Derrick Jones Steals Show in Blowout Win

Derrick Jones

Photo by Josh Metz

I know why you’re here, and I’m not going to keep you waiting. Here’s the dunk:

UNLV beat New Mexico Highlands 107-45 on Monday, and there’s not a ton of analytical substance I can take from a game like that. So enjoy this parade of dunks, and then I’ll hit you with a few info nuggets at the bottom.

That should give you a pretty accurate snapshot of how UNLV handled its Division II opponent. Jones finished with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, making him one of six Rebels to finish in double figures. It was that kind of game.

Now, on to the “analysis”…

Passing grade
After struggling a bit with ball movement in the season opener, UNLV polished up its passing game against New Mexico Highlands. The Rebels finished with 24 assists on 40 made field goals, with only 14 turnovers mixed in.

Granted, the NMH defense wasn’t putting up much of a fight. But the way the Rebels worked possessions and generated open shots was encouraging. Jerome Seagears and Patrick McCaw both had success executing the pick-and-roll with Stephen Zimmerman (Seagears and McCaw each finished with a team-high four assists), and the interior passing was a step up from Game 1 as well.

Dave Rice praised the assist-to-turnover ratio in his postgame press conference and said continued ball movement will be key as UNLV prepares for a quick turnaround leading up to Wednesday’s game against Southern Utah.

Poyser peaks
Rice played 27 different lineup combinations in the opener, but freshman Jalen Poyser was limited to just five minutes. He got more room to spread out once UNLV started blowing out New Mexico Highlands, however, and the results were promising. Known more for his sheer athleticism, the 6-foot-3 guard showed a nice touch on his jumper as he nailed all four of his 3-point attempts and finished with a team-high 16 points.

Poyser played some point guard and also logged some minutes off the ball next to Jerome Seagears and Patrick McCaw. If he continues to knock down shots from long-distance, his minutes will likely increase—even against real teams.

Carter comes through
The Rebels made a couple changes to the starting lineup, one expected and one a bit more surprising. The expected move came with the insertion of McCaw into the starting five—he came off the bench in the opener because he was late to a team meeting, and regained his spot against New Mexico Highlands (with Jordan Cornish swinging back to the bench). The unexpected move was Ben Carter subbing in for Goodluck Okonoboh.

Rice said Okonoboh suggested the switch at Sunday’s practice. The sophomore center told Rice that coming off the bench would give him more of a chance to get a feel for the game before getting on the court, and after sleeping on it for a day, Rice agreed.

Carter sparked the Rebels in his 19 minutes, finishing with nine points, nine rebounds and four assists. Okonoboh played 22 minutes and posted eight points and seven rebounds. So on the surface, it appears as though the shuffling worked out. Carter’s experience, intelligence and intensity have made him a Rice favorite already, so it should be assumed that he’ll continue starting for the foreseeable future.

Vegas Seven


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