Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 | 8:52 p.m.
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Las Vegas Sun reporters Taylor Bern and Case Keefer discuss the UNLV basketball team's victory against Louisiana Monroe. The No. 21 Rebels used 29 points from Chace Stanback is easily defeating the overmatched Warhawks.
Let’s not put much stock in the UNLV basketball team’s 81-63 victory Monday against one-win Louisiana Monroe.
You could easily argue UNLV let the inferior opponent hang around too long early in the game, needing a 15-7 scoring run in the final five minutes of the first half to stretch an uncomfortable two point lead to a 10-point halftime advantage.
On the flip side, the manner in which UNLV (12-2) dominated the second half was impressive and definitely a good indicator of the Rebels’ potential. Just remember the opposition — Louisiana Monroe has only eight wins in the last two years — wasn’t expected to put up much of a fight.
While the game had more than its share of dull moments in the first half, those were easily forgotten with a sequence of plays to open the second half. If you weren’t at the Thomas & Mack Center to see Mike Moser’s back-to-back dunks, you missed two of UNLV’s top highlight-reel style plays of the season. On the second dunk, he took an alley-oop pass from Oscar Bellfield in transition and hammered home a reverse dunk. Wow.
Put it this way, the video package played at the Rebels’ end-of-the-year banquet is going to be flooded with highlights from the second half. Plenty of dunks and blocks, and blocks and dunks.
Here are some observations from the game.
• The Rebels got the line: UNLV aggressively took the ball to the basket all night, drawing 18 fouls and taking 25 foul shots. In the first half, the Rebels were in the bonus for nearly eight minutes in attempting 18 from the charity stripe. Sure, it’s easy to create off the dribble against an overmatched Louisiana Monroe, but the mentality of being the aggressor is what is significant. It definitely creates some entertaining moments.
• Chace’s Stanback’s great night: After struggling in the win Saturday against Illinois, Chace Stanback wasted little time getting his rhythm back. Stanback connected on 5-of-5 attempts on 3-pointers in the first half, twice nailing shots after Louisiana Monroe cut the Rebels’ lead to two points. He finished with 29 points on 10-of-13 shooting in getting his confidence back. For the Rebels to be successful moving forward, Stanback will need to be a crucial part of the offense. After all, he’s been their leading scorer the last two years.
• Reggie’s debut: Reggie Smith had three points, two rebounds and an assist in his UNLV debut, showing small glimpses of what he’ll bring to the rotation. There is no doubting the Marquette transfer’s athletic ability — his quickness and leaping ability are downright special. But in playing nine minutes, Smith showed there is more to his game. He nailed a 3-pointer on his first attempt, made several good passes and had good court presence. He’s going to be a big-time contributor moving forward.