Rebel Mysteries

Nothing like a closed-door scrimmage against a haughty big brother to raise intrigue. UNLV played at UCLA on Nov. 2 without the invasive gaze of fans or press, but details have trickled out. One of those details was that the Rebels lost. But more important in a preseason tune-up are questions about the squad’s progress as it prepares for its regular-season opener against Northern Arizona on Nov. 12 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Our writer, Mike Grimala, delivers some answers.

Did the freshmen play a big role? A source told me that both Anthony Bennett and Katin Reinhardt started the game, which has to be considered a positive sign for their development. Savon Goodman also saw significant minutes.

What position did Mike Moser play? I’m told Moser and Bennett were the only two big men in the starting lineup. Moser most likely spent his time at power forward, while Bennett played center. That lineup could be devastating when the Rebels want to go small this season.

Were the Rebels able to run? UCLA and coach Ben Howland are known for a deliberate pace, so it’s unlikely that the Rebels were able to get into the open floor consistently. It should be easier to pick up the pace once the regular season begins.

What’s the deal at point guard? Sources said Anthony Marshall saw most of the minutes at the point, and he played effectively. That’s comforting to those of us who view Marshall as the biggest key to this team’s success.

Is this team a legit contender? UCLA reportedly “won” the scrimmage by pounding the Rebs inside in the second half, but the Rebels are getting used to new players in new positions, with key pieces—Khem Birch and Bryce DeJean-Jones—still to be added. “The good thing about the scrimmage,” coach Dave Rice says, “is that we’re still 0-0 and looking for ways to get better.”

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Ups and Downs: Rebels escape against Dixie State

Ups and Downs: Rebels escape against Dixie State

By Mike Grimala

Leading up to Wednesday's exhibition against Dixie State, Dave Rice and his players insisted that they were going to play to win the game. As it turns out, they had to. Dixie State was up to the task, grinding the Rebels down with precise offense in the second half and forcing an overtime period before UNLV finally prevailed, 81-80 on a last-second layup by Carlos Lopez-Sosa. The Rebels did not play well. They'll need to be much better on Monday night if they want to open the season with a win against Northern Arizona, and Rice said as much after the game.