Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010 | 2:10 a.m.
- Box Score: UNLV 85, UC Riverside 41
- UNLV thrashes overmatched UC Riverside, opens 2010-11 with a bang, 85-41
- Instant analysis: A great opening night for UNLV basketball
- Live Game Blog: Rebels coast past Highlanders in impressive season-opener, 85-41
- 2010-11 UNLV Schedule
- All Sun UNLV men's basketball coverage
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Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer break down what was a more lopsided than normal opener for UNLV, as the Rebels' offseason improvements were all on display in an 85-41 thrashing of lowly UC Riverside. The guys give you numbers and analysis, plus a look at how Tre'Von Willis fits back into the rotation next week and what's going on with freshman Karam Mashour.
Unlike Lopez in 2009-10, though, Mashour's redshirt fate was not known before the first regular-season contest.
While the Rebels ran roughshod over an overmatched UC Riverside club by a count of 85-41 at the Thomas & Mack Center, the 6-foot-6 Israeli freshman swingman watched from the end of the bench.
"We still haven't decided necessarily what to do with Karam," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "It was all on me tonight. (The coaches) haven't totally decided. Karam, quite frankly, wants to play, which is totally understandable. I just couldn't quite pull that trigger on using those minutes at this point.
"We're still in negotiations on that one."
Kruger met on Thursday with Mashour and his uncle, Jason Awad, to discuss this year's course.
Mashour was impressive offensively in the two exhibition games, and the language barrier he faced when first coming to America less than a year ago is quickly being scaled.
However, Mashour still has a ways to go in picking up the American game. Most notably, his biggest strides have yet to be made on the defensive end.
Plus, right now, it may simply be a numbers game, and the most sensible solution would be for him to redshirt. UNLV is loaded at the wing positions, but next season, he projects out to be a viable replacement for senior slasher Derrick Jasper.
"He wants to play, it's understandable, he may still end up playing," Kruger added. "If he doesn't relent, then he'll play. If he was my son, I definitely wouldn't play him, because I just don't see where the minutes are with the depth that we have on the perimeter. But we're not going to redshirt a guy if he doesn't want to.
"He's a great kid, and it'll work out either way."
Another surging sophomore
Getting 25 minutes off of the bench, sophomore Justin Hawkins made the most of them on both ends of the floor.
Hawkins, who in the last month has clearly looked like one of the Rebels' most improved talents, finished with nine points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists with only one turnover.
On defense, he jumped several passing lanes, and on a handful of occasions wound up with transition opportunities.
With the ball in his hands, Hawkins looked far more confident in his 2010-11 debut than he did at any point as a freshman.
Numbers of note
A look deeper into the box score ...
• The only player on UCR's roster who had previously played for the program was senior point guard Javon Borum, who missed last season due to an Achilles injury. He was only 1-of-14 from the floor, notching four points and four assists in 28 minutes off of the bench.
• While UCR was a woeful 15-of-67 from the floor, UNLV was an efficient 32-of-60, including shooting 61.5 percent (16-of-26) in the second half.
• Anthony Marshall hit his first 3-point attempt of the season early in the game and was 1-of-4 from deep on the night. It matched his season total from his freshman campaign, as the Mojave High product was just 1-of-23 from long range last year. His stroke looked much smoother this time around.
• Derrick Jasper's 13 rebounds topped his previous career high of 12, set last season against Weber State on Dec. 17, 2009. It was the fifth time in Jasper's career spent between UNLV and Kentucky that he's recorded double-digit boards.
• A big question coming into this season was how UNLV would do from long range with Kendall Wallace (knee injury) and Matt Shaw (NCAA suspension) unexpectedly out. The Rebels were a combined 12-of-24 from 3-point territory in the two preseason games and went 6-of-17 (35.3 percent) on Friday night. Oscar Bellfield led the way by going 3-of-5.
• The Rebels recorded nine blocks on the night, seven steals and 23 assists compared to only 12 turnovers in an up-and-down affair that got a bit sloppy here and there.