UNLV basketball fans have anxiously awaited the opportunity to see their Rebels play Duke ever since the day the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic bracket was announced.
That scenario, of course, was based on the assumption UNLV would get by Stanford in the event’s first game on Friday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
It won’t be an easy task.
The Cardinal, like the Rebels, have started the year 2-0. While the Rebels have survived a pair of last-second shots for two narrow home victories, Stanford has handled South Dakota State and Wofford with relative ease.
Goodluck Okonoboh has blocked 13 shots in his first two collegiate games, but the UNLV freshman’s defensive skills will be put to the test against Stanford center Stefan Nastic. The senior has made 14 of 19 field goal attempts thus far and is averaging 20 points per game.
Nastic also leads the team with eight rebounds and four assists per game.
Guard Chasson Randle, who could end the year as the school’s all-time leading scorer, is struggling a bit with his shot in the early going. He’s made just 37.5 percent of his attempts, including just 1 of 8 from 3-point range. Randle has still managed to score 17.5 points per game, though.
The team’s third senior starter, Anthony Brown, is also in double figures at 13.5 points per game.
Stanford’s highly-touted freshman are off to very different starts. Forward Reid Travis has scored 11 points per game over 27.5 minutes per contest. Guard Robert Cartwright has scored a grand total of one basket in 14 total minutes over the two games.
Former Bishop Gorman star Rosco Allen is coming off a career-high 17 point effort in the win over South Dakota State.
Sophomore Marcus Allen, a Centennial High School alum, is averaging 20 minutes per game for Stanford. He has scored nine total points in the two games and made his only 3-point attempt.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.