Transition Play of the Game vs. Southern Utah


Photo by Josh Metz

With UNLV looking to speed up the tempo this season, we’ll be choosing the Rebels’ best transition play from each contest for quick postgame dissection.

Transition Play of the Game vs. Southern Utah

First half, 8:32 remaining
UNLV 24, Southern Utah 21

Any time a big man can snare a defensive rebound cleanly, it presents a transition opportunity. Here, Goodluck Okonoboh is uncontested on the boards, allowing him to secure the ball and immediately find his point guard. His quick release in getting the ball to Jerome Seagears effectively starts the play.

The fastest way to move the ball up court is with a pass, and Seagears does a good job of not over-dribbling. He only bounces the ball once before he throws it ahead to Jordan Cornish, who catches the ball deep on the left wing. This isn’t a typical fast break because the Rebels don’t have a numbers advantage, but quick advancement by Okonoboh and Seagears allow Cornish to eventually catch the ball in a position to score before the defense is set.

Here’s the moment Okonoboh comes down with the rebound:

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 12.44.03 AMDoes that look like a fast break in the making? No it doesn’t. All five Rebels are in the backcourt, and Utah State has two defenders already back defending the basket. But things can change quickly when you push tempo.

This is what it looked like when Seagears received the outlet pass:

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 12.27.42 AMFour UNLV players and two Southern Utah players are still in the backcourt, which means it’s 1-on-3 in the frontcourt. But watch what happens when Seagears quickly advances the ball via the pass:

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 12.28.19 AMForgive the blurriness of the screen shot, but you can see that when Cornish receives the pass, he’s ahead of everyone except the lone defender under the basket.

UNLV didn’t begin this play with numbers in its favor, but by pushing the ball quickly the Rebels were able to turn it into an advantageous transition scoring chance.

Cornish receives the pass with his momentum moving toward the basket, and he doesn’t hesitate in attacking. He uses one power dribble along the baseline to close the gap and elevates for the finish. The Utah State defender is in decent position to protect the rim, and that’s where offensive skill comes in—this is a really nice finish by Cornish. He goes full-speed at the rim and still manages to bank in the shot with a soft touch.

UNLV totaled 18 fast-break points against Southern Utah, and there were plenty of highlight plays. But this play showed that it doesn’t take a fullcourt press or a turnover to create transition chances. Credit Okonoboh for getting the ball out early, Seagears for pushing it ahead quickly and Cornish for finishing it off before the defense could settle. This wasn’t a classic fast break, but the Rebels turned it into two points by pushing the pace.

Total time elapsed: 6.5 seconds.

Vegas Seven


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