Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011 | 12:05 a.m.
- BOX SCORE: UNLV 83, Grand Canyon 66
- Performances from Justin Hawkins, Mike Moser in opening-night victory gives Rebels something to build on (11-12-2011)
- Live blog: Career night from Justin Hawkins, strong second half carry Rebels to opening night win in Rice’s debut (11-11-2011)
- Rice has strong hand in first season as UNLV coach (11-10-2011)
- Demetris Morant is raw in talent and full of potential; inks with UNLV on signing da (11-9-2011)
- Analysis: Taking a look at some important games on the UNLV basketball schedule (11-9-2011)
- Anthony Marshall out for opener for secondary NCAA violation in honest mistake (11-8-2011)
- 2011-12 UNLV Men's Basketball Schedule
- All UNLV Men's Basketball Coverage
So much for gradually returning to the UNLV basketball team’s lineup.
Senior sharp-shooter Kendall Wallace played 38 of 40 minutes Friday in the Rebels’ season-opening 83-66 victory against Grand Canyon, successfully affecting the game in his return from redshirting to rehab a severe ACL injury.
Wallace made only 2-of-9 of his 3-pointers, connecting on consecutive shots midway through the first half to finish with six points. While he surely was unhappy with his shooting percentage, the simple fact he played — and played extended minutes — is significant.
The UNLV coaching staff limited his activity in practice this week, but with just seven scholarship players for Friday’s game, Wallace rose to the occasion. That helped him earned some stripes with first-year coach Dave Rice.
“He is such a tough guy, such a team guy. I think he just hates missing,” Rice said.
Only 13 fouls called on Rebels
When centers Brice Massamba and Quintrell Thomas both had two fouls in the first half, Rice was understandably worried. With Carlos Lopez out with an sprained ankle and the Rebels shorthanded with two suspensions, foul trouble definitely would have spelled disaster.
But it didn’t.
The Rebels stayed disciplined while playing aggressively and had only 13 total fouls called for the game. Thomas and Massamba each were whistled three times.
“One of the things that makes us good potentially is our defensive pressure and our depth, and we just hammered home with our guys for two or three days (in practice) making really smart plays on the defensive end and not reaching,” Rice said.
Grand Canyon was called for 24 fouls in sending UNLV to the free throw line 30 times. The Rebels, however, connected on only 50-percent of their attempts.
While making only 15-of-30 free throws is concerning, Rice was pleased his team executed the game plan of getting to the line, which stopped the clock and gave a short-handed squad time to get a breather.
Rosegreen stars in alumni game … again
The program held its annual Legends Game during halftime, with Warren Rosegreen (1995 to ’97) again stealing the show.
Most of the former players were out of shape and carrying a few extra pounds in comparison to their playing days, but 6-foot-4 Rosegreen looked like the same player that shined on Bill Bayno’s first UNLV teams.
Rosegreen’s night included at least four dunks — the third straight year he’s been the best player on the court in the alumni game.
Other notable players in the game included: Freddie Banks, Moses Scurry, Jermaine “Sunshine” Smith, Reggie Manuel and Evric Gray.
Former Rebel Marcus Banks, an NBA Lottery pick and the best player during Charlie Spoonhour’s tenure, was in the arena but didn’t play in the game. It was one of the first times Banks has made an appearance back at UNLV.