At times, the front court for UNLV head coach Dave Rice can be nearly unstoppable.
With the win, UNLV improved to 17-4 overall, but more importantly bumped their mark up to 4-2 within the Mountain West Conference. The rugged and difficult non-power six conference is virtually a free-for-all atop the standings, so every win, especially at home, is crucial on any given night.
The front court trio of Anthony Bennett, Khem Birch, and Mike Moser combined for 23 of the team’s 40 total rebounds, while Bryce Dejean-Jones scooped up eight boards in his own right. That type of production is key for the Rebels’ success this season, especially against a Nevada squad that simply could not match-up with UNLV’s big men.
We all know the production that Bennett, who is just a freshman, is putting up for UNLV this season, but their overall key may lie in the bench play of both Birch and Moser. Each of them have the ability to go for a double-double on any given night and that’s not just a characteristic you see with many collegiate teams.
A solid back court gives Rice one of the more loaded lineups out west and their record overall speaks for itself at this point in the season. However, it’s becoming more and more apparent that what holds the key to the Rebels’ ability to make a run within the NCAA Tournament this season is their forwards.
Nights like the one on Tuesday night are an indication of that and the more contests that they can dominate the glass in, the better off this squad is going to be as the season rolls along.
Follow Paul Seaver on Twitter: @PaulSeaverRS