Monday, Nov. 14, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
- Performances from Justin Hawkins, Mike Moser in opening night victory give Rebels something to build on(11-12-2011)
- Kendall Wallace doesn’t back down in return for severe knee injury (11-12-2011)
- 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
When the UNLV basketball team takes the court at 7 p.m. Monday at the Thomas & Mack Center against visiting Nevada-Reno, junior guard Anthony Marshall won’t have to be reminded what’s on the line against the Rebels’ instate rivals.
Marshall, who was raised in Southern Nevada, knows there is a certain pride on the line when facing an opponent from the North — whether it’s on the big stage of college athletics, playing for a state high school title or a simple AAU game.
“UNLV and Reno are rivals. For me, and the people I was around growing up, there’s always been a rivalry in everything (with Reno),” said Marshall, who attended Mojave High and has the local 702 area code tattooed on his upper arm. “For me, this game means something.”
The rivalry in basketball isn’t as intense in football, where Reno has beat UNLV a record consecutive seven seasons in the Fremont Cannon game. In basketball, UNLV has typically been the better team, winning six straight contests and holding a 53-19 all-time series edge.
“The fans here look at it as payback for (Reno) beating us at football,” Marshall said. “When basketball season rolls around, it is our turn to return the favor.”
UNLV is expected to continue the domination. The Rebels are listed as 14-point betting favorites, partially because Nevada-Reno was awful Friday in its season debut against Missouri State, losing 68-46 at home and have only one player score in double figures.
But UNLV coach Dave Rice is quick to point out Nevada-Reno is better than its result against Missouri State. Rice started breaking down film late Friday night after the Rebels season-opening 83-66 victory against Division-II Grand Canyon, realizing Nevada-Reno had more than its share of quality players.
The Wolfpack posted a 13-19 record last year while giving several younger players quality minutes. This year, they return 11 letter winners and were picked in the preseason as the Western Athletic Conference’s best team by the league’s coaches.
“They got good looks. They just didn’t make them,” Rice said of Nevada-Reno’s problems against Missouri State. “They are talented. It is a whole different outcome if they make some of those shots.”
UNLV was leading Grand Canyon by only one point at halftime, but dominated the second half to win in Rice’s head coaching debut. The Rebels, which had just seven scholarship players available against Grand Canyon, will return Marshall and Chace Stanback from suspension, and Carlos Lopez from a leg injury for Nevada-Reno.
The starting lineup will consist of Marshall and Oscar Bellfield at the guard spots, Stanback on the wing, Mike Moser at power forward at Brice Massamba at center. Stanback was suspended for the opener after pleading guilty in September to driving under the influence of marijuana.
Stanback, a preseason all-Mountain West Conference selection, led the Rebels last year in scoring (13 points per game) and rebounding (5.9 boards per game). Needless to say, he will be a welcome addition to the lineup.
“It was such a tough deal for him,” Rice said. “He has owned up to his mistake and taken the responsibility for it. He has been terrific for us.”
The return of Marshall and Stanback puts junior Justin Hawkins and senior 3-point specialist Kendall Wallace back to their bench spots in the regular rotation to give the Rebels the depth Rice is searching for in his high-intensity, up-tempo strategy.
Hawkins had a career game against Grand Canyon in scoring 25 points and likely will be a valuable piece moving forward. Wallace hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first half and earned praise for playing 38 minutes in his first game after missing last season following a major knee injury.
The Nevada-Reno game will be the first of four contests for UNLV in eight days. The Rebels on Thursday will host Canisius, on Sunday will host Morgan State and Nov. 22 will host Cal-Poly. On Monday, the first 2,500 fans receive a Rebels rally towel.