It wasn't easy and it sure didn't look pretty, but UNLV was able to claw out a 77-58 win over Jacksonville State on Saturday. How'd they do it? Let's analyze things with a Fast Breakdown.
Defending your life
The Rebels' offense sputtered for long stretches, but the defense was in top form. Jacksonville State shot under 20 percent for most of the first half and finished just 21-of-54 from the field (38.9 percent). Anthony Marshall was particularly disruptive, bottling up his man and denying penetration. And when Jax State did get inside, Anthony Bennett was there to protect the rim — the freshman center blocked three shots.
Hawkins brings it off the bench
The Rebels' offense was downright ugly at times in the first half, and they went into halftime with just as many turnovers as made field goals (11). But Hawkins was a bright spot, coming off the bench to score 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting before halftime. Dave Rice says he loves Hawkins in the sixth man role, and this game was a prime example why. When the Rebels need something, Rice can count on Hawkins to bring it. The steady senior finished with 16 points.
Moser lets it fly
After scoring just two points on opening night, the smart money was on Moser coming out firing against Jacksonville State. And he did, burying a 3-pointer off the opening tip and never slowing down. Moser ended up with a team-high 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting, and on a night when the offense was stagnant for long stretches, he (and Hawkins) provided a big lift.
After pounding Northern Arizona on the boards, Rice said he wanted to see a repeat effort against Jax State. The Rebels weren't quite as dominant on the glass, but they still beat up the Gamecocks inside and finished with a 40-19 rebounding margin. Bennett played huge in the paint, hauling in nine boards (four offensive), and Moser grabbed 10. For the game, Jacksonville State managed just six offensive rebounds.
Slow it down
UNLV was never able to kick its fast-break attack into high gear, and much of the game was played at a halfcourt pace. The Rebels eventually proved themselves up to the task, overcoming some early turnover problems to finish 24-of-51 (47.1 percent) from the floor. The Rebs may not prefer to play grind-it-out ball, but Saturday's win at least proved that they can (albeit against an inferior opponent).
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