Oregon-UNLV Preview

The Associated Press

UNLV coach Dave Rice knows his squad won't always be able to play at its customary up-tempo pace.

He also believes it has enough talent to play any style necessary to win.

The 18th-ranked Runnin' Rebels could get a tough test when they host unbeaten Oregon in the semifinals of the Global Sports Classic on Friday night.

UNLV (2-0) cruised to a 92-54 victory over Northern Arizona in its season opener Nov. 12 despite getting only two points from Mike Moser, last season's leading scorer. The Rebels weren't able to play their run-and-gun style Saturday, though, attempting 15 fewer shots in a 77-58 win over Jacksonville State, which held the ball for most of the shot clock to slow them down.

''A number of teams are going to play us that way,'' Rice said. ''We have a lot of teams that are going to hold the ball on us."

Moser led five players in double figures with 19 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds.

"We've got to be a team that plays with no agenda and just plays to help our team win," Rice said. "Teams are going to do a lot of different things against us and we just have to understand as a basketball team that who scores on that particular night is going to be dictated upon what the defense gives us."

Justin Hawkins scored 16 points off the bench, and Rice expects similar contributions from his senior guard throughout the season.

''Justin is a captain and a leader," Rice said of Hawkins, who scored five points in a starting role in the opener. "He's a good sixth man as anyone is in the country.''

Though UNLV has breezed through its first two contests, the schedule gets tougher in this tournament. If it can get past Oregon, it will face the winner of No. 22 Cincinnati and Iowa State - both 4-0 teams entering Friday - in the championship Saturday.

''Good games and tougher games are coming up soon," Rice said.

Oregon (4-0) has gotten off to its best start since also winning its first four in 2007-08, when it last played in the NCAA tournament. After beating Northern Arizona by 10 points and Portland State by 11, the Ducks crushed Vanderbilt by 26 last Friday before beating Jacksonville State 67-45 on Monday.

Coach Dana Altman said he saw some positives, but his squad also tied its season high for turnovers.

"I'm disappointed with the 18 turnovers. We're going to play some teams this weekend that really get up and pressure," Altman said. "We did not do a very god job of handling the ball, so that's a big concern."

He was pleased with the effort of center Tony Woods, who scored a career-high 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Altman, though, is aware it will be much tougher to hold a team like UNLV to the 38.0 percent Jacksonville State shot from the field.

"We've got to play with a little bit more energy and get a little tougher on the defensive end," Altman said. "I'm not sure we made the progress we need to make to go down and play some teams that are very good and ranked in the top 20."

The Ducks won the most recent meeting, beating seventh-seeded UNLV 76-72 in the regional semifinals of the 2007 NCAA tournament as a No. 3 seed.

What to Read Next