After getting beat down by Chasson Randle’s threes and Stanford, the young Rebels have a short turnaround to play Temple (2-1) in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic consolation game.
UNLV (2-1) struggled to defend the three-point line Friday night, as Stanford rained in 14 of 20 shots from beyond the arc. Randle led the way hitting 6 of 10 threes.
Temple has struggled mightily from three this year; the Owl shots 1 of 12 from deep against Duke Friday night, which brings their season total to 10 of 43 (23.2%). But Temple has two guards that shot much better last season.
Quenton DeCousey drilled 34 percent of his threes while making nearly two per game last year. Temple’s leading scorer Will Cummings shot 31 percent last season from deep; that’s not a great percentage, but it is much better than his 1 of 13 start to the season.
If Dave Rice is committed to playing zone defense, the Rebels could see another team get hot. It was a bizarre night for UNLV’s defense, as Rice stayed in the zone despite the shooting onslaught.
Most teams won’t shoot 70 percent from three, so staying in a zone isn’t a major coaching flaw – UNLV would have likely gotten roasted inside had they gone to man-to-man defense. What was concerning was the 1-3-1 zone UNLV played.
It was the first time we’ve seen the Rebels playing a 1-3-1 this season, but the bizarre part was that the point guard was the final man the zone, the "rim protector". The likely reason for having the point guard – either Cody Doolin or Patrick McCaw – play this spot was to have speed to cover out to the corners, where Randle got free so often. But UNLV gave up open corner threes and got killed inside, as Doolin or McCaw weren’t capable rebounders or shot blockers at the rim.
Nine players saw the court against Stanford, but none of them were Kendall Smith.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Sprained ankle, per Rice. Possible he returns tomorrow. RT <a href="https://twitter.com/Exian81">@Exian81</a>: What is the deal with kendall smith? Is he injured?</p>— Taylor Bern (@TaylorBern) <a href="https://twitter.com/TaylorBern/status/535995871431630848">November 22, 2014</a></blockquote>
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Smith only played three minutes against Sam Houston State and appears to have lost the backup point guard position to McCaw.
Due to the blowout, Rice was able to get Doolin some much-needed rest, as the senior point guard saw just 28 minutes.
Temple knocked off American and Louisiana Tech to open the season. The Owls beat American 40-37; it was the fewest points in a Temple win since 1947. Duke held the Owls under 30 points in both halves on Friday night.
Before the game against Duke, Temple had struggled in two areas on offense: transition and zone. In the first two games the Owls scored just 9 points on 21 fast breaks, per Synergy Sports. Plus against zone defenses, Temple was averaging .55 points per possession, compared to 1.01 against man defenses.
The game will start at 4:00 p.m. PST and will be televised on TruTV. Duke and Stanford will play in the nightcap, scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. PST.