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Blog: UNLV falls to Wisconsin 62-51

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Sam Morris

Wisconsin guard Jordan Smith grabs a rebound from UNLV during their game at the Kohl Center in Madison Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011.

Updated Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011 | 1:04 p.m.

UNLV vs. Wisconsin Basketball

UNLV head coach Dave Rice looks down while walking along the bench during their game against Wisconsin at the Kohl Center in Madison Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011. Wisconsin won the game 62-51, dropping UNLV to 9-2 on the season. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

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Las Vegas Sun reporter Taylor Bern previews UNLV's big matchup against No. 14 Wisconsin with the help of Fox Sports Wisconsin's Jesse Temple. The guys break down the key matchups to the game and make their predictions.

Another trip to the Midwest, another opposing guard abusing UNLV's defense with three-pointers. This time it was Wisconsin's Ben Brust doing the damage, leading No. 14 Wisconsin to a 62-51 victory with 25 points on 8-of-9 shooting, including all seven three-pointers he attempted.

Wisconsin's heralded point guard Jordan Taylor looked out of sorts all game, finishing 0-for-10 from the floor. But with Brust firing from the outside and the Badgers' bigs helping grab 10 offensive rebounds, it didn't matter. Taylor dished out six assists and Wisconsin committed just 10 turnovers. UNLV had 15.

Both teams finished the game under 40 percent shooting from the field. However, Wisconsin's work on the offensive glass made the difference as the Badgers attempted eight more shots, including 14 more attempts behind the three-point line.

Chace Stanback led the Rebels with 16 points. He was the only guy for UNLV who played well from the opening tip and brought the required energy. Carlos Lopez also looked good coming off the bench, scoring nine points. However, UNLV's starting guards combined for just nine points as Oscar Bellfield shot 3-for-12 from the floor.

The same problems the Rebels faced against the Shockers showed up again. Now they have to work harder to find the answers.

Badgers' Brust has 22 points as UNLV trails 55-42

This Wisconsin team, and the home fans, have a way of lulling you to sleep. The only thing keeping anyone awake is Badgers guard Ben Brust, who has hit a pair of NBA-range three-pointers in the second half and leads all scorers with 22 points. Wisconsin leads 55-42 with 6:28 remaining.

Just like Wichita State's Joe Ragland did last week, Brust hit a couple of open long balls early in the game and now has confidence to shoot it from anywhere. It doesn't help that he's been open for just about all of his shots. Once he shows that he's got that range, you have to get out and guard him as soon as he crosses midcourt.

If the Rebels defense could contain Brust, then maybe they could get back into the game. Moser has grabbed some rebound that started fast breaks and the team is shooting better. But as long as Brust keeps hitting three-pointers, UNLV can't make up any ground.

UNLV tries to cut into deficit at Wisconsin

UNLV has life in Madison, but that's just enough to give them a chance. The Rebels trail 40-28 with 14:55 remaining.

In order to win, UNLV needs to find some composure and finish on the offensive end. The Rebels still don't have any offensive rebounds, so they must either correct their situation on the glass, or start making some of their shots. Wisconsin's defense isn't really forcing UNLV into bad shots, but their aim is off and nobody is getting into the paint to give them hope for second-chance points.

UNLV down 13 at halftime against Wisconsin

Where does coach Dave Rice begin with his halftime speech? The Rebels are in a 36-23 hole because they've been outplayed in just about every phase.

On defense, they haven't pressured the Badgers into poor looks, instead suffering from poor rotation and ball fakes that have left Wisconsin's perimeter shooters open. Even when the Badgers miss, they're crashing the boards with far more authority than the Rebels, grabbing nine offensive rebounds in the first half. UNLV, meanwhile, has none.

The best news for UNLV has been Chace Stanback. When he's on the court, the Rebels play with more fire. He's also the only making shots. At the break he has 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including a pair of three-pointers. Foul trouble kept him on the bench for much of the first half, but Rice may have little choice but to keep him on the court even if he picks up his third foul early in the second half.

Mike Moser's wrist injury has thrown him off his offensive game. That's OK, but when he's on the court he has to lead the Rebels' rebounding efforts, which were awful in the first half. Wisconsin has 22 total rebounds; UNLV has 12. Both teams are shooting below 40 percent, so it's not like the Rebels can't get back into this. But the way to do it is on the glass, where they can limit the Badgers' possessions to one shot and give themselves multiple looks when they have the ball.

A lot has to change in the second half. The Rebels got out and running a little bit before the break. Now they have to figure out what worked in those two possessions and unleash it on the Badgers as soon as the second half gets underway.

UNLV wakes up, but Wisconsin still in control

UNLV found some life via Chace Stanback, but then the guard-forward committed his second foul and had to go to the bench. Still, his back-to-back three-pointers seem to have energized his teammates, as the Rebels are much more active on both ends of the court. Wisconsin leads 23-15 with about seven minutes left in the first half.

The Rebels' problems right now all involve rebounding. The Badgers are wearing down the clock offensively, and then grabbing offensive rebounds to keep the possession going. Meanwhile, the Rebels' offense is putting up shots early in the shot clock and not getting any second-chance opportunities. Both teams are shooting right around 35 percent, but the Badgers have twice as many field goals because they have twice as many attempts. That has to change.

All in all, these players are stating to wake up, and it should be an entertaining run before halftime. At least that's what UNLV is hoping for.

Wisconsin controls pace early against UNLV

Wisconsin is getting what it wants early, going to the first media break with a 5-2 lead in a sllooooww game. The Rebels' attempts to speed it up thus far have resulted in a turnover and a miss. All in all, not a good start.

Mike Moser took a jump shot right away again in this game. And just like Wednesday night, he looked uncomfortable. He also missed badly on a transition pass, so we'll have to see how he adapts to a wrist sprain that still seems to be bothering him.

Defensively, UNLV is doing just fine. The only points they've given up were on a deep three-pointer and a putback. They're fine on that end, just need to get their offense fired up a bit.

UNLV faces another road test at No. 14 Wisconsin

Scene: A chilly Midwestern afternoon, the biting wind outside just as uninviting as the loud, screaming fans inside the basketball arena.

UNLV has co-starred in this play before, and it didn’t go well the first time around. Let’s call that a dress rehearsal.

Since that 89-70 loss at Wichita State, the Rebels got a chance to sharpen their skills against Cal State San Marcos. They had fun in that game, and they enjoyed being in Las Vegas for few days. These are indications that today will be a better game, but it’s certainly no guarantee.

Wisconsin’s Jordan Taylor is one of the most dangerous point guards in the country, and as he goes, so go the Badgers. It will be up to Rebel guards Justin Hawkins, Oscar Bellfield and Anthony Marshall, who will likely all guard him at various points in the game, to create turnovers and knock Taylor out of his game.

It’s also important for Mike Moser to play his usual game on the boards.

The Shockers limited Moser’s impact with double teams, making it much harder for him to sky for rebounds like he usually does. UNLV needs his 12 rebounds, because at least half of those usually lead to run-outs at the other end and easy points.

If the Rebels can’t accomplish either of those things — turning over Taylor and Moser getting rebounds — they’ll have a tough time hanging with the Badgers, who have lost just 12 games at the Kohl Center in the last 11 years.

The Kohl Center is a large arena that seats 17,230, which means there may be some empty seats today. Either way, it’s expected to be rocking for this game.

As with most UNLV games, tempo is another key. The Rebels want to run; the Badgers want to put you to sleep. It’s as great a contrast of styles as you’re likely to see this season and, because both teams are so good, it’s unlikely that either will completely get what they want.

So expect something in the middle, with a few Rebel run-outs and plenty of Badger half-court sets.

Bern’s prediction: This will be an NCAA Tournament resume builder for whoever gets the victory. Both have pride to play for, too. UNLV doesn’t feel it should lose by 19 to anyone, let alone Wichita State, and Wisconsin suffered a rare home loss to Marquette just last week. They want to reassert their home-court dominance. With that said, I’ve got a feeling that the Rebels are going to get running against the Badgers. Not the whole game, but enough that it will take Wisconsin out of its game and force Taylor into decisions that he wouldn’t normally make. UNLV 67, No. 14 Wisconsin 61.

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  1. UNLV defense FG percentage. If Wisconsin shoots 50%....blowout loss. 40-50%...75% chance of winning. 30-40 (highly unlikely because we're awful at defense) 50-50 chance of us winning. UNLV HAS TO STEP UP ON DEFENSE! And someone off the bench needs to have a stellar game. We all know Hawkins was a one hit wonder and won't have another game like that until MAYBE Utep, if not, the other rubbish team we have later on in december. Kendall or Lopez needs a big game.

  2. Rebel fans are in for a treat, Gus Johnson calling the game on the B10 Network.

    Nailed it, Aussie. If we play defense like we've been playing, it's going to be a humiliating loss. Hopefully Coach Rice has corrected the problem, and Moser will be 100%. Go Rebels

  3. This team just does not bring it on the road. Lucky to survive UCSB, blown away at Wichita and about to suffer the same today. Horrible rebounding, poor defense and sprinkled in with poor turnovers. Could Bellfield play any worse? Wow.

  4. So much for that storybook season. Think UNLV teased everyone in Vegas early on with the upset of UNC. They looked to be a different team but have played like crap ever since that game. Typial average talent Kruger team with a different coach. Played down to the level of teams like UCSB and Witchita St. I don't how UNLV dominates UNC who basically dominated Wisconsin and then they come in and get their asses handed to them by Wisconsin. Blew a great opportunity to beat a ranked Big 10 team on national TV in front of a VERY QUIET Wisconin crowd. The Kohl Center is so quiet you could hear a pin drop yet UNLV is playing like they are in Cameron Arena. A chance to get back into the top 25 and they didn't show up. I've never seen a more uninspired UNLV team then what was on the court today. Even the coaching staff looks like their not in it.

  5. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

  6. Simply put. Our guards don't play defense. With the exception of Justin Hawkins. Oscar and Marshall do a lot of standing and ball watching. I saw it last year and was hoping it would change this year. Horrible defensive guard play will kill us the rest of the year.

  7. Give credit to Wisconsin, they make a lot of teams look bad, that's the Bo Ryan style. It is more than a little puzzling the lack of enthusiasm shown since UNC. Perimeter defense is non-existent. it;s almost like we're guessing which opponents' guard will have their career best offensive game these days. Better figure something out quick, Illinois is pretty tough and plays in a much more hostile environment.

  8. Looks like the reb's are done playing way over their heads...lol...

  9. We arent what people thought we were. Rice may turn into a great coach but he has a long long way to go. Allthe players need to stop reading there press clipings and play ball. This is the second game in a row our starting stink............

  10. May I suggest that Coach Rice read "Practical Modern Basketball" by J.R. Wooden, and figure out to apply those methods of successfully traveling a team?

  11. The honeymoon is over. This is what the true Rebel team will look like. We need to recruit more talent. That's the only way we can become consistent. Anyone can have a monster game once a year (UNC)...we need to field a team that can play consistently good all year long.

  12. This is the way the Rebels have been the past few years prior to league play: Flat-cold-smackin' some weak nonconference opponents, getting an even bigger head on their shoulders by beating a nationally ranked team with a great history (it was Louisville the last couple of years, then UNC this year) and then...reality.

    It would be great if the Rebels would schedule fewer nonconference cupcakes so we could really see what this team is capable of, but that's what the front office seems to want.

  13. Belfied sucks