Since moving into the Thomas & Mack Center for the1983-84 season, the Rebels have provided countless scintillating moments for the home fans. With a new era of UNLV basketball tipping off under coach Dave Rice, here’s a look back at the finest Rebel moments at the Thomas & Mack:
1) Feb. 15, 1990, vs. New Mexico State
In a season-defining moment, point guard Greg Anthony, to everyone’s disbelief, plays just three days after breaking his jaw, leading the Rebels to a 109-86 victory. It was Anthony’s courage and leadership that helped propel UNLV to its only national championship.
2) Feb. 8, 1986, vs. Memphis State
With a then-record crowd of 18,832 and a national-television audience watching, the Rebels edge the third-ranked Tigers 67-66 as Freddie Banks scores 26 points, including UNLV’s final seven points of the game. The Rebels knock the ball out of Memphis State guard Andre Turner’s hands as time runs out.
3) March 7, 1998, vs. New Mexico
The Rebels’ 56-51 victory over the Lobos caps a run of four victories in five nights, all as an underdog, as UNLV wins the Western Athletic Conference tournament championship and advances to its first NCAA tournament since 1991. Rebel guards Mark Dickel and Brian Keefe, and forward Tyrone Nesby all make the WAC All-Tournament team.
4) Nov. 30, 1991, vs. LSU
In the best game of his UNLV career, center Elmore Spencer records 20 points and 12 rebounds, outplaying All-American Shaquille O’Neal in the Rebels’ 76-55 win. O’Neal is in foul trouble much of the game, and has 26 points, many of which come after the outcome is no longer in doubt, and just seven rebounds. The victory improves the Rebels’ all-time record at the Thomas & Mack to 117-6.
5) Dec. 29, 1986, vs. Navy
UNLV guard Mark Wade hands out a school-record 21 assists, and Armon Gilliam and Freddie Banks score 27 and 25 points, respectively, as the Rebels rout David Robinson and Navy 104-79 before a Thomas & Mack-record crowd of 20,321. Robinson, the NCAA player of the year, has 29 points and nine rebounds in the losing effort.
6) Jan. 23, 1993, vs. Georgetown
Rebel guard J.R. Rider electrifies the entire arena and a national-television audience, scoring 40 points as UNLV whips Georgetown, 96-80. Rider, a second-team All-American, becomes the first Rebel to score 40 since Bob Florence did it twice in the 1972-73 season. UNLV, which led by as much as 80-45, improves to 11-1 at the high-water mark of the Rollie Massimino era.
7) Feb. 21, 2009, vs. BYU
Wink Adams scores 22 points as the Rebels hold off a late charge by the Cougars in a 75-74 victory before a crowd of 18,523, UNLV’s first sellout since 1993. BYU rallies from a 67-55 deficit with 3:16 left, but Adams’ five free throws in the final 1:02 help the Rebels hang on.