The UNLV Rebels, Mountain West favorite and #18 in the AP Poll, were taken to the brink in an overtime game against the Dixie State Red Storm on Wednesday night. If it's any indication of the kind of season we might enjoy across the country in 2012-13, let's get it started!
Dixie State, a Division II school from Saint George, Utah (and once also nicknamed the Rebels), gave UNLV all they wanted at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Rebels were up 47-30 at halftime, but it was a battle the rest of the night as Dixie opened the second half on an 11-0 run.
In fact, the Red Storm led by as many as five points in the waning minutes. Freshman guard Katin Reinhardt saved the day, making a three pointer with a minute left to give UNLV a 72-71 lead. After Dixie sent the game to overtime on a pair of free throws, it then sprinted to an 80-73 lead in overtime with Dalton Groskreutz putting the Red Storm on his back.
Reinhardt, who led the Rebels in scoring with 20, would hit another three to make it 80-78. Dixie would not score again, and UNLV escaped with an 81-80 overtime win.
SEATTLE GETS BUCKETS
I say "at least a little" because it should be noted that its exhibition opponent was Evergreen State. The Geoducks (yes, that's their nickname) are an NAIA team. With that recognized, Seattle isn't exactly an established power. Coach Cameron Dollar is leading a program pioneering itself back to prominence.
In front of 1,837 fans at Key Arena (motto: good enough for us!), the Redhawks raced out to a 61-6 halftime lead against the Geoducks on Wednesday night en route to a 117-34 victory. The game couldn't have been more disparate. While Seattle shot 64% in the first half, Evergreen State was 2-30 from the floor, including 0-13 from behind the arc.
None of Seattle's starters played more than 19 minutes as the Redhawks were led by Allen Tate and Chad Rasmussen, who both scored 20 points off the bench. While every player for Seattle scored at least four points, no Geoduck hit double digits. (You can view the box score carnage yourself.)
For whatever reason -- good logo, known coach, beloved arena -- I've developed an affinity for Seattle U as it has prepared to dive fully back into Division I hoops. Here's to a good season for Coach Dollar and company.