Rebels get defensive in exhibition win

For a while Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center, the big question facing the crowd of 7,811 was which would come first: the Armon Gilliam jersey retirement ceremony at halftime, or Washburn finally scoring a point?

The Division II Ichabods from Topeka, Kan., took over eight minutes before breaking through on the scoresheet. Darnell Kimble's off-balanced jumper from the free throw line snapped a streak of 11 consecutive missed field goal attempts and cut UNLV's lead to 17-2.

The Runnin' Rebels, playing the same type of stifling defense that became their trademark during a Sweet Sixteen run last season, led 33-4 with four minutes to go in the first half and 38-9 at halftime.

UNLV held Washburn to just 15.4 percent shooting (4 of 26) in the first half and 29.5 percent (18 of 61) for the game. The Rebels finished with seven steals and also forced 20 turnovers.

"Defense is our biggest thing," senior point guard Curtis Terry said. "Everybody knows how we won games last year.

"The guys just went out and shut down guys and got out in the passing lanes and got easy steals and rebounds and outlets. Everything was just flowing. We couldn't ask for a better start."

Terry excelled in the start at point guard, dishing off seven assists to go along with seven points, two steals and no turnovers in 28 minutes of action. Sophomore Marcus Lawrence, also expected to see plenty of playing time at the point, sat out the game because of what Kruger called "academic responsibilities.

"He knows what is expected and didn't take care of it," Kruger said. "Hopefully he can get that taken care of pretty quickly."

Kruger said he was not sure if Lawrence would be available for Friday night's season opener against Montana State at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Junior forward Joe Darger had a game-high 19 points while senior forward Corey Bailey added 12 points and seven rebounds. And junior Emanuel Adeife (7 points, 9 rebounds) and sophomore Matt Shaw (8 points, 7 rebounds) combined for 15 points and 16 rebounds at the center position.

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