Shaw helps Rebels top Southern Illinois

UNLV post players combine for 22 points, show they are improved

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Steve Marcus

UNLV’s Matt Shaw gets possession of a loose ball as he is pursued by Kendal Brown-Surles, left, and Kevin Dillard during a game against Southern Illinois at the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday. UNLV beat Illinois 78-69.

UNLV vs. Southern Illinois

UNLV's Anthony Marshall drives past Kendal Brown-Surles during the first half against Southern Illinois at the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

Willis leads charge in victory against Southern Illinois

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Rob Miech and Ray Brewer dissect the UNLV basketball team's 78-69 victory on Saturday against Southern Illinois. Tre'Von Willis had a career high 25 points and appears to be the Rebels' team leader.

The UNLV basketball team will take this kind of production from its trio of post players every game — especially from forward Matt Shaw.

Shaw hit a 3-pointer with less than five minutes to play Saturday night to give the Rebels their first double-digit lead of a back-and-forth game against Southern Illinois in a 78-69 victory at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Shaw, who red-shirted last season while rehabbing from right-knee surgery, was fourth on the team in 3-pointers with 24 in 2007-’08. His ability to score from several spots on the court adds another dimension to the offense.

“That was my first 3-pointer in two years,” the 6-foot-8 Shaw jokingly said. “The three hasn’t been falling like I have wanted it to. But I’m not going to force it. I’m only going to take the open ones.”

Shaw set a screen for Tre'Von Willis at the top of the 3-point arch, then popped out to receive a pass and the open look. He buried the shot to put the Rebels ahead 72-60.

“That’s the type of pick-and-pop we are looking for,” he said.

Shaw finished with 13 points, including making a pair of fouls shots with 35 seconds to play when Southern Illinois was only trailing by five points.

The trio of post players combined for 22 points and six rebounds — a stat line that isn’t dominating, but one that shows the improvements they have made.

“We are three guys who will do anything to make the team better,” Shaw said.

Center Brice Massamba battled foul trouble and added four points in nine minutes, scoring UNLV’s first field goal of each half.

Forward Darris Santee had five points in 10 minutes and outraced his defender down the court for two lay-ups with under eight minutes to play to help the Rebels build their lead to 12 points.

The group, which some consider a weakness, showed Saturday the strides they have made — something Shaw said is a product of battling each other in practice. They were athletic running the court, aggressive on the boards and a crucial part to the flow of the offense.

“Darris ran the floor a couple of times and made some good plays,” UNLV coach Lon Kruger said.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected].

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  1. shaw's tuf should be starting by confrence play, kids got da touch

  2. Sufferin, if he plays like this, he should start. We will see if he is consistent. I kind of like him off the bench though. The starting center doesnt log the majority of the minutes every game so it may be good to bring his energy off the bench if he keeps playing like this

  3. Gotta give it to sufferin', he did call Shaw, he a had a great game last night. Hawkins looked real good too. The rebs look like they are gettin' better every game. Holy cross should be a good warm up before Louisville, who by the way, had a little trouble with Morgan State today.

  4. The Louisville team that UNLV beat last year will not be as hard as the Louisville team they play this year. If UNLV comes out and plays 40 minutes of good Lon Kruger basketball we should have a good shot at winning this game. Lets hope Shaw stays consistent, don't forget its just one game :)

  5. if we can keep this 3 headed monster finly tuned and our top guards can dominate any backcourt with ther backups suppling the constant energy of freshman and our role players do ther thing...very dangerous...kno how to reach down already and gut out intense ball games we need to start blowin out teams here and ther..we'll see how they respond being down on the road and after a loss..but so far very impressive...realy looks like a top 25 team..if they continue to improve would not surprise me if they make a run at the top 10..wouldnt that be nice cant even remember that far back...that wuld be huge for recruits seeing our highlites on espn evry nite

  6. fkg319, good point! Cant wait to see how high we jumped in voted in the AP and Coaches rankings. Highly doubt we will be ranked, though we picked up 2 resume wins. If we win vs Holy Cross and Louisville next week 2 we should be ranked the following Monday (8 days) :D How would that be? Then our schedule if decent so we could stay in the Top 25 if we got in it

  7. I like Shaw, but it's just one game. I'm not ready to give Robert any credit yet.

    Hey guys, check this out. Probably short lived, but you don't see this every day.

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketba...

  8. Another thing that is gonna help us out come Tourney time..is our strength of schedule..its not like an ACC team..but for an non BCS school I'm sure it's gotta be top 5 in SOS

  9. Sufferin was right. Matt Shaw is our best option. He isn't even in shape yet and he's outplaying Santee and Massamba. Massamba is a total stiff. The guy is a foul machine. Yesterday he played 9 mins and had 4 fouls. He has as many fouls this season as he has rebounds!!!! What a joke. Matt Shaw is experienced, plays good defense, is tough, is smart and can shoot. I look forward for him to become a starter. He is the most important part of our team! Our guard play will be good but we need someone downlow and that person is Matt Shaw.

  10. rebs, there will not be ONE guy down low. all 3 will play about the same time imo. One guy may play 20 min compared to the 2 others playing 15 or something like that but it should be about the same. I like Massamba being in with the starters b/c it makes up for it with all the skill @ guard..and then when Shaw comes in with the bench he is one of the main options instead of being overlooked if he was in with the starters.

  11. Massamba can't stay on the floor because he is a foul machine. Last 2 games= 23 mins and 8 fouls. How can a guy like that help you? Matt Shaw is a guy who played in the sweet 16 as a freshman and in the tournament 2 yrs ago also. He is not even in shape yet.

  12. Well then I hope Matt Shaw gets in shape and plays if he is such a phenom. Would love to have him on the court in that case

  13. If we can win the next 3 games I think we earn a top 25 rank. IMO Louisville does not look as good as they did last year, and we beat them with the same team minus Renee. Pulling that win off should do-able if they continue improving with each game. But we need to make our fricken free throws, terrible from the line overall. By the way when are we gonna be treated to our first alley-oop dunk, im waaiiiiting...

  14. i kno its tuf for our bigs and i dnt care but can steinbach dunk i wuz jus wundrn thought he could poke

  15. FKG, yes Stanback can dunk. You seen his midrange game? mmmmm. Last year we beat UL without Wink Adams. And this years team is nothing like last years team except Oscar and Tre have returned, also Wallace, Santee and Brice (8 new players), that is it.

    We can put in on UL :) if we play well

  16. letsgo--I agree that Shaw is playing best out of the three big guys, but really that isn't surprising, given the fact the guy has been playing college ball for 5+ years already with the redshirting and injuries, etc. Also, Shaw is still pretty soft defensively, while Brice and Santee have showed a great deal of improvement already on the defensive end. Don't be too hard on Brice because of the fouling, the kid is still developing, he is only a sophomore and really didn't play much as a freshman. I'm actually pleasantly surprised by the play of both Massamba and Santee, especially Saturday against SIU. Except for a few dumb fouls Massamba played a very good game against a bigger center. Again, it's a learning process, and we can afford to give up 15 fouls between those three so it's a very good situation for Brice right now. I'm still waiting for a slam dunk from somebody...

  17. w/ tre leading us we will have the confidence to beat a team like UL and UofA its bball season and looks as if the nxt 2 weeks shuld tells us all we need to kno...lets go rebs sho em that "D"!!!!and wut it meenz to run!!!!