UC Irvine loses 85-57 to No. 24 UNLV

The UC Irvine Anteaters found out why No. 24 UNLV has been
ranked all season.

The Runnin’ Rebels (4-1) made 10 steals compared to three for
the Anteaters (3-5). The Rebels forced 15 turnovers while the
Anteaters only could force seven.

UNLV coupled that turnover number with 22 assists and one could
see why they led throughout the game and got ahead by as many as 29
points in an 85-57 victory.

”The thing making them good right now is their physical
aggressiveness defensively,” UC Irvine coach Russell Turner said.
”That really bothered us. It bothered us more than I thought.

”They’re a better defensive team than an offensive team, and I
give their coach credit for building that mentality with a young
team. They’re good.”

Senior guard Daman Starring, who grew up in Las Vegas, had 18
points and Adam Folker added 12 for the Anteaters, who lost by four
points or fewer in their first three losses. This was their second
straight loss by double digits following a 10-point loss to
Pepperdine last Saturday.

Freshman Anthony Bennett and junior Mike Moser scored 19 points
apiece to lead the Rebels.

Using tenacious defense, the Rebels held UC Irvine scoreless
during a crucial 5 minutes of the second half, long enough to widen
their lead to 20 points and take the Anteaters out of the game.
UNLV outscored UC Irvine 51-31 in the second half to pull away for
the easy win.

Katin Reinhardt added 13 points for the Rebels.

Bennett sat out Monday’s practice with a sore back, but
practiced Tuesday at full speed, while senior point guard Anthony
Marshall sat out with swelling in a knee. Neither looked as if they
were bothered at all. Marshall finished with six points and nine
assists.

After a relatively quiet first half, with just six points,
Bennett had 13 in the second half and scored seven of UNLV’s first
17 points in the second half.

UC Irvine scored just 21 points over the final 14:59 of the game
– nine from the free throw line.

The Rebels scored the game’s first six points and built a
10-point lead on three occasions in the first half. Though the
Anteaters closed the gap to 25-22, Carlos Lopez-Sosa’s first career
3-pointer helped UNLV extend its lead over the final 5 minutes.
Moser scored 11 points and Bennett had six to lead UNLV to a 34-26
halftime lead.

Moser, who was 4 of 13 from the field and had five rebounds,
went right after the Anteaters, commanding the ball and using an
aggressive approach from the opening tip. His baseline drive for a
dunk that put the Rebels up 21-11 with 9:23 remaining in the half
was a punctuation to his effort. The Rebels were 12 of 32 (37.5
percent) from the field, including 2 for 9 on 3-pointers, and made
8 of 9 free throws over the first 20 minutes.

UC Irvine entered the week No. 7 in the nation in
assist-to-turnover ratio, but the Rebels had no trouble creating
turnovers, forcing the Anteaters to cough up 15. UC Irvine had just
10 assists. Alex Young went into the game leading the nation in
assist-to-turnover ratio at 10.33, as he had 31 assists compared to
just three giveaways. But against the Rebels, the freshman guard
committed four turnovers and had just two assists.