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Rebels tap reserve for energy

It happened a few days later than he hoped, but UNLV freshman DeShawn Mitchell made his college debut Tuesday night. He made it count, too.

Mitchell dunked three times and helped lift the Rebels to a 73-48 victory over Texas-Pan American in the first round of the Global Sports Classic at the Thomas & Mack Center.

UNLV led by three points after a sluggish first half. Mitchell entered and picked up the pace.

"It felt good to be that spark plug for the team," he said.

Mitchell ignited a Rebels rally by scoring 12 of his team-high 14 points in the second half.

Rene Rougeau had 12 points and was the only UNLV starter to score in double figures.

Mitchell said his role model is Rougeau, and the freshman listened to the senior’s advice.

"I talked to DeShawn on the bench and told him to be ready," Rougeau said. "He looked really good, and he showed his athleticism."

Mitchell, a 6-foot-5-inch swingman, did not play Saturday in the Rebels’ season-opening victory over San Diego. He waited for UNLV coach Lon Kruger to call, and he answered by putting on a show.

"Coach Kruger knows what he’s doing," Mitchell said. "He told me I would get some minutes and to try to be productive."

Mitchell shot 7-for-10 and grabbed four rebounds in 14 minutes. He was instrumental in the Rebels’ 25-8 run to open the second half.

He took a pass from Kendall Wallace and dunked with 11:55 remaining. About two minutes later, Tre’Von Willis fed Mitchell for a reverse layup to push the lead to 52-32.

"Coach gave us a good pep talk at halftime," Rougeau said. "He said, ‘You’ve got to respect this team, and we’ve got to play harder.’ It came down to defense in the end."

UNLV (2-0) missed 10 of its first 11 3-point shots and finished 6-for-28 from long range. In the second half, the Rebels scored 18 points in the paint and started to dominate.

Junior forward Darris Santee finished with nine points and six rebounds. Freshman center Beas Hamga, who also did not play Saturday, debuted with three points and three rebounds in 12 minutes.

The Rebels’ reserves added energy after the starters struggled. Wink Adams, Oscar Bellfield and Joe Darger finished with five points apiece and shot a combined 3-for-15 on 3-pointers.

Wallace and senior Mareceo Rutledge each scored seven points off the bench, and Willis had six points and six assists.

"If you’re not making shots, anything you’re doing offensively looks kind of sluggish," Kruger said. "Obviously, we’re not shooting the ball well from 3, and we’ve got to work on that. We’re not competing hard enough to get better shots."

Kruger said there were "too many breakdowns" by UNLV on both ends in the first half.

Pan American coach Tom Schubert said when the Rebels forced a faster tempo after halftime, the game changed dramatically.

"When you play a team on their home court that’s more talented, it’s going to click for them, and it did," said Schubert, who played one season at UNLV for coach Jerry Tarkanian in 1976-77.

"We’ve been overlooked before, which is fine. Maybe they were looking past us, I don’t know, and I don’t mean that in a negative way."

Senior forward Emmanuel Jones had 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Broncs (1-1).

But the night belonged to a Rebels freshman who made a positive first impression.

"DeShawn obviously was attacking the rim and making some plays," Kruger said. "It’s great to see DeShawn do that. He’s going to be an outstanding player."

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

UNLV 73

Texas-Pan American 48

UTPA Min FG-A FT-A R A PF TP

Jones 32 7-18 2-4 12 1 3 16

Valera 26 3-9 0-0 6 0 4 6

Turner 34 2-6 0-0 2 5 4 2

Weiermiller 35 2-2 2-4 2 2 3 8

B. Smith 24 4-13 1-2 6 2 0 10

Hawkins 15 1-4 0-0 2 0 2 2

Maree 24 1-3 0-0 4 1 2 2

Jensen 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

A. Smith 3 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Allgood 4 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0

TOTALS 200 20-55 5-10 38 11 19 48

Field goals–36.4%. Free throws–50.0%.

Three-point goals–3-10 (Weiermiller 2-2, Smith 1-7, Maree 0-1). Team rebounds–3. Blocked shots–1 (Turner 1). Turnovers–18 (Jones 4, Valera 2, Turner 5, Weiermiller 2, Smith 1, Hawkins 1, Maree 2, Team 1). Steals–1 (Jones 1).

UNLV Min FG-A FT-A R A PF TP

Santee 18 2-5 5-5 6 0 1 9

Darger 24 2-8 0-0 4 0 0 5

Bellfield 23 2-6 0-0 1 4 2 5

Adams 21 2-7 0-0 5 2 0 5

Rougeau 22 4-6 4-8 4 1 2 12

Wallace 17 1-7 4-4 3 2 1 7

Rutledge 16 2-4 2-2 3 2 3 7

Hoffman 5 0-2 0-0 2 1 0 0

Massamba 11 0-0 0-0 3 0 0 0

Mitchell 14 7-10 0-1 4 0 0 14

Hamga 12 1-2 1-2 3 0 2 2

Willis 17 2-7 1-2 2 6 0 6

TOTALS 200 25-64 17-24 43 18 11 73

Field goals–39.1%. Free throws–70.8%.

Three-point goals–6-28 (Darger 1-7, Bellfield 1-3, Adams 1-5, Wallace 1-5, Rutledge 1-3, Hoffman 0-2, Willis 1-3). Team rebounds–3. Blocked shots–6 (Santee 1, Darger 1, Bellfield 2, Rougeau 2). Turnovers–8 (Santee 1, Bellfield 3, Rougeau 1, Rutledge 1, Hamga 1, Willis 1). Steals–6 (Rougeau 2, Wallace 2, Rutledge 1, Willis 1).

A–11,022. Officials–Bobby Vetkoetter, Rick Hartzell, Frank Harvey III. Technical fouls–None.

Texas-Pan American 24 24 — 48

UNLV 27 46 — 73

 

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