The Rebels are no longer unblemished, as they suffered their first loss this weekend to a tough Oregon team. UNLV rebounded to beat Iowa State the next day, but the up-and-down performance has created a lot of chatter around town and in the out-of-market media.
While most of the local media has been focusing on what went wrong against Oregon, a lot of the credit hast to go to a good Ducks team. CBS Sports’ Jeff Borzello says Oregon could be a factor in the Pac-12 and spotlights Damyean Dotson, who burned the Rebels down the stretch.
- “Freshman Damyean Dotson went for 19 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 19 seconds remaining. He also knocked down the two game-clinching free throws. The second half alone had 16 lead changes and five ties — but Oregon made plays down the stretch. It looks like the Ducks are going to be a threat in conference play.”
The Oregonian reveals Oregon’s late-game strategy in this article, with coach Dana Altman saying he wanted to take advantage of Dotson being defended by Katin Reinhardt.
- “UNLV guard Katin Reinhardt kept his team in the game offensively, but on defense he was no match for Dotson, who scored six points late by going straight at his fellow freshman. Dotson polished it off by making the decisive free throws with 6.3 seconds on the clock, finishing with a team-high 19 points.
“‘We cleared it out for him a few times,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. ‘We had the matchup we wanted.'”
The Iowa State game saw much improvement from the Rebels, who were noticeably trying to work the ball inside as much as possible. Travis Hines of the Ames Tribune says that UNLV’s aggressive approach was the difference in the game.
- “ISU was whistled for 25 fouls to 13 for UNLV, which took 18 less 3-pointers than the Cyclones and generally was more aggressive on the offensive end.
“The Rebels were 28 of 35 from the free-throw line. ISU was 8 of 9.”
In his game story, Hines points to Anthony Bennett as the biggest matchup problem for Iowa State.
- “UNLV’s star freshman Anthony Bennett scored 22 points, grabbed seven boards and blocked four shots on the night.
“‘He’s a monster,’ noted [ISU coach Fred] Hoiberg.”
If you haven’t read Eric Prisbell’s piece on UNLV’s past and present that ran in USA Today last week, it’s definitely worth a read. Yesterday he published a Q&A with Mike Moser, and one of the questions was about the potential of this year’s UNLV team. Moser’s answer:
- “I feel we can be the No. 1 team in the country, to be honest. On our best day, when we are defending, pushing the ball, forcing teams into things they don’t want to do, I feel we can get there. We are not there yet. We’re trying to get better. We are far from it right now.”
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