College sports are great for many reasons. One of them happens to be the idea of rivalry. Nobody wants to lose a basketball game. It is even worse when you lose to somebody down the road whose guts you cannot stand. Losing to your rival is like kissing your sister, while wearing that ugly sweater your grandmother made for you for Christmas, while your Uncle is holding you down giving you one of those noogie things where he rubs his fist on the top of your head. This means you should avoid losing to your rival at all costs.
Nevada and UNLV are inner state rivals, and the series has not gone Nevada's way of late. The Rebels played host to the Wildcats on Monday night in an early hoops clash with bragging rights on the line.
As a student at UNLV, I had the opportunity to observe the student section for this game. I am a UNLV fan, but also consider myself a fairly bias hoops guy in general. UNLV's student section gets a 6.5 out of 10. The band needs to learn a few new songs, and the students need to learn the chants are better with wit rather than profanity. There were several small sections of Nevada fans through out the Thomas & Mack. It's Vegas Baby, most teams tend to travel well to a destination city. Your favorite hoops team being in town is usually all the excuse you need to make a weekend of it and follow your team.
UNLV was coming off a win vs Grand Canyon to start the season while Nevada lost at home to Missouri St in uncharacteristic fashion. Nevada has been picked by many sports writers to win the WAC this year, which has a few people scratching their heads.
Deonte Burton led the Wolfpack with 28 points, the majority of his work coming in the 1st half, keeping Nevada in the game while UNLV played fairly sloppy offense. Nevada found cracking the pressure defense of UNLV a difficult task, specifically Malik Story. Dude was a chuckin' last night, going 6-20 and 3-10 from super hoop world. A few of those shots were questionable as Nevada was never really out of this game all night. Burton was able to gain the lain basically whenever he wished, and was able to put a few Rebels in foul trouble because of it, namely Brice Massamba and Mike Moser. This bode well for Nevada heading to the second half, if they could figure out things on offense.
UNLV used defense and timely shooting to keep Nevada at bay until late. The Rebels were in comfortable control of the game for most of the second half, keeping a double digit lead and seemingly toying with the Wolfpack. Most teams have a run in them, and Nevada showed this to be true yet again. UNLV settling for lazy shots down the stretch equaled easy baskets in transition for Nevada. Burton drilled a corner super hoop with about 20 seconds left that gave Nevada a chance late, coming to within 1 after being down by double digits at the under 4 MTO. Playing the foul game rarely works though, as Anthony Marshall sank 3 of 4 freebee's to ice the game down the stretch.
UNLV wins at home 71-67. Nevada starts off 0-2 and wondering where to go from here. If they asked me, I would suggest some offensive cohesion.
at UNLV 71, NEVADA 67 11/14/2011
NEVADA 0-2 (0-0) -- D. Burton 7-15 11-14 28; M. Story 6-20 4-5 19; D. Hunt 2-7 2-6 6; J. Evans Jr. 0-3 2-2 2; O. Czyz 0-4 3-6 3; K. Panzer 3-5 0-1 7; P. Nyeko 1-2 0-0 2; D. Elliott 0-2 0-0 0; J. Burris 0-1 0-0 0; J. Finn 0-0 0-0 0; K. Fuetsch 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-59 22-34 67. UNLV 2-0 (0-0) -- O. Bellfield 4-9 0-0 11; A. Marshall 0-7 7-8 7; C. Stanback 5-11 0-0 12; J. Hawkins 5-10 2-4 13; M. Moser 4-9 0-0 8; Q. Thomas 0-2 1-2 1; C. Lopez 4-7 1-3 9; K. Wallace 1-4 0-0 3; B. Massamba 3-4 1-2 7. Totals 26-63 12-19 71.
Three-point goals: NEV 7-24 (O. Czyz 0-3; M. Story 3-10; J. Evans 0-2; J. Burris 0-1; D. Burton 3-6; K. Panzer 1-2), UNLV 7-26 (K. Wallace 1-4; C. Stanback 2-5; O. Bellfield 3-8; J. Hawkins 1-5; A. Marshall 0-2; M. Moser 0-2); Rebounds: NEV 33 (D. Hunt 7), UNLV 45 (M. Moser 11); Assists: NEV 6 (D. Burton 3), UNLV 18 (A. Marshall 7); Total Fouls -- NEV 18, UNLV 21; Fouled Out: NEV-None; UNLV-B. Massamba.