LAS VEGAS — Once the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels started running Wednesday night, there was little the University of Central Arkansas Bears could do to slow them at Jerry Tarkanian Court at the Thomas & Mack Arena.
The No. 19 Runnin’ Rebels (14-2) reeled off 63 points in the first half and topped the 100-point mark for the first time this season in a 124-75 victory over the Bears.
Chase Stanback, a 6-foot-8 senior forward who did not start because of a disciplinary suspension, scored a game-high 29 points and was 9 of 11 from 3-point range as the Runnin’ Rebels made a season-high 18 3-point shots. For the game, UNLV shot 67.1 percent overall, 56.3 percent from beyond the arc and 80 percent from the free-throw line.
“You watch the game against North Carolina and you see them hitting all those 3's; you see it on tape,’ said UCA head coach Corliss Williamson. “But you don’t really have an understanding of how good this team can shoot the ball and how well they play until you see them up close and personal. They took it to us.
“Eighteen 3-pointers and 56.3 percent from the three. If you tell me a team can do that night in and night out, you know you’re going to be in trouble if you play them. They did a great job of keeping the floor spaced and recognizing where their shooters were. That’s how they play the game."
The Bears (5-7) jumped to leads of 7-2 and 11-6 in the opening four minutes, but once the Runnin’ Rebels found their shooting touch, it was all but over. UNLV shot 64.1 percent from the field in the first half and went 9 of 16 from three-point range. Chace Stanback was 3 of 3 from beyond the arc, while Reggie Smith went 2 for 2 and Mike Moser went 2 for 4.
The Runnin’ Rebels forced UCA into 17 first-half turnovers and converted those into 26 points. The bright spots for UCA in the first half were 11 points each from Jarvis Garner and Mark Rutledge, who combined to go 9 for 12 from the field. Garner, from Conway, was 3 for 3 from 3-point range.
Consecutive 3's by Stanback gave UNLV a 35-21 lead with 8:38 remaining in the first half. The lead reached a high of 27 points on Stanback’s third 3-pointer with 2:00 remaining. Garner hit a jumper just before the buzzer to make the halftime score 63-39.
UNLV knocked down eight more threes in the second half and reached the 100-point mark, fittingly, on a Stanback three-pointer with 9:50 remaining. The Runnin’ Rebels finished with seven players in double figures, with Mike Moser adding 18 and three others hitting 13 each.
UCA finished with 25 turnovers and was outscored 34-14 in points off turnovers. Stanback off the bench also helped the Runnin’ Rebels outscore UCA 70-13 in bench points.
“You can’t afford to have that many turnovers against a team as explosive as UNLV,’ said Williamson. “We looked like we could run with them a little early in the game but when they turned up that pressure, it was hard for us to do anything. I was proud of our guys' effort tonight. I told our guys I’d take this loss over the loss at Iowa because we competed all night."
Sophomore guard LaQuentin Miles topped the Bears with 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and four steals. Rutledge added 13 points, while Garner finished with 11.
UCA is off until the opening of Southland Conference play on Jan. 7 at Lamar.