UNLV didn't play its best game — the Rebels struggled to run their offense for the first 10 minutes — but once the pace picked up, Marvin Menzies' squad ran Oral Roberts off the floor for a 92-66 victory at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Shakur Juiston scored a team-high 19 points, while Jovan Mooring added 15 points and four assists.
Once the Rebels figured out Oral Roberts' zone defense, this one was over. They closed the first half on a 25-7 run and never looked back. For the game, UNLV shot 54.4 percent.
UNLV improves to 7-2 on the season, with a game against Illinois at the MGM Grand set for Saturday.
Rebels rolling late against Oral Roberts
Freshman center Brandon McCoy just threw down a vicious dunk over Oral Roberts center Emmanuel Nzekwesi, and with 7:13 remaining, the Rebels have a comfortable 76-55 lead.
McCoy only has eight points, as he's battled foul trouble throughout the game, but that dunk more than made up for it.
Shakur Juiston is leading UNLV with 19 points, while Jovan Mooring has 12 and Amauri Hardy has chipped in 10.
Rebels lead Oral Roberts, 60-43
Brandon McCoy has picked up his fourth foul, but UNLV seems to be doing just fine with its freshman phenom on the bench. With 11:58 remaining, the Rebels lead Oral Roberts, 60-43.
Though McCoy has been limited to six points in 15 minutes, the rest of the Rebels have picked up the slack. Freshman guard Amauri Hardy just hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and Kris Clyburn followed with a 3 of his own to push the lead to 17 points.
UNLV is now shooting 56.1 percent for the game, while Oral Roberts is languishing at 34.7 percent.
UNLV takes 41-28 halftime lead over Oral Roberts
The Rebels closed the first half on a 25-7 run, and they've taken a 41-28 lead over Oral Roberts at the break.
Shakur Juiston had a productive first half, as he worked the creases in Oral Roberts' zone and finished with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting. Jovan Mooring and Jordan Johnson were the main facilitators, combining for 11 assists.
Oral Roberts had some success slowing down UNLV in the opening minutes, but the effectiveness tapered off as the game wore on. The Golden Eagles scored just seven points over the final eight minutes of the half and are shooting 32.4 percent for the game.
Brandon McCoy had a quiet half, notching just four points and two rebounds. He also picked up a pair of fouls, which limited him to 10 minutes. He and Juiston will both start the second half with two fouls.
UNLV opens 30-22 lead over Oral Roberts
UNLV seems to have found its stride late in the first half, and with 3:57 to play in the half, the Rebels have opened a 30-22 lead over Oral Roberts.
The Rebels are attacking Oral Roberts' zone defense more aggressively, and guards Jordan Johnson and Jovan Mooring have combined for nine assists. Shakur Juiston has been the main beneficiary, as he's got a team-high 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting.
UNLV is currently on a 7-0 run, as Oral Roberts hasn't scored in the last five minutes.
Rebels off to slow start against Oral Roberts
The Rebels have gotten off to a slow start, literally, and with 11:55 left in the first half, they trail Oral Roberts, 11-9.
Shakur Juiston scored a pair of inside baskets in the opening minutes, but UNLV hasn't had much success since. Oral Roberts has played a 2-3 zone defense, and it's slowing down the Rebels' offense. UNLV is just 4-of-12 from the field so far.
Three keys for UNLV basketball vs. Oral Roberts
UNLV looks to get back in the win column tonight, when the Rebels take on Oral Roberts at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. After consecutive overtime losses, a contest against the 2-7 Golden Eagles could be just what Marvin Menzies and his team need to regain momentum.
A few keys for the Rebels (6-2) tonight:
It’s no secret that the Rebels are at their best when they’re playing fast, and the Oral Roberts defense is exploitable in the open court. The Golden Eagles play a zone defense more than half the time (55.2 percent of possessions, according to Synergy Sports data), so it will be in UNLV’s best interest to create early offense before the zone can get set. If the Rebels can get defensive stops, secure rebounds and get the ball up court quickly, Oral Roberts shouldn’t be able to keep up for more than 15 minutes.
Get the backcourt right
It’s almost a given that big men Brandon McCoy and Shakur Juiston will feast on the inside, but UNLV needs its guards to start shooting straight again. Seniors Jovan Mooring and Jordan Johnson have combined to shoot 17.0 percent in the last two games (7-of-41 FGs)— not coincidentally, both were overtime contests that could have been swung by one or two made jumpers — but this could be an opportunity for them to break out. Oral Roberts is among the 20 worst teams in the nation when it comes to defending the pick-and-roll, so Mooring and Johnson will have plenty of opportunities to create.
UNLV has had a hard time holding onto the ball in the last week. The Rebels committed 20 turnovers against Northern Iowa, then racked up 17 giveaways against Arizona, and the miscues were the biggest reason why they lost both of those games. Cutting down on turnovers should restore UNLV’s efficiency and make it nearly impossible for Oral Roberts to keep pace in a high-scoring contest.