UNLV coach Dave Rice's debut ended in victory but it also made them realize there is more work to do if the Runnin' Rebels are going to live up to their name.
After one half of an exhibition game against Washburn, the Rebels trailed by a point, shot 17 percent from the field, and missed all eight of their 3-point attempts.
But it was a learning experience, too, as the Rebels realized quickly that many future opponents will also know that with their desire to run, there will be several game plans designed around trying to slow them down to a crawl.
"I think with the athletes we have and the way we're trying to push the tempo and play, I think there are a lot of teams that will try to take the air out of [the ball] a little bit," Rice said. "So that's something we'll have to learn to deal with.
Despite the lackluster stats from the early portion of the game, perhaps UNLV got its biggest compliment before the contest. Former coach Jerry Tarkanian, whose offense Rice played in and is using as inspiration, offered his endorsement of the team in his latest Las Vegas Sun blog entry.
I’m just very impressed with the ball club. I told Dave how surprised I was with how many players he has. His roster is deeper than any of mine were.
There is a lot of excitement right now in the community for what he is doing and that running style of play. I can’t wait to see it on the court, too.
But they can’t live off that excitement. They have to go out and prove themselves -- they have to get out there and run.