LIVE GAME BLOG: Final:

Rebels coast past Highlanders in impressive season-opener, 85-41

Stanback, Bellfield, Marshall spearhead strong offensive effort

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV students Blaine Tingley (L), Kyle Killian and Ben Leavitt (R) sing the UNLV fight song before the Rebels season opening game against UC Riverside Friday, November 12, 2010 at the Thomas & Mack.

Updated Friday, Nov. 12, 2010 | 9:27 p.m.

Final, UNLV wins 85-41

As many expected, things didn't stay competitive for very long between UNLV and UC Riverside on Friday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The Rebels torched the Highlanders by 23 points in the first half, then went on a torrid run out of the break, cruising to an 85-41 victory to open the 2010-11 season.

Chace Stanback led all scorers with 17 points, doing so in a variety of ways on 7-of-12 shooting.

A charged-up Anthony Marshall added 16 points for the Rebels, starting in place of the suspended Tre'Von Willis, while Oscar Bellfield scored 15 points, had five assists and no turnovers.

UCR was just 15-of-67 from the floor in an ugly showing, while UNLV pummeled their Big West foe on the glass, 44-34.

UNLV is back at the Mack next Wednesday against Southeastern Louisiana.

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

11:16, Second Half, UNLV leads 62-24

It's becoming a legitimate laugher at the Thomas & Mack Center. With just over 11 minutes left to play in the 2010-11 opener, UNLV holds a commanding 62-24 edge on lowly UC Riverside, whose spirits appeared to be broken long ago.

The Highlanders have struggled to a 9-of-50 shooting performance. The 18 percent is by far the lowest a Rebels' foe has recorded in, um, quite some time.

Meanwhile, UNLV is showing a good amount of swagger, and clearly is enjoying going for the jugular.

Just before the last media timeout, Derrick Jasper soared from behind on a fast break opportunity to record a crowd-lifting block into the second row. He followed it up with his career-high 13th career rebound.

Elsewhere, Chace Stanback is putting all kinds of moves on UCR's perimeter defenders and has a game-high 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting.

Oscar Bellfield has 13 points, four rebounds, five assists and no turnovers in a stellar all-around showing.

One would have to assume that UNLV's next foe — Southeastern Louisiana at the Mack next Wednesday — will be close to the same caliber as UCR. With that said, it's a good bet that UNLV will head into next Saturday's marquee matchup at home against Wisconsin with plenty of momentum.

Halftime, UNLV leads 42-19

It's hard not to be impressed through one half, as the Rebels are thoroughly dominating a game they are supposed to be winning big.

UNLV is up on UC Riverside at the break, 42-19, and the stat sheet tells the story. Might as well jump right into it ...

— Maybe the best stat line of any Rebel belongs to Carlos Lopez. Look past the one point he's scored. The 6-foot-11 frosh has five rebounds, four blocks and four assists.

— Chace Stanback leads all scorers with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting, and he also has three rebounds. Anthony Marshall and Oscar Bellfield have 10 apiece on combined 7-of-11 shooting. Bellfield also has three assists and no turnovers.

— While UNLV is a respectable 16-of-34 from the floor, UCR is dreadful. The fact that 10 of the Highlanders' players are newcomers and haven't played together yet is clear. They are 8-of-39 from the floor with six turnovers and only three assists.

— UNLV is dominating the glass, 30-22. Derrick Jasper has 10 — yes, 10 — boards. His career-high is 12, last season against Weber State. He's reached double digits only four times before in his career.

Should be a pretty routine second half, but note UNLV's aggression. Lon Kruger won't be happy if the Rebels slack off or let up.

6:10, First Half, UNLV leads 28-16

The starting backcourt of Anthony Marshall and Oscar Bellfield is off to a red-hot start to the 2010-11 season, and the fact that last year's leading scorer — Tre'Von Willis — is in street clothes at the end of the bench is an afterthought so far.

Marshall has eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, including a crowd-pleasing 3-pointer, while Bellfield leads all scorers so far with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting. The junior point guard is 2-of-2 from deep, and the Rebels as a team are 3-of-9.

The best stat so far, though, for UNLV is its 20-12 edge over the Highlanders on the glass. The effort so far is led by Derrick Jasper, who has seven caroms. He was sorely missed in that department late last season, and is wasting no time this year in showing that. Chace Stanback and Carlos Lopez each have three boards.

UC Riverside continues to look far from cohesive, as Jim Wooldridge's club is having a tough time handling UNLV's backcourt pressure defense and is just 7-of-25 from the floor.

15:51, First Half, UNLV leads 9-6

UNLV's first bucket of the year came on a Derrick Jasper two-handed flush off of a feed from Anthony Marshall in transition.

After that, the Rebels scored points the old-fashioned way.

Sophomore Kansas transfer Quintrell Thomas got the start, but was spelled by junior Brice Massamba early. Massamba came in and grabbed two big offensive rebounds and converted one of them into an easy layup.

Oscar Bellfield leads the Rebels with five points, including a 3-pointer on the right wing and a coast-to-coast layup off of a defensive rebound. Bellfield is doing a nice job of getting the Rebels moving on the break and keeping the pace of the game fast.

Meanwhile, Riverside is hanging for the time being, but the fact that this group has never played together in a real game until tonight is apparent.

Pregame

If you go by the trends of the local sports bettors, a lot is expected tonight from the UNLV men's basketball team as it opens the 2010-11 season at home against UC Riverside.

The line on tonight's game opened at 15 points, but is now up in the 22-point range, as several are obviously expecting the Rebels to show the same execution they displayed in a pair of convincing exhibition victories.

In it's last time out, UNLV applied 40 consistent minutes of defensive pressure and attacked the rim at will in an 88-53 victory over Division-II foe Washburn on Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The outlook for the Highlanders looks a bit bleaker now tonight.

In today's preview story, I documented how it's a rare roster in that only one of the 12 members actually played for UCR last year. Well, now make that number zero. Junior forward, who was a little-used reserve last season, blew out his knee two days ago and is out for the season. He had four points in 12 minutes in UCR's lone exhibition game — an 86-72 victory over Cal State Los Angeles. Jim Wooldridge's club features a senior point guard coming back off of an achilles injury in Javon Borum, one true freshman and nine junior college transfers.

Look, UNLV should win tonight. Easily.

Still, UNLV has a long way to go before it's in mid-season form. In order to take some significant steps in that direction, here are three things to watch for tonight ...

1) Rebound, rebound, rebound Wait, is this a blog from the 2009-10 season? Seriously, I probably talked about this before every game, and it'll be the case again this year. Lon Kruger will constantly emphasize aggressive rebounding for 40 minutes, and UNLV should be much better in this department than last season with the additions of Quintrell Thomas and Carlos Lopez. Still, Kruger can't let up on them. And he won't.

2) Start fast Tonight, a quick start out of the gates like the one the Rebels had against Washburn could bury the Highlanders quick. UCR has a team full of guys who have hardly played together at all, and that means will likely have a tough time fighting back from behind. But UNLV will need this to be a consistent theme throughout the year, as its defensive prowess and athleticism will make it tough for almost any foe to mount comebacks.

3) Who hits the shots? UNLV was a combined 12-of-24 from 3-point range in its two preseason tilts. Not bad at all. Anthony Marshall and Chace Stanback both looked good from deep, and Oscar Bellfield will launch plenty of treys, too. UNLV won't have to live and die by the three as much this year as it did at times last season thanks to increased athleticism and inside presence. Still, with Kendall Wallace and Matt Shaw both gone, they have to at least be good in this department.

I'll talk to you all throughout the night, starting just after tip-off. And, as always, if you want to join the in-game conversation on Twitter, add the unlvmbb tag to your tweets.

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  1. Looking at the box score of the Kansas game, it seems as if Elijah Johnson didn't even play, no stats for him.

    Elijah, please transfer back home, UNLV will welcome you back with open arms. Showcase your talents here, the Runnin Rebel faithful await you.

    Rosco and Shabazz with Elijah transfering back home, sprinkle in some Anthony Marshall and you have a team that will go down as Las Vegas legends!

    The stars are alligned for you guys to do something special in your hometown, don't let an oppurtunity like this slip away. No university or city will ever care about you guys as much as we will, stay home and make us proud.

    Anthony Marshall, please get on the phone and call your friend Elijah, tell him something special is happening in the desert and he should come home. Then get Rosco and Shabazz in on a 3 way phone call and tell them that with a core group of you 4 players that there is no stoping Vegas. It's the wild wild west and you 4 are the new sheriffs in college basketball ready to put the boot to the competition and make the Thomas & Mack as electric as the strip!

  2. Sorry I forgot one thing.

    Anthony...Elijah...Rosco...Shabazz...

    Lights Please.........and now, your Runnin Rebels!

  3. WOW.....just WOW.We have basically scored almost 90 pts for 3 games in a row WITHOUT Tre'von. We will drop 100+ at least 5 times this year no doubt.

    Im with you J-Rocafella......Add Carlos Lopez as a center to that 4 man line up and national championship here we come.