like the crowd wasn't too shabby. That, and the Broncos seemed to come out with a lot of confidence.

    Those offensive rebounds we were giving up to Santa Clara though, friggin' unacceptable. It also seemed like they drew plenty of fouls on our guys. Thank God Meezy pulled off those last few free throws (and a couple of their guys missed a few) to hold onto that SLIM lead Smh! WAY TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT.

    To the team - put this game behind you. It's a long season, there will be ups and downs. Rest those bodies and focus on finals this week. AND come out to play with that tenacity we all know you are capable of next Saturday at the Orleans.

  86. I think I have a few gray hairs after that game. Goodness.

    Go Rebels!