Saturday’s UNLV-UCLA scrimmage was closed to fans and media, and NCAA rules prohibit either team from talking specifics about the game.
But information has been trickling out since shortly after the contest ended, and it’s now clear that although the Rebels are immensely talented, they aren’t yet a finished product.
According to sources, UCLA pulled away in the second half for a fairly comfortable double-digit victory. And though UNLV’s frontcourt has been touted as one of the nation’s best, they had trouble controlling the inside against the Bruins.
Coach Dave Rice couldn’t get into game details, but was allowed to talk generally about his team’s performance.
“The biggest thing is that collectively we didn’t play very well,” said Rice. “We did a lot of good things, but over a 40-minute period we didn’t play with enough defensive urgency.”
The Rebels were without sophomore guard Bryce Dejean-Jones and junior center Carlos Lopez-Sosa (injuries), as well as sophomore center Khem Birch (ineligible). The starting lineup consisted of freshman Katin Reinhardt and seniors Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins in the backcourt, with junior Mike Moser and freshman Anthony Bennett up front.
UCLA was without stud freshman Shabazz Muhammad, who sat out due to eligibility issues, and junior guard Tyler Lamb (injury).
Though the Rebels came up short, Rice didn’t seem very concerned about the end result after the game. He said he didn’t even ask for the final score after the game, and was more focused on getting his team up to speed for Wednesday’s exhibition game against Dixie State.
“For us to play the way we need to play, we need to get in even better shape than we are right now,” said Rice. “From a depth standpoint, we weren’t at full strength today, but still we have to execute better and eliminate mistakes on the defensive end.”
This may end up being UNLV’s biggest test for quite some time, as the Rebels might not play a ranked opponent until after Christmas when they travel to North Carolina (Dec. 29). UCLA is ranked No. 13 in the preseason AP poll; UNLV is No. 18.
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