The 18th-ranked UNLV Rebels will take on the Oregon Ducks at the Thomas & Mack Center in the semifinals on the Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas on Friday night.
The winner will advance to play either Iowa State or Cincinnati in the championship game on Saturday, while the losers will go head-to-head for third place.
Oregon opened up the season with a four-game homestand, and it came out the other side with a perfect record after registering wins over Northern Arizona (83-73), Portland State (80-69), Vanderbilt (74-48), and Jacksonville State (67-45). It marks the first time the Ducks have started a season 4-0 since the 2007-08 campaign.
UNLV has only played two games this season, claiming wins over Northern Arizona (92-54) and Jacksonville (77-58) in the opening rounds of the tournament. The Rebels, who are the tournament's host team, return five letterwinners to a squad that advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament a season ago.
This will be the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
Much of Oregon's early-season success is thanks to its sharp shooting, as it's connecting on more than 47 percent of its field goals for 76 ppg. Although it managed just 67 points in its latest win, it kept pace with its shooting percentage by drilling 27-of-57 field goal attempts (.474), even though just 4-of-15 of those came from beyond the three-point line. Tony Woods was fantastic down low, connecting on 8-of-12 from the floor for a game-high 17 points while also swatting away five shots. E.J. Singler tallied just 11 points, but he's still the Ducks' leading scorer on the year (12.8 ppg), and he's making good on 40 percent of his three-point attempts. Woods (12.0 ppg), Damyean Dotson (10.8) and Dominic Artis (10.0) round out a very balanced scoring attack for Oregon.
Although a two-game sample size isn't very large, UNLV has barely broken a sweat on the young season as its shooting 48.7 percent from the field, holding its opponents to 31.6 percent, and boasting a scoring margin of nearly 30 points per game. The Rebels held Jacksonville State to just 14 first half points and had efficient days from the floor (24-of-51) and from the foul line (24-of-33) en route to an easy double-digit victory. Mike Moser led five players in double figures with 19 points, and he added 10 points, four assists, and a blocked shot to boot. Justin Hawkins came off the bench to tally 16 points, Anthony Bennett logged 12 points and nine boards, and Anthony Marshall and Katin Reinhardt each put up 11 points. All five of those guys average at least 10.5 ppg on the season, paced by Bennett (17.0 ppg), who's shooting greater than 63 percent from the field.