Published Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 | 6 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012 | 9:02 p.m.
UNLV 91, La Verne 44
A poor Internet connection has kept me from updating this post more often tonight. What you missed was a dominant performance from Anthony Bennett — 27 points and 14 rebounds — and hot/cold runs from the rest of the Rebels. The final margin wasn't close because UNLV is light years better than La Verne, but this was by no means a great Rebels performance.
The most problematic thing was probably the poor start to the second half, a chronic issue for this team dating back to last season. UNLV committed three turnovers in the first four minutes of the second half and in general looked out of sorts.
The Rebels fixed those problems in plenty of time and eventually cruised to victory, but in practice that was a point of emphasis and it still didn't come together.
Freshman Daquan Cook's debut was a mixed bag. He got an assist on his first collegiate possession and had a couple of other really nice drives to the basket. He was also careless on defense, committing three hand-check-type fouls, and he was benched early in the second half. Overall the Rebels will take it, though, because there were a few times when you could see his potential.
Katin Reinhardt finished with 14 points and freshman Savon Goodman came on late to finish with 13. A performance like this on Monday at UTEP would be trouble, but the point of this game is to give the Rebels another chance to play. They don't expect it to be perfect every time, and whatever issues they had Thursday they eventually worked through.
Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from tonight's game.
UNLV 38, La Verne 21
The Leopards aren't in this game, but they're in it more than they should be considering how much better UNLV is at every position. The Rebels are shooting 40 percent from the field and have wasted a few possessions going for the highlight play rather than running the offense.
Freshman Anthony Bennett has 12 points and nine rebounds, Daquan Cook has one assist in his first game action while the other point guards, Katin Reinhardt and Anthony Marshall each have a pair of 3-pointers. The Rebels are dominating the glass, leading in rebounds 24-16.
While the game is closer than some fans would prefer, it is by no means close. The most important thing in the second half is to not let it get any closer since that's a problem for this team regardless of opponent. It would also be nice to see Cook get some more significant minutes in the second half. If Dave Rice is going to rely on him in a more important spot, he's got to see more court time tonight.
UNLV 26, La Verne 15
7:55 remaining in the first half
Daquan Cook recorded an assist on his first possession as a Rebel, a solid start for the freshman from Baltimore. Katin Reinhardt and Anthony Marshall looked really good with the first unit and Cook is attempting to do the same in their place.
As expected, La Verne has offered little in the way of competition for UNLV's athleticism. The Leopards are, however, keeping this game fairly close on the scoreboard despite shooting 31.6 percent from the field. UNLV will start pulling away more and more, the biggest question is which guy will be running the offense while they do.
Only the diehards will likely the watch this game in its entirety.
When No. 20 UNLV tips off against Division III La Verne on VegasTV, it will do so without junior forward Mike Moser. Yet in order for this to be a close game it would likely take at least a few more absences from the Rebels’ roster.
A game like this is better for UNLV (7-1) than a practice would be, and that’s the most important thing to remember. It may seem pointless to have a game on the schedule that doesn’t count toward your RPI, but it’s still an opportunity to play against another team.
That means minutes on the court for freshman Daquan Cook, who will make his collegiate debut tonight. It’s also more court time for senior Quintrell Thomas, who may shoulder a more significant role until Moser returns.
The venue is different and the opponent doesn’t stack up, but on the most basic level there’s something to be said for playing a game. Even if it’s not challenging.
THE OTHER SIDE
La Verne projected lineup
G — Jake Veith, 5-8, Sr, 12.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 38.9 3fg%
G — Ronn See, 6-1, Sr, 3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 40 fg%
G — Jourdan Simmonds, 5-10, So, 16 ppg, 57.1 3fg%, 1.4 A/TO ratio
F — Vince Bauer, 6-6, Sr, 5.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 40 fg%
F — Eric Becker, 6-4, Jr, 3.2 ppg, 1 rpg, 55.6 fg%
Sixth man — G, Alonzo Young, 6-4, Jr, 7.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.5 apg
Best name: Josiah Sukumaran, 6-3, So, F
Extra storyline: UNLV is 8-0 all-time against La Verne. The last matchup was in 1965.
Useless Wikipedia factoid: La Verne was originally known as Lordsburg College.
Vegas line: No line available
Bern’s take: I’ve said enough about this one. UNLV 102, La Verne 50