Canadian Bennett leads UNLV past Northern Iowa
Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) - Anthony Bennett posted a double-double with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting and 12 rebounds as No. 21 UNLV took care of Northern Iowa, 73-59, on Wednesday at Thomas & Mack Center.
Bennett added three blocks and Khem Birch finished with 11 points and nine boards for the Runnin' Rebels (10-1), who have won eight straight since an 83-79 loss to Oregon on Nov. 23. Anthony Marshall added nine points in the victory.
Marc Sonnen scored a team-high 15 points, while Anthony James donated 13 points and five boards for the Panthers (6-5), who have lost two straight on the heels of a three-game winning streak.
Jake Koch contributed 11 points and eight boards in the setback.
The Rebels canned eight of their first 10 shots from the field to lunge out to a 16-4 advantage with 13:45 on the opening half clock.
Sonnen drained a trey for Northern Iowa, but consecutive baskets by Marshall and Birch pushed the UNLV lead to 21-7 with just over 11 minutes to play in the half.
Northern Iowa cut the deficit to 10 on two occasions in the opening half, but a slam by Bennett with two minutes to play in the opening stanza gave the Rebels a 41-20 advantage and they led, 43-22 at the break.
After a sluggish shooting first half, the Panthers shot a bit better in the second half, hitting at a 36.4 percent clip, while outscoring the Rebels, 37-30, but the deficit proved to be too large for the Panthers to overcome.
Wednesday's game marked just the second meeting between the programs. The teams last met in the 2010 NCAA Tournament when Northern Iowa pulled off a 69-66 upset of the Rebels ... UNLV's reserves scored 24 points, while the Panthers reserves could muster just 15 points.