REBELS BASKETBALL:

Stanback finds comfort zone, UNLV rolls Washburn, 88-53

Junior forward, benched for first half, explodes for 23 points on 9-of-10 shooting following intermission

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

The UNLV bench celebrates a Chace Stanback 3-point basket against Washburn during an exhibition game Tuesday. UNLV won the game 88-53.

UNLV vs. Washburn Exhibition

UNLV forward Quintrell Thomas rejects a shot by Washburn forward Bobby Chipman during an exhibition game Tuesday. UNLV won the game 88-53. Launch slideshow »

UNLV-Washburn men's basketball highlights

KSNV's Kevin West discusses the UNLV men's basketball team's exhibition win over Washburn.

Next Game

  • Opponent: UC Riverside
  • Where: Thomas & Mack Center
  • When: Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m.
  • TV: None
  • Radio: ESPN 1100 AM/98.9 FM

When UNLV opens regular season play on Friday night against UC Riverside, junior forward Chace Stanback will be back in the starting lineup with a whole wave of offensive momentum behind him.

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.

While Stanback's offensive outburst helped keep the halftime margin from shrinking, the tone was set early by the starting back-court trio of Oscar Bellfield, Anthony Marshall and Derrick Jasper.

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."

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  1. Did not see the game but a little concerned about having 20 turnovers and 35 in two games against d2 competition. Obviously it is early and everyone can be a little sloppy but our guards are experienced and should not be turning the ball over at this rate. This needs to get shored up before we get Wisconsin. Runnin' Rebels!

  2. I don't see why people are getting concerned about turnovers when the team is winning by 30 points. It's natural to play looser and take more chances when you have a big lead against inferior competition. This inevitably leads to turnovers. If the game was tight I'm sure the team would make more of an effort to protect the ball.

    I think overall the team looks pretty good.. I don't think we'll have to worry as much about guard play consistency without Wallace and Chop in the rotation but there are still some question marks inside. Thomas is physical and has some good inside moves, but outside of 2 feet he looked pretty lost. While he's probably the best inside defender he picks up a lot of fouls. Brice looks better physically but it's the same story as last year with foul trouble and an inability to score consistently from the post. Lopez seems to be aggressive and has some offensive talent but he's almost non-existent on the defensive end. It will be interesting to see how effective this new-look 3 headed monster will be. My starting 5 would be Tre, Marshall, Jasper, Stanback, and Thomas.. Hopefully Tre will give up the ball more this year to help build a more team wide offensive rhythm.

  3. gumby, I think the turnovers are more a result at this point of the team still polishing up on its overall offensive execution. The coaching staff even said they didn't like it, but it's probably nothing to sweat over at this point. Plus, the pace of that game kind of lent itself to a bevy of giveaways. It got pretty fast-paced about 10 min. in and stayed that way the rest of the night.

  4. The best defense is offense, and we definitely have that this year. I think when Tre comes back in the rotation a lot of the turnovers and defense will improve a bit. We are shooting the lights out this year. Very excited for friday.

  5. What's the deal with all of you guys not going to the games. If you are reading or writting on this blog then you are obviously fans so you gotta make it out cause the team need the support. Does anybody know the attendance for the game last night.

  6. @ dkj, I do not live in Las Vegas anymore, but am still interested in the Rebels as an alumnus. I went to every single home game last year, and all but 1 the year prior. Am going to try and fly down to catch the BYU and TCU game.

    The Sun just has the best coverage on the Rebels (shout out to Ryan, great job man!)

  7. @ dj
    According to the box score it was 9330, thats on unlvrebels.com.

    It was a good exhibition game, they got to work on a lot. I really liked how they competeted the entire 40 minutes. They have so many lineups to use now and can really take advantage of miss matches.

    The turnovers , although a bit much for my taste, will go down as the rotation is tightened up. Oscar had just 1 and will be playing more minutes, controlling the offense more.

    The rebounding was better then last year but Massamba and Lopez should do more in that area. Its great having Marshall, Jasper, and Stanback able to go to the glass at will.

    I cant wait for friday night!! GO REBS

  8. Still early to assess against a high school team. Need to see them play against an athletic team but great shooting last night.

    I'd like to see Massamba hit the jump rope. I'd like to see him jumping around like a gazelle by the end of the season.

    Go Rebels!!!!

  9. Djk - If I did not live in Colorado I would be at every home game. Sure wish I was there. Games at CSU and Air Force are my only chance.

  10. djk - it was an exhibition game on a Tuesday. get real. Complain once the season starts, but be forewarned, attendance increases as the season progresses.

  11. To be or not to be? That is no longer the question..
    To redshirt or not redshirt? That is the question for all rebel fans

  12. First off I wasn't singling any one out. It was more of a thought for all to read. Second I know how the attendance works because I have been going to the games since 1989 and I have the pics to prove it.

  13. I'm on the fence with redshirting Mashour.

    Without him we are a solid 9 deep. With him it allows us to continually throw fresh legs on the floor and eventually tire out the other team.

    The kid has flashes of future greatness, just needs to pick it up a bit on the defensive side. He got caught in no man's land off of screens a couple times last night, but as written before has a nose for the ball.

  14. During the two exhibition games I've been impressed by the athleticism of walk-on Mychal Martinez. Any chance he develops into more of a role than just a bench warmer and GPA booster? Maybe I'm going crazy but he sure seemed like he knew what he was doing out there, executing Krugers defense perfectly.

  15. I too am on the fence as it is..

    When he played with the first unit he looked good, with the second unit a bit lost and out of place.
    With Jasper , Stanback and him on the floor they totally disrupted things with their length and athleticism.

    You can clearly see how communication is his weak point. A year to learn the language, in basketball terms at least, would be beneficial.

    He is good enough to play now ,as a reserve, but sitting wouldn't hurt. Either way i can't wait to see him develop and play for the Rebels.

  16. Mychal to take over Chops role?

  17. In an interview after the last game, Kruger essentially said that the choice to redshirt or not is up to Mashour.. He said they could use him now in a limited role but he wanted Mashour to decide if that was what he wants compared to the playing time he might see in his 5th year.

    I think Mashour and Lopez had the deer in headlights look a bit in the first game and a half but the second half against Washburn they both seemed to get comfortable and play better. This is their first game experience in college after all.