The 19th-ranked team in the nation is conference action at the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu.
UNLV, which hasn't started a season with 15 wins in 17 opportunities since 1992-93, posted win number 14 three nights ago when it ripped apart Central Arkansas in a 124-75 final at the Thomas & Mack Center. The lopsided victory was the fifth straight for the team and the 10th in as many home dates for UNLV which is kicking off a three-game road trip today with stops at Cal State Bakersfield and San Diego State in the Mountain West Conference opener to follow.
As for the Warriors, they began the 2011-12 campaign with just two wins in the first six games, but the squad has gotten on course in the last three weeks with six wins in seven tries. On Thursday night, Hawaii scored a season-high 100 points in a 27-point victory over South Carolina State, the team's third consecutive win.
With respect to the all-time series between these two schools on the hardwood, the Rebels are ahead by a count of 21-9, winning the most recent meeting two years ago during the second round of the Diamond Head Classic, 77-53. UNLV has taken two straight out on the island and is 10-7 in Honolulu in the series overall.
The scoring outburst for the Rebels against Central Arkansas was the highest for the team since the 1990-91 campaign when UNLV was a national power. Of the team's 47 field goals, UNLV registered assists on all but seven of them which ended up being one shy of the school record. Chace Stanback was an astounding 9-of-11 shooting from three-point range, tying the Thomas & Mack Center record for the most three-pointers in a single game. Stanback finished with 29 points as the UNLV reserves delivered a staggering 82 points which by itself would have been enough to beat the visitors. Mike Moser registered 18 points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals in just 25 minutes, followed by Quintrell Thomas, Reggie Smith and Carlos Lopez with 13 points apiece. Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins chipped in with 10 points apiece, the former handing out 10 assists as well. Marshall (9.9 ppg) and Oscar Bellfield (9.8 ppg) have combined for an incredible 165 assists over 16 games which is just 15 shy of the total set by all of the UNLV opponents this season. Stanback ( 15.5 ppg) is the dangerous man on the outside who is shooting 41-of-82 behind the three-point line, while Moser (13.9 ppg) is pulling down 11.1 rpg.
As was the case for the Rebels in their game with the Bears, Hawaii also got a huge lift from the backups against South Carolina State as Hauns Brereton tallied a team-best 22 points and Shaquille Stokes dropped in 10 points and handed out five assists in just 17 minutes of action. Joston Thomas led the starters with a double-double consisting of 16 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Zane Johnson with 14 points as he made good on 4-of-7 shots behind the three-point line and also made five steals. With a different leading scorer in four of the last five games, the Warriors are learning to be more balanced and it is certainly paying dividends as the group generates 72.8 ppg. Leading the way is Johnson with his 15.4 ppg, his 38 three-pointers more than half the team's total through 13 games. Even though he made just one of his seven field goal attempts against the competition in the last outing, Vander Joaquim is still the one they turn to in the paint with his 11.8 points and team-high 9.5 rebounds per contest.