The Rebels played “their game” against Northern Arizona, using defensive pressure to feed an aggressive up-tempo offense and never letting up in a season-opening 92-54 victory. UNLV outscored NAU 21-0 in fast break points and assisted on 24 of 33 field goals, two stats that should ease concerns after UNLV looked sluggish in last week’s Dixie State exhibition.
The newcomers all enjoyed successful debuts, as freshmen Anthony Bennett (22 points), Katin Reinhardt (14) and Savon Goodman (11) all scored in double figures.
After the game, the mood in the post-game press conference was a virtual 180 from the Dixie State presser. Here are the key points from the post-game.
Dave Rice praised the team’s unselfishness, specifically junior Mike Moser, who tallied just two points after leading the Rebels in scoring last year.
“Tonight I felt like it started with Mike Moser. Mike has made sacrifices. When you have a good team and you want to become a very good team, it takes a guy like Mike Moser who scores two points and doesn’t care, because he goes and gets 11 rebounds and he gets four assists and no turnovers.”
Rice was also happy with his team’s shot selection, which was criticized after the Rebels attempted 32 3-pointers in the Dixie State exhibition.
“We did a much better job in the first two-thirds of the game throwing the ball inside, dribble penetrating the ball and shooting 3s off of kick-outs. Until we prove that we can consistently make 3-point shots, teams are going to sag on us and give us 3-point shots. My philosophy is, we’ve got good shooters, I want guys that if we play inside-out, if we shoot ’em in transition, throw it in the post and kick it out, I want guys to shoot open shots. And we’ll continue to do that. We made some very timely 3’s tonight, and I did think that our shot distribution and the shots we took, for the most part, were good tonight.”
Rice on guard Anthony Marshall, who dished out six assists and scored 14 points on 6-of-6 shooting.
“We talk about being the Runnin’ Rebels and pushing the ball and shooting it quickly, but that doesn’t mean we’ve got to take bad shots. So we still want to push the ball, throw it inside, dribble penetrate the ball, make the extra passes. But we want to do that fast. It starts with Anthony Marshall, and Anthony Marshall has been absolutely terrific in terms of facilitating. Tonight, 14 points, six assists and two turnovers. He gets six assists in 25 minutes. I think with improvements we make, Anthony Marshall can be one of the top 10 players in the country in terms of assists, and he’s done a terrific job for us as a lead guard.”
Anthony Marshall on how the Rebels were able to turn up the tempo.
“Tonight we just came out with a defensive mindset. I feel like we play our best basketball when we’re defending crazy, taking away the passing lanes, getting stops, getting rebounds and blocked shots, and that allows us to get out in transition and display our athletic ability. That’s when you see the no-look passes and the alley-oops and stuff like that. It started on the defensive end and we came up with a win.”
Anthony Bennett on his comfort level after scoring a team-high 22 points.
“I felt like [Dixie State] was like my first game as a college player. A little nervous, I’d say. So this game I got all the jitters out and just played how I can play.”
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