UNLV BASKETBALL:

Live blog: Rebels squander big lead, hang on for 71-67 win against Nevada-Reno

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Sam Morris

UNLV forward Brice Massamba celebrates a put back against Nevada-Reno during their game Monday, Nov. 14, 2011 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Updated Monday, Nov. 14, 2011 | 9:16 p.m.

UNLV basketball tops Nevada-Reno, 71-67

UNLV forward Mike Moser swats the ball away from Nevada-Reno forward Dario Hunt during their game Monday, Nov. 14, 2011 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Launch slideshow »

The UNLV basketball team saw a comfortable 18-point lead with about six minutes to play Monday trimmed to one point by visiting Nevada-Reno before prevailing 71-67 at the Thomas & Mack Center for their second win in four days to open the season.

UNLV was the aggressor most of the night, limiting UNR to 29-percent shooting and just seven first-half field goals in building a double-digit advantage.

But the Rebels could never pull away, leaving room for Nevada-Reno to mount its comeback. While Nevada-Reno struggled from the field most of the night, it stayed close at the free throw line in making 22-of-33 attempts. Also, Deonte Burton scored 20 first-half points in recording a game-high 28 points.

Burton’s off-balance 3-pointer from the corner with about 20 seconds to play to cut the Wolf Pack’s deficit to one point, 68-67. But Anthony Marshall extended the lead to three points for the Rebels by making a pair of fouls shots on the ensuing possession and Nevada-Reno misfired on a pair of desperation 3-pointers late.

Justin Hawkins made 1-of-2 fouls shots with 3.3 seconds to play in leading UNLV with 13 points, while Chace Stanback scored 12 points in his season debut.

Check back later for more on this game. It wasn’t pretty, but the Rebels had flashes of great play to build on for Thursday when they host Canisius back at the Mack.

Rebels comfortably ahead by double-digits, starting to pull away from Nevada-Reno

UNLV has led by double digits for virtually the entire second half against Nevada-Reno, using a 3-pointer from Oscar Bellfield with 8:25 to play in the game for a 57-42 lead.

If it weren’t for the Wolf Pack’s Deonte Burton’s 22 points, Nevada-Reno would be in serious trouble. Regardless, Burton has been held in check in the second half with just two points.

Carlos Lopez has been solid off the bench all game, recording nine points and four rebounds in his return from a sprained ankle. Despite still be slowed, he has been one of UNLV’s most active players, protecting the glass defensively with three blocks and taking the ball to the rim offensively.

The rivalry between UNLV and Nevada-Reno isn’t as heated in basketball as football, but several in the student section have been showing their spirit with chants of “Reno sucks” for most the second half.

Rebels holding Nevada-Reno to 25-percent shooting, lead by 11 with 14 to play

The UNLV basketball team holds an 11-point advantage against Nevada-Reno with 14:41 to play at the Thomas & Mack Center, hanging onto a relatively comfortable lead despite some chaotic play offensively.

UNLV has forced the issue offensively in the initial five minutes of the first half, often speeding up the court too quickly and taking a rushed shot.

Still, UNLV was able to increase its nine-point halftime lead and continue to be aggressive on both ends of the court. The aggression has led to five early fouls on UNLV in the first half, meaning Nevada-Reno could spend a majority of the remainder of the game at the foul line trying to erase its deficit.

Reno has already attempted 20 fouls shots, converting on 14 attempts in staying close. In comparison, they have made just nine field goals and are shooting 25-percent from the field.

Rebels ahead 38-29 at halftime against Nevada-Reno thanks to 10 points from Justin Hawkins

Maybe the performances of Justin Hawkins and Mike Moser Friday in the UNLV basketball team’s season opener were a sign of things to come the rest of the season.

Hawkins, who had a career high 25 points against Grand Canyon, has continued his impressive start to the season Monday, scoring 10 points off the bench in the first half against Nevada-Reno to help the Rebels lead at break, 38-29.

Moser has 10 rebounds and five steals in 16 minutes, attempting to record back-to-back 20 rebound games to start his UNLV career. He had 20 rebounds Friday.

UNLV led by as many as 16 points in the first half, using its up-tempo style of play to give Reno fits on both ends of the court.

Deonte Burton kept the Wolf Pack in the game by scoring 20 points, including a 3-pointer at the first half buzzer.

Hawkins leads the Rebels with 10 points and Chace Stanback has nine points. Defensively, the Rebels already have six blocks, three coming from Carlos Lopez.

Stanback’s nine points, Moser’s eight boards help UNLV take double-digit lead

Chace Stanback has nine points through the 16 minutes and the UNLV basketball team is beating Nevada-Reno, 29-16.

Stanback’s 3-pointer from the corner gave UNLV its first double digit lead of the night, and Justin Hawkins followed on the Rebels’ next possession with a 3-pointer of his own from almost the identical spot.

UNLV has been the aggressor on both ends of the court, pushing the ball offensively at every chance in clearly wearing down the opposition. Several UNLV buckets have come in transition.

Mike Moser, who had 20 rebounds Friday against Grand Canyon, is working on a triple-double. He already has eight rebounds, five steals and four points.

Rebels running past Nevada-Reno, score four straight points on fast break

This is how Dave Rice’s high-intensity game plan is supposed to work.

The UNLV basketball team has went on a 9-2 run against Nevada-Reno to erase an early four-point deficit and take a 15-12 lead with 11:20 remaining in the first half.

Carlos Lopez, who missed Friday’s opener with a sprained ankle, started the outburst with a block on the defensive end. Anthony Marshall received the ball on the fast break, driving to the basket and drawing a foul.

After Marshall hit a pair of foul shots, the Rebels came up with a steal near midcourt and Lopez outraced his defender to the rim for an uncontested dunk.

For arguably the first time in the Rebels’ two games to start the season, they were running like advertized. The crowd, which has high hopes under the first-year Rice, responded by wildly cheering.

The stat sheet is pretty balanced midway through the game with the exception of the rebounding category. UNLV outrebounding UNR, 11-4.

Rebels in early four point hole against Nevada-Reno

Chace Stanback is perfect on two field goal attempts in his first action of the season, but the UNLV basketball team has been out of control offensively early against Nevada-Reno and trails 10-6 four minutes into the game.

Brice Massamba has the Rebels’ other points in what has been and up-and-down game. UNLV is pushing the pace in trying to establish its up-tempo offense, but most of the attack has been out of control.

The Rebels already have committed four personal fouls — two each on Massamba and Stanback — as Reno has scored five of its points from the free throw line.

Rebels looking for sixth straight win against Nevada-Reno

For supporters of the UNLV basketball program, tonight’s game is one of the most important on the schedule. Beating Nevada-Reno for a sixth straight time, you see, is that important.

But when the Rebels and visiting Wolf Pack tip off at 7 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center, UNLV will be playing for more than Las Vegas pride. It will be a chance to build off last Friday’s season opener, when the Rebels played solid defense and prevailed, despite using only seven players, 83-66.

UNLV will be back at full strength tonight, with Chace Stanback and Anthony Marshall returning from suspension and immediately returning to the starting lineup. Stanback, a preseason all-Mountain West Conference selection, led the Rebels in scoring and rebounding last year. Marshall, a junior, is the team’s most athletic player and is expected to thrive in first-year coach Dave Rice’s up-tempo offense.

The starting lineup will consist of Marshall and Oscar Bellfield in the backcourt, Chace Stanback and Mike Moser at forward, and Brice Massamba at center.

There are several questions that will be answered tonight: Will Moser duplicate his 20-rebound effort from the opener? How improved is Chace Stanback? How is Carlos Lopez’s injured ankle? Is Justin Hawkins going to score 25 points again?

We’ll have those answers shortly. I will talk to everyone once the game begins. Make sure to follow me on Twitter @raybrewer21.

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  1. OK boys. Take the win and keep working at it! Its a long season and there's plenty of time to improve.