Quintrell Thomas and Carlos Lopez show up big in rout of Utah
UNLV and Utah both started the game off cold, unable to break past the 12 point mark until 8:25 left in the first half, but the Rebels finished the half on a 21-9 run before Josh Watkins hit a buzzer beating three point shot to make the score at halftime 33-24.
UNLV came out of the break on another run like the one they had to close the half, 11-4 in the first 6:11. From then on the Rebels just kept the lead between 10-15 points and cruised to a win. The guard play for UNLV was very balanced. Chace Stanback had 11 points while the other 5 guards had between 4 and 7 points.
Quintrell Thomas had 13 points and also grabbed 10 rebounds by halftime to clinch his first double-double of the season. He finished the game leading the Rebels in both points and rebounds at 15 and 16 respectively. That's pretty impressive considering that he was facing 7'3" David Foster, the reigning MWC defensive player of the year for most of the game.
Carlos Lopez, Thomas's replacement while he was on the bench, also had a very good game himself. As usual, Lopez played outstanding post defense, but this game he seemed to play well on the offensive end. He came withing one rebound of a double-double, even though he came of the bench. 14 points and 9 rebounds is Lopez's career high.
Will Clyburn led the way for Utah with 17 points and 12 rebounds, not to be outdone by Josh Watkins who went for 15 points. What was more stunning was the fact that David Foster, Utah's 7'3" center who had given UNLV much trouble in the past, was held scoreless in only 24 minutes. The scoring for Utah wasn't very balanced at all, as was evident by the fact that only three players scored more than 4 points in the game.
If UNLV's post players keep playing as dominant as this against this good of defensive players, UNLV could really be much better in the second half of the conference season. UNLV has an outstanding amount of talented guards, but the post has always been their problem. With the post being this dominant, UNLV could easily go 7-1 or 8-0. The problem with that is whether or not the post can be consistent.
Follow rebelfan1_ via Twitter for News on UNLV and the Mountain West Conference.