Sunday, Dec. 20, 2009 | 2:29 a.m.
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Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer discuss UNLV's 88-58 victory over South Carolina Upstate on Saturday night, as the Rebels showed solid maturity in what could have been a sloppy look-ahead effort 12 hours before taking off for Hawaii.
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During his quick stop at UNLV in what has been a whirlwind recruiting tour, Drew Gordon expected to see lots of rocks and cacti when he set foot on campus Saturday.
"The campus was a lot better than I expected," Gordon said, citing the greenery and secluded feel just down the road from the noise of the Strip.
As for his trip to the Thomas & Mack Center to watch UNLV down South Carolina Upstate, 88-58?
"It's definitely a legit facility," he said. "Probably one of the best college gyms I've seen in a long time."
The 6-foot-8 sophomore power forward out of San Jose, Calif., left the UCLA program in early December after not quite seeing eye-to-eye with coach Ben Howland.
When he left, Gordon was averaging 11.2 points and a team-best 5.3 rebounds per game for the Bruins. Now, the No. 45 prospect in Rivals.com's rankings from the class of 2008 is looking for a new home.
After taking in Notre Dame and New Mexico on recent trips, Gordon liked what he saw from his seat in section 107 on Saturday night at the Mack.
"UCLA wasn't the style of play I wanted to fit in to," he said. "I'm more of an up-and-down player, and UNLV has that. Lon Kruger's a good coach."
Gordon made the visit with his mother, Shelly, and his only other planned trip will be to San Diego State on Dec. 29, when the Aztecs take on UC-Riverside. His father, Ed, lettered at SDSU from 1980-83.
He said a decision should come some time just after New Year's, as he hopes to enroll at his next school in time for the spring semester. That would make him eligible as a sophomore next season at the conclusion of the fall semester.
Gordon said he's not leaning in any certain direction right now, and considers himself wide open.
He potentially could be the next in a list of transfers who have found a nice second home at UNLV, joining the likes of current Rebels Tre'Von Willis (Memphis), Derrick Jasper (Kentucky), Steve Jones (Arizona State), Quintrell Thomas (Kansas) and Chace Stanback (UCLA).
Stanback and Gordon were never teammates at UCLA, but are good friends, and the two sat down for dinner following Saturday night's victory.
"It's comforting," Gordon said of Stanback's presence at UNLV. "I'm in the same situation he was. If he can do it, I can do it."
Livengood says hello
New UNLV Athletic Director Jim Livengood took a moment to address the Thomas & Mack crowd Saturday night at halftime, taking a brief break from his search for a new football coach.
He made an appearance Thursday after he was hired, walking the arena a bit with university President Neal Smatresk and shaking some hands.
A source close to the situation told the Sun on Friday that UNLV's first interview for the vacant football position will take place today, when Montana's Bobby Hauck is in town. Former Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione will be on campus on Monday to interview.
Stanback stays hot
Speaking of the 6-foot-8 Stanback, he continues to be UNLV's hottest offensive producer as the team heads off to the islands.
His 10 points marked the fourth consecutive game in which he's scored in double figures.
In that stretch, he's 21-of-42 from the floor.
Inside the numbers
Some more statistical notables from Saturday night ...
• UNLV's seven turnovers tied a season low, with the other occurrence coming Nov. 18 against UNR.
• Ten different UNLV players were on the floor for at least 11 minutes, while walk-ons Tyler Norman (five minutes), Todd Hanni (five) and Mychal Martinez (three) each notched season highs in the category.
• UNLV's hottest shooter of late is, without question, junior forward Matt Shaw. In the Rebels' three games this week is 13-of-19 from the floor and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. Meanwhile, the team's freshman guards — Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins — are in a combined shooting slump, as they've paired to go 6-of-31 in that same stretch.