Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 | 2:15 a.m.
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- Opponent: UC Riverside
- Where: Thomas & Mack Center
- When: Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.
- TV: None
- Radio: ESPN 1100 AM/98.9 FM
After again sitting out the first half in the Rebels' exhibition finale against Washburn on Tuesday night following some academic issues over the summer, he made the most of 13 second-half minutes. Stanback scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting in an 88-53 rout of over-matched Washburn at the Thomas & Mack Center.
"I feel like I can do it again as long as I keep working hard in practice," he confidently declared afterward.
The strong performance included a 4-of-5 performance from 3-point range and continued use of his strong mid-range game that is so tough to defend.
His season-high last year as a sophomore — Stanback's first season on the floor following a transfer from UCLA — was 21 points against Air Force on Feb. 27.
Now, the 23-point explosion can be seen as a sign of more to come, as the 6-foot-8 Stanback has stood out since practices began on Oct. 15. It can be argued that the Los Angeles native has been the Rebels' best player in that stretch.
On top of brandishing the smooth stroke that helped him average 10.7 points to go with a team-high 5.8 rebounds per game in 2009-10, he's shown some added explosiveness. That's the result of a summer spent strengthening a nagging ankle injury which never got to fully heal last season.
"If we had to identify three or four of the most consistent workers from the start of practice, Chace has been one of those," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "It's great to see him step in there and perform like he's been performing."
In the Rebels' exhibition opener, Stanback played 12 second-half minutes but only scored four points on 2-of-3 shooting. He said afterward that after sitting for 20 minutes following pre-game warm-ups, he never felt as though he got in the flow of a game that was already a blowout.
UNLV again was up big at the half this time around against Washburn, leading 38-19.
"I was able to start the second half this time, so that helped a lot," he said. "I was able to get some run in before I even thought about putting up a shot."
It also helped Stanback that by the time he came into the game, the Rebels had found and maintained a strong pace on both ends of the floor.
From go, Kruger's club looked like a team worthy of its preseason praise. On the night, UNLV forced 23 Washburn turnovers, was far more aggressive in the rebounding department and attacked the basket relentlessly.
Bellfield managed the game well, finishing with seven points, five assists, only one turnover and four rebounds.
Meanwhile, Marshall and Jasper played very similar slasher roles, combining for 18 points and 13 rebounds while both playing strong perimeter defense.
"We both like playing with each other," Marshall said of his cohesion with Jasper. "Having Oscar at the point, it allows us both to attack more, because the other team also has to respect Oscar's shot.
"(The exhibitions) gave us a starting point to see where we were, but we're nowhere near where we want to be. Of course, we've got to rebound better and play overall better defense."
UNLV also got a boost from its big men — most notably redshirt freshman Carlos Lopez.
After feeling lost in his first live game action in a year last Tuesday, Lopez picked up steam as the night progressed, finishing with 17 points and five rebounds in 20 minutes.
Most of sophomore Quintrell Thomas's heavy lifting came in the first half, and he finished with six points and four boards. As for junior Brice Massamba, he had a couple of flashes but ultimately fouled out after playing only 13 minutes, producing five points and three rebounds.
After the game, Kruger said that with Stanback starting and his punishment fulfilled, Massamba might be the one assuming a reserve role.
"Maybe (we'll) not start Brice to avoid picking up fouls early," he said. "He hasn't played very many minutes without fouling."
As for Stanback, after getting some offensive swagger back, he's ready for things to feel normal again just in time for the games that matter.
"I'm excited," he said. "I had to pay some unfortunate consequences, but that's all behind me and I'm moving on."