Freshmen shine for UNLV
Runnin’ Rebels defeat Hawai’i 77-63 to improve to 5-1 record this season
The No. 24 Runnin’ Rebels showed the nation their killer instinct with an exciting first half against the University of Hawai’i.
When head coach Dave Rice took over the program, he wanted the team to play the way he did when he was a player under legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian.
On Saturday, they took a big step in that direction with a 77-63 win over Hawai’i.
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In the first half, the Rebels looked dominant. They jumped out to a double-digit lead and the offensive execution was some of the best under Rice to date.
“We have talked about it all along that we are a work in progress,” Rice said. “We only have six games under our belt and the fact that we are seeing flashes of what we can be is great.”
A big part of the first half was the emergence of freshman Savon Goodman on the offensive end. He led all bench players for UNLV with 13 points.
Goodman was the last piece to the Rebels’ 2012 recruiting puzzle and many were unsure how he would fit in offensively.
He has adapted well to playing the small forward spot and put together his best statistical game of the season on Saturday, but that wasn’t something that Goodman was satisfied with.
“Well, the numbers prove it, but intensity-wise this wasn’t my best game,” Goodman said. “In the second half we kind of laid back and let them punch us, but we stayed together and found a way to pull it out.”
Rice praised Goodman’s effort and cited his hustle on both ends of the floor as reason to be excited for the freshman’s future with the team.
“Savon is going to be a fantastic Rebel,” Rice said. “He’s so coachable, and he has a great knack for going in and getting rebounds and loose balls.”
The Warriors regained momentum after halftime and cut the lead down to eight at one point in the second half, but a late alley-oop from Katin Reinhardt to Anthony Bennett sealed the game for the Rebels.
“We weren’t worried at all,” said senior guard Justin Hawkins. “The fact that us seniors have been there, and that our young guys are so composed, we knew we were going to come out on top.”
The win Saturday marked the final game of their six-game season-opening home stand.
The team will hit the road for a Tuesday matchup with Portland.
“We have learned we are good; we can get better. I really think we are ready to get on the road and see what we are made of,” Hawkins said. “After that loss to Oregon, I just saw something in their eyes that was like, ‘let’s go, it’s time to start playing as a family.’”