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UNLV escapes major upset in 81-80 OT win over Dixie State in exhibition

Blowing big leads is something that the 2011-2012 UNLV Runnin' Rebel basketball team was well known for towards the end of the season. Bad three-point shooting was an issue as well, and if this exhibition game against Dixie State, in what should have been a complete thrashing of the opponent, is any indication of what is to come, it may be more of the same for this team.

UNLV jumped out to a 17 point halftime lead and was in complete control heading into the locker room. Just like how most upsets happened last season, the Rebels came out flat in the second half, almost immediately allowing Dixie State to come back within 6 points. The deficit stayed anywhere between there and double digits for most of the second half, but towards the end Dixie State started taking control and led by as much as 5. UNLV was able to pull it together and get the game into overtime, but once again had trouble, as they had to score the final 8 points of the game to erase a seven point deficit.

The bottom line is this is Dixie State, a team that shouldn't even remotely be able to compete with the Runnin' Rebels - and they pushed the team to overtime. The first half performance was good, and gives the idea of what this team can be, but if Dave Rice can't figure out a way to solve second-half woes and horrible three point shooting (UNLV shot 6-32 behind the arc), then this team may go just as far as last year's did - the first round.

The good news is that this was just an exhibition, and hopefully it was a wake-up call for the Rebels, that they can't just sleepwalk through certain parts of games and just win. If it wasn't, then be prepared for another long and unsatisfying season from the Runnin' Rebels.