UNLV basketball:

Blog: Bennett’s career-high 28 points lead UNLV to 84-63 victory at home

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV forward Anthony Bennett dunks on Cal State Bakersfield during their game Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Updated Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013 | 9:13 p.m.

UNLV vs. Cal State Bakersfield 2013

UNLV forward Anthony Bennett sails in for a dunk against Cal State Bakersfield during their game Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 84-63. Launch slideshow »

UNLV 84, Cal State Bakersfield 63

Game over

Freshman Anthony Bennett scored a career-high 28 points and pulled in 10 rebounds to lead UNLV to a 84-63 victory against Cal State Bakersfield in the Rebels' nonconference finale Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

UNLV moves to 13-2 while the Roadrunners drop to 6-12, including an 0-4 record against Mountain West teams. Bakersfield also lost to San Diego State, Colorado State and Wyoming.

In addition to Bennett, the Rebels got solid performances from Bryce Dejean-Jones (12 points) and Anthony Marshall, who had eight points and seven assists with four turnovers. The team shot about 50 percent from the field and dominated the whole way.

It wasn't all great news for UNLV, though, as Katin Reinhardt really struggled offensively and Khem Birch had five turnovers in his first career Rebels start.

Overall, though, this was a solid way to finish the nonconference slate. Though the Rebels finished with 19 turnovers, a lot of them came in the final minutes after the outcome had long been decided. UNLV dominated the glass, finishing ahead 43-30 in that category.

Things get much tougher for UNLV starting Wednesday at New Mexico. And after that it's Air Force at home then road games at San Diego State and Colorado State. The Rebels will soon find out just where the stack up.

Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from tonight's game.

UNLV 68, Cal State Bakersfield 46

7:00 remaining in the second half

UNLV is going to win this game thanks to a few stellar performances. But one Rebel, Katin Reinhardt, is having the worst night of his young career. Reinhardt is 1-for-9 from the field with a two turnovers.

The Rebels are built to withstand nights like this from a starter. That's why a lot of people have a lot of high expectations. And while it may not turn into a trend for Reinhardt, and I don't think it will, it's still important to note when one of UNLV's most important players is looking so off.

He's made up for it a bit on defense with three steals, but overall Reinhardt just doesn't look right. Most likely you can chalk it up to a bad night.

UNLV 54, Cal State Bakersfield 38

15:51 remaining in the second half

Bryce Dejean-Jones won't get a lot of postgame pub because of what Anthony Bennett is doing, but he deserves some credit for how he's playing. He's got 10 points, three rebounds, five assists and, most importantly, no turnovers.

Dejean-Jones has a habit of playing out of control, but he's been stellar in this game. UNLV would like to see that for a few games in a row before feeling like he's snapped out of a recent funk, though it's at least a step in the right direction.

UNLV 43, Cal State Bakersfield 31

Halftime

Anthony Bennett did miss a shot. Two actually. Other than that he was perfect int he first half, leading the Rebels to a 43-31 lead with 21 points and five rebounds in 17 minutes. He scored the team's first 11 points and has been mostly unstoppable tonight.

And that's good, because the rest of the team hasn't looked nearly as flawless. Starting for the first time in his Rebels career, Khem Birch has more turnovers (four) than points (three) and Katin Reinhardt is 0-for-5 from the field.

It's not a complete drop-off, though, as Anthony Marshall and Bryce Dejean-Jones have combined for eight assists and no turnovers. Overall the team has 14 turnovers to seven turnovers and they're leading rebounding 18-15.

UNLV is shooting 53.6 percent from the field while Bakersfield is trying to keep pace and struggling because of Bennett and its own shooting, which is at 38.5 percent overall and just 25 percent on 3s. The Roadrunners will likely need a bunch of treys to erase their deficit and get back into this game.

Of course, it would also help to stop Bennett. My suggestion: triple team. Either that, or just hope he gets lost on the way back from the locker room.

UNLV 27, Cal State Bakersfield 19

7:56 remaining in the first half

The only person who can stop Anthony Bennett right now is UNLV coach Dave Rice, who pulled the big man to give him some rest and inadvertently helped Bakersfield.

The Roadrunners haven't done as much as they need to with the opportunity, but the lead hasn't completely blown up, which is a small victory in itself. So far Bennett has 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting and four rebounds in nine minutes.

He was hitting 3s early so Bakersfield had to pressure him on the perimeter. Bennett responded with a nice crossover and pull-up jumper, plus a couple of dunks. He's on pace to crush his previous career high of 27 points, and as long as he's going like this there's no reason he shouldn't touch the ball on every possession.

UNLV 11, Cal State Bakersfield 5

15:59 remaining in the first half

Anthony Bennett came to the arena ready to play today. He's 4-for-4, including a perfect 3-of-3 on 3-pointers, and he has all 11 of the Rebels' points thus far.

He's getting open looks on the perimeter because the Raodrunners would rather give him those shots than get beat inside, but if he keeps shooting this well they won't have any choice but to close out better and risk getting beat off the dribble.

There’s just one more game before UNLV’s conference schedule, the most important part of the season, begins. It’s important they don’t forget to show up for that one game, which is at 7 tonight at home against Cal State Bakersfield on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.

The Roadrunners simply do not have the size to compete with the Rebels inside. One of their forwards is 6-foot-1, while the point guard, when he’s healthy, is 6-7. Oh, the point guards. That’s been an unfortunate position for Bakersfield.

The returning starter, senior Issiah Grayson, is redshirting this year while recovering from offseason knee surgery. His replacement, senior Zach Lamb, injured his ankle Nov. 20 and is taking a medical redshirt season because he would not have been able to return. That left senior Tyrone White, who has missed multiple games with an injury.

Bakersfield is 0-3 against the Mountain West, losing by 15 at Wyoming, by 20 at Colorado State and by 15 at San Diego State, though that game wasn’t as close as the final margin makes it appear. As for common opponents, the Roadrunners lost by 13 at Cal and defeated La Verne by 20 at home. The Rebels won by one at Cal and beat La Verne by 47 at home.

Much like Chicago State on Thursday night, Bakersfield doesn’t measure up to UNLV athletically. But the Rebels made that game much closer and more ugly than it should have been with bad passes and occasional streaks of outside shots. They weren’t bad shots; it’s just that they don’t look so good when you have a huge size advantage and when they don’t go in.

In tonight’s game, Mike Moser will once again sit out, but Khem Birch will make his first start for UNLV. When Birch and Anthony Bennett are on the court at the same time, good things happen for the Rebels. With those two working together from the beginning, UNLV has a chance to get off to a good start and put the game away quickly.

With a road trip to New Mexico looming on Wednesday, that’s exactly what the Rebels would like to do.

THE OTHER SIDE

Cal State Bakersfield projected lineup

G — Britton Williams, 5-11, Fr, 3.8 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 4 apg

G — Stephon Carter, 6-3, Sr, 15.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.2 spg

G — Javonte Maynor, 6-0, So, 10.8 ppg, 2 rpg, 1 spg

F — Brandon Barnes, 6-1, Jr, 11.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 42 fg%

F — Adam Young, 6-8, Sr, 6.7 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.6 bpg

Sixth man — G, Tyrone White, 6-7, Sr, 10.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 91 ft%

Best name: Justin Omugun (Oh-muh-gun), 6-8, So, F

Extra storyline: UNLV associate head coach Justin Hutson played at, coached at and received several degrees from Cal State Bakersfield, which is in his hometown.

Useless Wikipedia factoid: Former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz wrestled at Cal State Bakersfield.

Kenpom line: UNLV -21

Vegas line: UNLV -22

Bern’s score: UNLV 84, Cal State Bakersfield 60

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

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 1 comment so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy.

  1. Better tonight.