Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - The La Verne Leopards will try to shock the
world as they visit Orleans Arena seeking an upset of the 20th-ranked UNLV
Runnin' Rebels on Thursday night.
The Leopards will leave the Division III ranks for a pair of matchups versus
Division I foes as they take on Cal State Bakersfield next. La Verne enters
with a 1-4 record after dropping a 58-49 decision to Pomona-Pitzer its last
time out. The loss was the fourth in a row for coach Richard Reed's squad,
which does not have a player taller than 6-foot-7 listed on its roster. Even
at the Division III level, La Verne is scoring only 59.2 ppg and allowing
opponents to net an average of 1.5 more points per contest.
The Runnin' Rebels improved to 7-1 their last time out as Quintrell Thomas
converted a layup with a second left to lift the team to a 76-75 decision over
California. The win was the fifth in a row for Dave Rice's team, which is
averaging 79.5 points and 17.5 assists per contest. UNLV's most impressive win
thus far was a 12-point victory over Iowa State the day after it suffered a
four-point setback to Oregon.
This will be the ninth meeting in history and first since 1965 between these
schools on the hardwood. UNLV has won all eight previous encounters.
La Verne is led by sophomore guard Jourdan Simmonds, who is averaging 16 ppg
on 45.7 percent shooting from the field. The Hawaii native is also connecting
on 57.1 percent of his attempts from distance with 3.2 makes per game from
behind the arc. Senior point guard Jake Veith is second on the team with 12.4
ppg, but the frontcourt will have trouble as no other Leopards are scoring in
double figures regularly.
UNLV took a major hit when starter Mike Moser dislocated his elbow versus Cal,
which sent the versatile forward to the injured list for an indefinite period
of time. However, Pitt transfer Khem Birch will be eligible to make his debut
on Monday. Freshman forward Anthony Bennett picked up the slack after Moser
went down and tallied 25 points and 13 rebounds to pace the team in the recent
win. Although Bennett is already averaging 19.5 points and 8.3 boards per
contest, those numbers may see an incline with Moser out. Senior guard Anthony
Marshall shows off his versatility with 11 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 5.8
assists per outing. The Runnin' Rebels have plenty of additional weapons on
the offensive end with Katin Reinhardt, Bryce Dejean-Jones, and Justin Hawkins
all making an impact as part of the rotation.
The Sports Network