unlv basketball:

UNLV reminiscent of early-‘90s teams in 124-75 victory against Central Arkansas

Chace Stanback scores 29 points, leading Rebels to their most points since 1991

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV’s Oscar Bellfield, Brice Massamba and Mike Moser celebrate a play against Central Arkansas during their game Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV scored their most points since the 1990-91 season in beating Central Arkansas 124-75.

UNLV vs. Central Arkansas

KSNV coverage of UNLV Rebels facing off against Central Arkansas, Dec. 28, 2011.

UNLV vs. Central Arkansas

UNLV forward Chace Stanback kisses his fingers after draining a three point shot against Central Arkansas during their game Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Stanback had 29 points and UNLV scored their most points since the 1990-91 season in beating Central Arkansas 124-75. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

Rebel Room postgame edition — Rebels post 124 points in win

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Taylor Bern and Ray Brewer talk about the UNLV basketball team's offensive explosion in a 124-75 victory against Central Arkansas and look ahead to the New Year's Even game at Hawaii.

There was a familiar feeling in the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday night.

The Rebels’ recent string of highlights paled in comparison to the sheer volume dunks, dishes and swishes in a 124-75 victory against Central Arkansas. It’s the most points UNLV has scored since a 126-83 victory at Utah State on Jan. 28, 1991.

That was coach Dave Rice’s senior season at UNLV. The year before, as a 21-year-old junior, he sat in the back of a convertible that paraded through the streets of Las Vegas celebrating a national championship.

That moment came to mind after Wednesday’s victory.

“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is special. Because it’s not just about us, it’s about an entire community that believes in the Rebels,’ ” Rice said. “That’s what we want to be; we want to be the Las Vegas community’s team. We’re proud of that and we know we have a long way to go. … We’re trying to get back to great things.”

Greatness doesn’t seem too far away after posting a video-game-type statistic like 40 assists on 47 made baskets.

This was the Rebels’ first 100-point game of the season and the 211th in school history. UNLV (14-2) trailed after the first four minutes, but then a 21-2 run sparked the rout.

UNLV senior Chace Stanback led all scorers with 29 points, including 9-of-11 3-pointers, and sophomore Mike Moser finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

The good times they had on the court carried into the postgame press conference, where the pair cracked jokes and answered each other’s questions.

Does Stanback remember the last time he threw a lob pass, as he did to junior Anthony Marshall in the first half?

“No,” Moser said, laughing.

Indeed, Stanback showed the lob is not yet in his wheelhouse by tossing an errant one past the rim in the direction of Marshall. No matter. Marshall brought the ball around and gave it back to Stanback, who sank a 3-pointer that sent the crowd into hysterics for the team’s 100th point.

After the shot Stanback just smiled. With his recent tear behind the 3-point line — he’s 20-for-27 in the last three games — Stanback has about run out of different ways to celebrate.

“The basket is probably about four feet wide in his eyes right now,” Rice said.

It helps when those shots are coming within UNLV’s offense, and that’s exactly what Central Arkansas allowed the Rebels to do.

The Bears (5-7) wanted to run. They tried to run. They’re just not nearly as good at it as UNLV.

“Not surprised, but kind of thankful actually that they tried, just because it helped us out so much,” Moser said. “That’s how we want to play. If a team comes in and they start running, we look at each other and think, ‘Yes, here we go.’ ”

UNLV’s quick lead allowed it to do a lot of things that may help down the line.

Firstly, starting center Brice Massamba played just five minutes.

“He’s struggled all year long with sore knees, and we practice hard, run up and down the floor a lot, so anytime we have the opportunity to rest him (we do),” Rice said.

Also, sophomore transfer guard Reggie Smith played more than he had in his two previous games combined, registering 13 points and five assists in 11 minutes. The one drawback to Smith’s game is that he had to leave early because of a head injury after he was inadvertently struck by an opponents’ arm.

“He lost four or five minutes at the end of the game, but it was a positive to get him quality minutes,” Rice said. “Thought he did a good job.”

Smith was meeting with team doctors after the game, but as long as he doesn’t have to miss time then this was a big step forward for him and for the team in figuring out how he fits in.

Also, the lead allowed bench guys Karam Mashour and Wade Norman to play some meaningful minutes.

Mashour equaled his season point total with eight, including a dunk, in seven minutes, and Norman, a Las Vegas native, hit a 3-pointer for the first points of his UNLV career.

That may have been Moser’s highlight of the game.

“That’s probably the most fun part about games like this,” Moser said. “Honestly, that’s something we almost look forward to, is let’s go in, try and blow a team out and get our guys in off the bench. That’s what we think about right before the game starts.”

Rice has been preaching unselfish play and the pay-it-forward mentality that follows and results in more unselfish play. It’s that kind of mentality that leads to 40 assists.

And it’s fair to say every Rebel on the court and in the stands was feeling that contagious spirit.

Just like the glory days.

“This is our team,” Rice said. “And when I say our team, it’s not my team or the players’ team, this is a team that represents the Las Vegas community.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. i had season tickets to the Championship season , i want to believe as much as i loved the 90-91 team that this team Rice has is a very exciting team

  2. That 40 assist stat is amazing, lots of unselfish play by Bellfield and Marshall is key. Expect the unexpected with this team :) www.RebelReign.com

  3. To get overly excited about beating Central Arkansas-by any margin-is idiotic.

  4. Ooh, isn't Shykid the cool guy of the group. Nothing impresses him because he's too cool for school!

    Scoring 124 points and having 40 assists is incredible. Even if Central Arkansas isn't a great school they are still a Div. 1 school and their RPI has them better than over 140 other schools in the league.

    There have been more lopsided games in the league this season, but still the better teams haven't been able to put up the numbers we did last night.

  5. Congrats??? It's Central Arkansas... I would hope that you would beat them by a huge margin. The bigger story would be that Central Arkansas scored 75 points though!

  6. Good stuff Coach Rice...I for one am glad that Central Arkansas was scheduled. I think they new if they ran with us this could happen but thats the style their coach wants them to play in the future and he challenged his players. The home games have been rough to watch at times when the other side just holds the ball even when down by double digits. These guys ran all night highly entertaining track meet. I hope they keep them on the schedule.
    As a fan(alum) and season ticket holder I love what I'm seeing: good crowds, Mendenhall Center looks almost complete,the team is winning and being recognized nationallly (espn top 10 highlights), coach Tark sightings, its all good in the hood these days!!!!

  7. It's funny how people come here talking about how UNLV is supposed to blow lower-tier opponents out of the water and score 120+ all the time, yet in ALL of Division I basketball this year, how many teams have put up 120+ points?

    If you look at some of the best teams in the Top 25, they have played opponents much worse than (5-7) Central Arkansas team and have not put up that many points.

    This team is really good. Enjoy the season!