UNLV has gotten off to a disappointing start to their season. Even though the expectations weren’t high, this just seems too low. An 11-point loss on opening night would even be acceptable at this point as long as there was a coaching point. A terrible 24 turnovers in the opener certainly filled that checkbox, and they shouldn’t come close to that number again all year. RIGHT?! Well, five games later, the Runnin’ Rebels found themselves in a similar situation. At the cost of another home ‘L’ in the win-loss column, UNLV committed 25 turnovers against the Crusaders of Valparaiso, falling 72-64.
Reality Check: Turnovers lose ball games. Period.
Each game is different; each personnel match-up will not be the same. The first 20-plus turnover game saw blame reach the seniors. Starting point guard Noah Robotham was charged a team-high six, while Shakur Juiston and Kris Clyburn each tallied five. The ball-handlers in that group seemed to have taken notice, as Robotham and Clyburn have since only combined for a mere 11 turnovers, the same number they totaled in the dreaded opening game alone.
Jumping into the most recent 20-plus turnover game, Amauri Hardy joined the club with the Juis-Box to lead the list in the clumsy category. Again with five, though, Juiston is finding himself in troubling areas.
Shakur Juiston has tried to shovel two wraparound passes to Dembele in traffic tonight. Both have been deflected and resulted in turnovers. That's on Juiston at this point.
Valparaiso up 39-37 with 15:52 remaining.
— Mike Grimala (@MikeGrimala) November 29, 2018
After forming a dynamic duo last year with Brandon McCoy, Juiston has found himself on top of scouting reports for other teams this time around. Maybe he is trying to force the issue too much early on this season, or maybe it’s the position he plays. Tervell Beck, a fellow forward, has also been a turnover machine this year.
As of this article, Beck is averaging 0.15 turnovers per minutes played. While that may not seem like a lot, it kind of is. Beck has turned the ball over at least twice in every game that he’s played more than 10 minutes in. Not a stat you would like to see, and it may cause Marvin Menzies into playing a smaller lineup. Freshman guard Bryce Hamilton has more minutes played this year than Beck, and has established himself early on as the sixth man.
Yes, I know Amauri Hardy has the fifth most minutes on the team this year. I know Hardy’s not technically starting, but Joel Ntambwe getting the start is due to the energy he brings, in my opinion. Thus, Ntambwe is a role player in my eyes, but I digress.
Is it a flawed offensive setup? Are the big men (with exception to Mbacke Diong) just not getting the system? I’ll leave that up to others in the know and just show up to every game hoping that those issues get resolved.
Can we just please beat Reno once this year? The Rebels return to action this afternoon against Cincinnati at 3 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center. The game will be broadcast on CBS SportsNet for television and KWWN (1100 AM, 100.9 FM) on the radio.