The Rebels defeated Weber State 72-63 in their return to the Thomas & Mack Center after nearly three weeks away because of the rodeo.
Matt Shaw hit four 3-pointers and scored a team-high, and career-high, 16 points in the victory.
Chace Stanback added 15 points, along with five rebounds and four blocked shots.
UNLV led by as many as 17 points in the second half before the Wildcats made some late shots to make the final score more respectable.
The Rebels hit the boards a bit better than in previous games, including a 12-rebound effort by Derrick Jasper. He was held to just seven points, but had two assists, two steals and zero turnovers.
“They were calling me Charles Barkley in the locker room,” Jasper said of his rebounding prowess. “I just try to play my game and fill whatever hole the team has at the time.”
He added that a conference rebounding crown is unlikely.
“It would be nice. I’m going to try to, but it probably won’t happen every game,“ he said. “I’ll just give my best effort.”
His hard work helped UNLV out-rebound an overmatched Weber State squad, 35-32.
The Rebels will stay home to play South Carolina-Upstate on Saturday before playing three games in Hawaii over Christmas.
For the second straight game, UNLV started the second half with a big run.
The Rebels came out of the locker room with a 12-0 run over the first 3:45 on Thursday night to turn a 5-point advantage into a 17-point lead.
UNLV’s depth will likely make them a good second half team all year, but this has more to do with whatever Lon Kruger and his staff are discussing with the team at halftime
It was the second straight contest where quick spurts out of the locker room turned nervous games into easy victories.
Going to the well too many times
The alley-oop pass to Derrick Jasper has been one of the most successful offensive plays for UNLV this season.
It has worked to perfection several times and it looks tremendous when the timing is right.
Early in the second half on Thursday night, we saw the other side of that.
Jasper started to make a cut to the basket, but changed his mind and started to circle back to the wing.
Kendall Wallace was on the other side of the floor with the ball and threw up the lob just before Jasper stopped his cut.
The ball floated through the air to nobody in particular.
The play was almost humorous and it exhibited how slim the difference is between the highlight film and the blooper reel.
Weber State coach Randy Rahe is sporting a huge bandage on his right hand.
It looks like it may be covering up some sort of splint on his fingers.
He sprawled to the floor in the first half protesting a call, but he says the injury happened several days ago.
“I just hit it on something and busted it up a bit,” he said. “I’m alright. I’m not very smart, but I’ll be alright.”
We prefer to think he hurt it during the game. It makes for a better story.
UNLV is the third Mountain West Conference team Weber State has played this year, but coach Randy Rahe wasn’t about to get caught ranking the quality of those opponents.
The Wildcats previously lost at Brigham Young and defeated Utah at home.
“They’re good. They’re really good,“ he said of UNLV “I’m not going to get into who’s better. I’m smarter than that. I think they all have different kind of teams to be honest with you. BYU can really shoot that ball and they run it up and down. (UNLV) is the most athletic team that we’ve played from top to bottom and their defensive presence was as good as any of the other teams.
“But I’ll tell you what, all three of those teams are dang good Mountain West teams. They’re going to be battles when all three of those teams hook up. It’s going to be a dogfight in the Mountain West.
He continued with his praise of UNLV’s squad.
“That’s a damn good basketball team we just faced,“ he said. “Athletic, tough, aggressive. They’ve got all the components.”
UNLV held Weber State’s leading scorer Damian Lillard nearly 12 points below his season average.
The Rebels defense focused on the guard and doubled him when he had the ball on several occasions.
He made just 2 of 13 shots and six of his points came in the final minutes when the outcome had long been decided.
“They did a good job on Damian and that’s something we’re going to see,” Weber State head coach Randy Rahe said. “He’s a good player and he got a lot of attention. I thought he also tried to share the ball and did a good job with that.”
Lillard did have four assists in the game.