LIVE GAME BLOG: Final:

UNLV holds off late Tulsa rally, advances at 76 Classic, 80-71

Jasper posts first career double-double, Rebels will face Murray State at 6:30 p.m. on Friday

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AP Photo/Christine Cotter

UNLV’s TreVon Willis (center) battles Tulsa defenders Justin Hurtt (15) and Jordan Clarkson in the first half at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010.

Updated Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010 | 10:47 p.m.

UNLV vs. Tulsa Basketball

UNLV's TreVon Willis (center) battles Tulsa defenders Justin Hurtt (15) and Jordan Clarkson in the first half at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., on Thursday, Nov. 25, 2010. Launch slideshow »

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Final, UNLV wins 80-71

ANAHEIM, Calif. — UNLV looked poised to cruise mid-way through the second half against Tulsa, was pushed a bit, but ultimately prevailed on Thursday night at the 76 Classic, 80-71.

The Rebels were led by a 13-point, 10-rebound effort from Derrick Jasper, and will face Murray State in the semifinals of the winner's bracket at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. That game will be televised on ESPNU. Murray State knocked off Stanford earlier in the night at the Anaheim Convention Center, 55-52.

UNLV (4-0) led 40-31 at the break, but made a big push with a 7-0 run to start the second stanza behind the offensive efforts of Jasper and Chace Stanback. Tulsa got back to within as few as five points, but the Rebels won it late with a big dunk by Stanback, pressure defense that forced a handful of turnovers and a pair of Tre'Von Willis free throws.

Stanback led four Rebels in double figures with 15 points in a homecoming game for the junior forward. Oscar Bellfield, another Los Angeles native, scored 13, while Willis tallied 12.

The Rebels were 29-of-54 from the floor, and 8-of-14 from 3-point range.

For Tulsa, senior guard Justin Hurtt led the way with 15.

For full postgame coverage, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.

3:53, Second Half, UNLV leads 73-63

ANAHEIM, Calif. — UNLV got a bit sloppy when leading by nearly 20 against Tulsa, and while the Golden Hurricane may be tired and thin on the bench, it hasn't gone away.

Tulsa trails by 10, 73-63, with just under four minutes to play.

The Rebels appeared poised to pull away again when Derrick Jasper hit a corner 3-pointer to put them back up by 13 with seven minutes to go, but turnovers by Carlos Lopez and Anthony Marshall have ended offensive possessions short.

Jasper currently leads UNLV with both 13 points and 10 rebounds.

11:54, Second Half, UNLV leads 60-45

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Derrick Jasper has posted the first double-double of his collegiate career, and it's helped UNLV pull away from Tulsa early in the second half in Anaheim. The Rebels now lead, 60-45, and are inching closer to a 6:30 p.m. date tomorrow with Murray State.

Jasper hit a huge 3-pointer from the left corner after a 3-on-1 break from a Tre'Von Willis steal, and now has 10 points to go with his 10 rebounds. It was a play after Chace Stanback continued his big second half with a step-back 18-foot jumper on the left wing. Stanback and Oscar Bellfield lead the Rebels with 11 points apiece, while Quintrell Thomas and Willis each have eight.

UNLV has forced 16 Tulsa turnovers, and the second half has been quite predictable, as the Rebels' depth and defensive pressure is slowly cracking the Golden Hurricane.

The one blemish on UNLV's night so far is 6-of-11 free throw shooting. From the floor, UNLV is 24-of-44, and the Rebels are 7-of-12 from 3-point range.

Halftime, UNLV leads 40-31

ANAHEIM, Calif. — UNLV is starting to wear Tulsa down just before the half, and the break couldn't have come fast enough for the Golden Hurricane. A last-second layup by Oscar Bellfield gave the Rebels a 40-31 lead at the break, as their depth is beginning to become an issue for Tulsa.

Bellfield led the Rebels with nine points in the first half, but in reality, it was an effort where everyone contributed a little bit.

Derrick Jasper has five points and seven boards, while Tre'Von Willis and Quintrell Thomas each have six points. The Rebels are an efficient 15-of-31 from the floor, while Tulsa, after a strong start, is 9-of-21.

Tulsa's bench, which we knew would be an issue for the Hurricane coming in, has produced only six points, while UNLV's has scored 13.

The Rebels have also done this without much from Chace Stanback. Their leading scorer on the season only has four points so far.

UNLV is also wearing Tulsa down inside, out-scoring them in the paint, 14-6.

There's a good chance that UNLV could push Tulsa out of the way here early in the second half. The depth truly appears that it's going to be an increasing issue.

3:08, First Half, UNLV leads 32-28

ANAHEIM, Calif. — UNLV is finally starting to open things up offensively, using the momentum created by a pair of threes coming back-to-back by Anthony Marshall and Tre'Von Willis.

The three by Marshall was his second on the season, and could be big in helping him break out of a mini-funk on the offensive end, as he was quieted by Wisconsin last Saturday.

Also assisting in the latest offensive spurt was Carlos Lopez. The redshirt freshman big man hit a pair of free throws after trying to lay in a ball he should have dunked. He learned the lesson on his own, though, as on the next trip down the floor, he took a feed from Willis and slammed it home with two hands.

Still, the thorn in UNLV's side on the other end is Steven Idlet, who hit a free throw and then an 18-foot jumper, and is helping Tulsa keep pace. He has seven points, while senior guard Justin Hurtt has 10.

7:53, First Half, UNLV leads 20-17

ANAHEIM, Calif. — UNLV is pressuring a thin Tulsa team on the defensive end, forcing turnovers and miscues. But on the other end, the Rebels have hardly looked fluid so far, yet still lead 20-17 with eight minutes to play in the first half.

The Rebels are a strong 8-of-16 from the floor, but its the number of looks they're getting that is the issue so far. Tulsa has matched UNLV's defensive prowess almost every step of the way.

Just before the latest media timeout, Tre'Von Willis cashed his first field gaol of the game, with a 3-pointer from the left corner.

Quintrell Thomas leads the team right now with six points. His third bucket came on a mid-range jumper, and he only has one foul to this point while playing regular minutes.

This game to this point has the feel of one that UNLV will have to get with a strong second half performance. Tulsa's bench quality is clearly not what equal to UNLV's, and it almost looks like a game where the Rebels could win it by simply waiting for the Golden Hurrican regulars to have little left in the tank.

15:49, First Half, UNLV leads 9-7

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Quintrell Thomas reversed his early game fortunes of late to start tonight's game, providing a pair of early buckets as UNLV leads Tulsa four minutes in, 9-7.

The sophomore Kansas transfer, who was limited to 15 minutes in the last two games combined due to foul trouble, backed off a bit and wisely let Tulsa's Steven Idlet execute interior moves, but was aggressive on the offensive end instead.

Meanwhile, as expected, the starters on both sides are matched up pretty evenly. UNLV, though, is starting to dip into its bench, while Tulsa doesn't have nearly as deep of a tank to reach into, and things are starting to get sloppy for the Golden Hurricane.

An interesting moment happened just two minutes in, when off of a turnover on the near sideline, UNLV's Oscar Bellfield let the ball roll away while walking away from the action. The ref said to him 'Hey, get me the ball next time, Chief.' A minute later, Bellfield was called for a questionable foul on the defensive end. He'll probably learn a lesson from that one.

Pregame

ANAHEIM, Calif. — There's no such thing as a holiday on Thanksgiving Day this year for the UNLV men's basketball team, who is closing in on tip-off of its opening round game at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif.

The Anaheim Convention Center's odd lighting and shape has helped cause some ugly offensive games to this point today.

Both favorites advanced in the afternoon games, as Oklahoma State knocked off DePaul, 60-56, while Virginia Tech slammed host Cal State Northridge, 72-56. The Cowboys and Hokies will meet in the first of two winner's bracket semifinals tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.

As for UNLV (3-0) and Tulsa (2-1), they're playing for the right to face Murray State in the other semi at 6:30 p.m. The Racers, who came within two points of knocking off eventual national runner-up Butler and advancing to the Sweet 16 at last year's NCAA tournament, out-ran Stanford, 55-52.

As for the nightcap, the line on the game back in Las Vegas is quite interesting. It opened at UNLV as a five-point favorite, then went off of the boards at several books and re-opened at 9.5. As far as I can tell, there's been no late injury notes on either side, but either way, the match-up favors the Rebels greatly.

Both teams are coming in rested, but where the biggest mismatch lies is in the depth department.

If tonight's game is called by the refs as tight as UNLV's 68-65 victory over Wisconsin was last Saturday, the Golden Hurricane could be in some big trouble.

That's especially true in the backcourt, as Tulsa is without a reserve point guard, following the knee injury suffered by senior Glenn Andrews in the season's second game.

On the UNLV side, here are three things I'm watching for tonight ...

1) How does Tre'Von Willis look compared from his first game to the second? Conditioning-wise, he looked better than I expected in 23 minutes against Wisconsin. The next step in his return from a four-game suspension is getting his offensive fire back. Willis, who led the Rebels in scoring last season with 17.2 points per game, had only four on 2-of-7 shooting against the Badgers. This could be a good spot for him to get back on track, as a thin Tulsa group is likely to tire sooner than Wisconsin did.

2) Can Quintrell Thomas get his groove back? He's been held to only 15 total minutes over the Rebels' last two games due to bad foul trouble. The coaching staff obviously still thinks he's the guy as UNLV's starting center, and he'll assume that role again tonight despite recent ineffectiveness. It's also a good move because, over the past few years, junior Brice Massamba has been at his best when coming off of the bench as opposed to starting. In the last two games combined, he's gone for 18 points and eight rebounds.

3) Sticking with the big men, can Carlos Lopez keep it up? He still has a lot of ground to make up on the defensive end, but is exceeding in the role he's asked to fill so far off of the bench. He leads the team with nine blocks this season. Against Tulsa's skilled junior forward Steven Idlet, can he be as strong? Yet another big test for the young forward.

I'll be back with more after tip-off, and as always, don't forget to add the #unlvmbb tag to your in-game tweets to join the in-game conversation ... even on Thanksgiving!

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  1. How about Jasper with a double-double with 13+ minutes left to play!?

  2. Anyone else think barring injury or suspension that Karam made a mistake by not redshirting? Where are his minutes going to come from?

  3. It doesn't look like anybody is there. What is the attendance?

  4. Anyone else shocked at how well we are shooting the 3 as a team? That was supposed to be a weakness after losing Shaw and Wallace, but we're hitting at a pretty high percentage consistently. Everything I had heard made it seem like shooters were struggling with the odd setup of the convention center. Didn't seem to bother us too much.

  5. I am very impressed with Derrick Jasper. He might be our best all-around player since Shawn Marion.

  6. Buck, attendance was announced at about 2K ... More like around 1,500

  7. Crowd reminded me of the game UNLV played in St. George during NFR a few years ago. I couldn't believe that 15,000 people will go to the Mack for a game but less than 2,000 will go 2 hours (in tonight's case, 4) down the road to watch the Rebs.

    Great to see a game on ESPN3, for those of us without the cables/satellites. I'd never gripe again about the MWC TV situation if Versus/CSTV had a similar setup.

  8. Officiating was God aweful......again. Phantom call after phantom call. It's like.....UNLV plays too fast for slow officials to keep up, so they blow the whistle in anticipation of what 'could' be a foul. Several calls were very legit but over 50 percent were not. Starting to not enjoy watching any of their games. No flow and it's almost a guarantee that when playing a decent team the officials will keep it close no matter what. Look at the free throws attempted by the oppostion in the freakin box score of the last two games for heavens sake. No way should Wisconsin or Tulsa been anywhere close to us towards the end of the game.

  9. Agree, it seemed there for awhile, during that 3 sec in the key span, the refs called something on UNLV every time down the floor... makes you wonder. Any of their guys attack the rim and they get a call, lopez bounces through the lane being hit and no calls were made.