It won’t go down as one of UNLV’s prettiest wins of the season. In fact, at times it was downright ugly. But according to guard Anthony Marshall, the main thing was that the 19th-ranked Runnin’ Rebels (15-2) left Honolulu on Saturday with a hard-fought 74-69 victory over Hawaii.
“Games like this and the next one (at Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday) are going to benefit us when we go into conference play … when we’re going on the road to San Diego State, which is a hostile environment and a great team,” Marshall, who scored 19 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds, said. “These games really benefit us and get us ready for league play.”
Marshall was the difference down the stretch in a physical grinder that saw UNLV starting center Brice Massamba (possible concussion) and
Hawaii guard Zane Johnson (neck injury) both knocked out of the game with injuries.
With Hawaii (8-6) focusing much of its defensive attention on trying to deny the ball away from red-hot Chace Stanback on the perimeter, Marshall took advantage of his superior athletic ability to repeatedly drive to the basket for layups and dunks.
Marshall scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the final 12:43, including a two-handed dunk to finish a drive with 1:24 to go that increased
Hawaii, led by forward Joston Thomas (16 points, 15 rebounds) and 6-foot-10 center Vander Joaquim (15 points, all in the second half), got as close as 72-69 on two free throws by guard Hauns Brereton with 21.8 seconds left. But the Rebels iced it eight seconds later on a Justin Hawkins layup off a nice assist by Marshall.
UNLV won despite shooting just 44.1 percent from the floor, including only 22.2 percent (4 of 18) from 3-point range. The Rebels also struggled at
the free throw line, connecting on just 10 of 16 foul shots (62.5 percent).
“I told the guys after the game … really good teams find a way to win games like this,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said. “Hawaii is a good team on their
home floor particularly. We held them to 34 percent shooting from the floor and outrebounded them 44-40.”
The Rebels got another double-double from sophomore forward Mike Moser (15 points, 12 rebounds) and 13 points from senior forward Chace
Stanback, who took one shot in the second half — a key 19-foot jumper from the right corner that he sank over Brereton. Stanback made 6 of his 7 field goal attempts.
“A good win for us,” Rice said. “Hawaii has made nice improvement as a team from the start of the season. We all watched the Diamond Head Classic last week when they beat Xavier and they beat Clemson. They’re a good basketball team.”