Runnin' Rebel Report 

Bennett, Moser lead the way as UNLV defeats Anteaters

After riding high on home-grown adrenaline, the Runnin’ Rebels loss to Oregon last Friday might have been the best thing that could’ve happened to them. They were not used to losing in the Thomas & Mack Center.

But after getting their first reality check of the young season, the Runnin’ Rebels took all their frustration out on UC-Irvine by holding the Anteaters to less than 35 percent shooting from the field in their 85-57 victory.

It wasn’t UNLV’s most exciting win of the season to say the least. One could even make the argument that the first 30 minutes were nothing short of boring. The most exciting (and fearful) moments were when Carlos Lopez-Sosa found his inner-Reggie Miller and put up a couple of shots from behind the arc.

His first attempt was money, but his next two missed everything in the building. With every Lopez-Sosa pump came a nervous gasp from the crowd.[flickr id=”8229589910″ thumbnail=”small” overlay=”true” size=”large” group=”” align=”right”]

Mike Moser and Anthony Bennett combined for 38 points and 15 rebounds, while Katin Reinhardt dropped 13 points to aid the Rebels in the win.

If you were on the court wearing scarlet and white on Wednesday night, you definitely had your hands on the basketball. The Rebels had 22 assists on 27 of their baskets and played their most cohesive game of the year.

Adam Folker and Daman Starring were the only two Anteaters to score in double figures, while everyone else on the team was held to four points or less.

Even Questlove — I mean UCI’s Michael Wilder and his untamed afro — couldn’t stop the Runnin’ Rebels relentless defensive performance.

Seriously, somebody get that guy a pick for Christmas.

Wilder became public enemy No. 1 at the Thomas & Mack Center after he wrestled Quintrell Thomas for the ball that was clearly in Thomas’ favor and got the call to go his way. It was nothing short of a questionable decision and conjured reminders of the Seattle Seahawks “Hail Mary that wasn’t” against the Green Bay Packers.

Wilder heard it from the 13,876 in attendance every time he touched the ball. Some of the crowd’s loudest cheers of the game were when he missed two free throws midway through the second half.

UNLV’s sixth-man Justin Hawkins gave the crowd something to cheer about when he sent Alex Young’s three-point attempt all the way to Maryland Parkway. It was the perfect way to show the UNLV faithful that the Rebels are still the real deal, even after a disheartening loss.

Even sophomore walk-on and crowd favorite Barry Cheaney got in on the action by draining a three-pointer with a minute left to get the UNLV bench on its feet with white towels waving and everything.

The Rebels’ victory goes to show that games are not won on style points and trick plays, they are won with efficiency and teamwork. Passing the ball around is what makes this team go, and a repeat performance against Hawai’i is the next step in the right direction.

‘Tis the season, right?

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