Quick-starting Rebels spread wealth in rout

HONOLULU — With a display of toughness from one end of the floor to the other, Derrick Jasper and UNLV made it look easy again.

Jasper poured in 14 points and a variety of scorers attacked from all angles as the Rebels ran roughshod over host Hawaii for a 77-53 victory Wednesday in the second round of the Diamond Head Classic.

“I think we are playing some of our best basketball,” said Jasper, who shot 5-for-10 and had seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. “We were well prepared and very focused for this game.

“We’re just real loaded. We have a lot of different guys capable of scoring each night, so we have a well-balanced team.”

Tre’Von Willis finished with 12 points and Oscar Bellfield had 10 as all 11 players scored for UNLV (12-1).

The Rebels advanced to face Southern California (7-4) in the championship of the eight-team tournament at 6:30 p.m. Friday.

For the second consecutive night, a dominant first half carried UNLV, which quickly silenced the crowd at the Stan Sheriff Center. The Warriors (6-5) missed 10 of 11 shots to begin the game, Willis made two 3-pointers and the Rebels jumped ahead 13-2.

As a result of fullcourt pressure, Chace Stanback made steals on back-to-back Hawaii possessions and both times passed to Justin Hawkins for layups.

A three-point play by Matt Shaw stretched the lead to 24-7. Jasper and Bellfield each hit a 3-pointer in the last two minutes of the half, sending the Rebels to the locker room with a 44-21 lead.

In Tuesday’s first-round game, UNLV led Southern Methodist 42-19 at halftime en route to a 67-53 victory.

“It was another good start. This is a road game, and getting off to a good start changes the whole complexion of it,” coach Lon Kruger said. “We shot the ball really well in the first half.”

The Rebels shot 16-for-36 (44.4 percent) and connected on 6 of 12 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes.

Defense and rebounding contributed to the efficiency. UNLV had a season-high 18 offensive rebounds, including 11 in the first half, and forced the Warriors into 19 turnovers, 11 in the first half.

“It came down to scrambling around on defense,” Willis said. “We were just fighting. We were helping each other out and not letting them run their offense.”

Stanback finished with seven points, seven rebounds and three steals, and freshman Hawkins had eight points. Shaw, freshman Anthony Marshall and Kendall Wallace each had five.

The Rebels also got strong inside contributions by Darris Santee (four points, five rebounds) and Brice Massamba (four points, four rebounds.)

Jasper grabbed four offensive rebounds, all in the first half, when he scored 10 points. A 6-foot-6-inch junior, Jasper said he’s feeling more in sync in the offense after sitting out last season as a transfer from Kentucky.

“Several guys are playing better, Derrick being one of them,” Kruger said. “Derrick made a lot of good plays, whether it was off the dribble, shooting the mid-range jumper or hitting the 3.”

UNLV’s swarming defense frustrated the Warriors’ top two players, Roderick Flemings and Petras Balocka, and kept them from being a factor in the game.

Dwain Williams scored 20 points to top Hawaii, which shot 15-for-44 (34 percent) and never threatened to pull the upset on its home court.

Contact reporter Matt Youmans at myoumans@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2907.

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