REBELS BASKETBALL:

UNLV defense clamps down on Wisconsin, Jon Leuer

Wisconsin shoots 36 percent from the field in 68-65 UNLV victory

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Wisconsin forward Jon Leuer loses the ball while being defended by UNLV’s Chace Stanback, left, Brice Massamba and Oscar Bellfield during Saturday’s game. UNLV upset 25th-ranked Wisconsin 68-65.

UNLV vs. Wisconsin Basketball

UNLV players, from left, Todd Hanni, Brice Massamba, Carlos Lopez and Karam Mashour celebrate as Justin Hawkins makes a free throw to cement their win over Wisconsin on Saturday. UNLV beat the 25th-ranked Wisconsin 68-65. Launch slideshow »

UNLV vs. Wisconsin

UNLV knocked off Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon, 68-65, behind a career-high 25 points from Chace Stanback and clutch late-game heroics by Justin Hawkins on defense and at the free throw line.

The Rebel Room

WISCONSIN POSTGAME: Rebels survive the grinder

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Ryan Greene and Case Keefer take a closer look at a grinder of a 68-65 win for the UNLV men's basketball team on Saturday afternoon at home against Wisconsin. It was far from pretty, but the Rebels improved to 3-0 and now have a few days off before the start of the 76 Classic on Thanksgiving night. The guys take a look at the struggles of UNLV's big men, the defensive prowess of Justin Hawkins, the offensive heroics of Chace Stanback and assess Tre'Von Willis's return from a 4-game suspension.

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Wisconsin’s final blunder in a 68-65 loss to UNLV effectively summed up the whole afternoon.

The Badgers desperately tried to get the ball to senior forward Jon Leuer on an inbounds play from behind the basket with eight seconds remaining. Justin Hawkins made sure that failed when he stepped in front of the bounce pass from Mike Bruesewitz for a steal.

“We certainly weren’t looking for what we got,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “That’s not what we talked about in the huddle. The young man feels badly about it, but you can’t get the pass back.”

The Badgers had a tough time getting production from their standout throughout the entire game. The Rebels keyed their defensive game plan around stopping Leuer, who led the Badgers in scoring last season and averaged 23 points in their first two wins this year.

UNLV held Leuer to 10 points on 3-for-11 shooting. Wisconsin found it difficult to respond to their leader’s struggles.

“They rattled us,” Wisconsin sophomore Ryan Evans said. “They took us out of our offense.”

UNLV’s defensive pressure forced Wisconsin to shoot only 36 percent from the field. No one on the Badgers' offense established any consistency.

Although Jordan Taylor exploded for 16 points in the first half, UNLV held him to a single three-pointer in the second half.

Leuer went 2-for-7 in the second half and missed a jumper before the failed inbounds play at a critical moment in the game.

“Jon had a couple shots, maybe two of them were forced, but he had some open looks,” Ryan said. “They made him work, but we had other guys who were open and had stare-down shots. I’d love to have those again.”

Evans, who had 11 points and six rebounds off the bench, said he was disappointed no one else on the team emerged as the go-to option against UNLV.

“Doubling John and making it tough on him, that’s when us surrounding players need to pick up the slack,” Evans said. “We need to help out that way. We need to learn from that and that will be good for us.”

Ryan and Evans had no complaints with the team’s defensive effort. They wanted to limit penetration and make UNLV settle for jumpers and three-point shots.

The Badgers were able to accomplish that, but the Rebels were red-hot from three and went 9-for-18 on the afternoon.

“If you watch their other games, they destroyed people going to the rim,” Ryan said. “We took that away. I was really proud of the job our guys did there.”

UNLV was able to overcome Wisconsin taking away its strength. Wisconsin couldn’t do the same.

Without Leuer, the Wisconsin offense stumbled through a frustrating game and committed 15 turnovers. But the Badgers were still in it at the end — until they couldn’t find Leuer one more time.

“We passed to the wrong colored jerseys,” Ryan said. “That’s how I saw it.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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  1. GO REBELS!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Bo Ryan is top 5 coaches in the land

  3. bull no way ryan is top 5 ... maybe not even top 3 in his own conf. - kruger is vastly underrated nationally ... the pundits don't give him the credit he deserves but the fraternaty of college coaches definitely respect him

  4. Really? top 5 according to who? I'm pretty sure if you took a poll of top 5 coaches in college basketball it'd be something like this...

    1. Coach K
    2. Roy Williams
    3. Bill Self
    4. Tom Izzo
    5. Jim Boeheim, Rick Pitino, Frank Martin, Bob Huggins...blah blah blah... I think Bo Ryan and Kruger would both be in the top 20. Both great coaches....but top 5? those spots are reserved for guys who are legendary.

  5. Well then according to real1 Kruger must be above Ryan somewhere in the top 5.....I mean, in their current locations Kruger IS 2-0 against him....SWOOP! On a serious note, by no means are either top 5 coaches as it currently stands in the MNCAABB landscape. But I do love me some Coach Kruger!!!

  6. I personally wouldn't have either Ryan or Kruger in my top 25 current coaches. Good coaches, but not elite level. As an illustration, and not to take away from Hawkins play, but frankly I was quite surprised to see one of their players make such a poor decision by trying a bounce pass instead of a just attempting to throw up to Lauer. That is rather elementary instruction to never do a bounce pass to a taller player who has such a size difference over the person guarding him.

  7. Sorry Brett, Roy Williams is no where NEAR top 5 coaches. The guy can't even handle criticism from his own fans. Coach K is another one, another overrated ACC coach. Here's the top 5 coaches in the most recent UCIP and USFACA polls:
    1.Bo Ryan
    2. Bob Huggins
    3. Tubby Smith
    4. Billy Taylor
    5. Mark Few

    All of these coaches work with less talent than their primary competition and still manage to succeed by molding players to fit their respective coaching styles. Coach K , Self, Roy Williams, these guys get the top recruits year after year therefore the success enjoyed is due largely to the incredible talent these programs attract, legally or illegally. Don't believe everything you read on ESPN the "i love the big 6" network.

  8. izzo
    coack k
    jaime dixon

    then it gets dicey ... huggy bear, matta, calipari is in there, mark few, billy donovan gets some love although not for recent years, painter, mike montgomery is a damn good coach, kruger, barnes can recruit with anyone etc etc.

  9. @liljoe, I would be curious to know more as to what goes into the criteria for the polls referenced. Based on the names provided it seems recruiting is a rather small part of their criteria which I definately disagree with. Like it or not, but being able to sign quality players can net a lot of wins regardless whether or not one truly knows how to coach the game (Calipari and Steve Lavin immediately come to mind). Hence the great line, "its not as much about the X's and the O's as it is the Jimmy's and the Joe's".

    Ideally it is best to have a head coach who is great a both, but those days seem to have passed. Today it seems most coaches are very good at one or the other which makes it imperative they bring in a staff that can complement their area of weakness.