Anthony set a UNLV single-game record with 12 blocks that also tied the Mountain West mark set by Wyoming’s Justin Williams last year against Utah. He also grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds and missed a short jump-hook with 42 seconds remaining or he would have had just the second triple-double in MWC history.
Instead Anthony, who played just 26 minutes off the bench, had to settle for this line: eight points, 11 rebounds, 12 blocks and two assists.
“What Joel did was absolutely phenomenal,” UNLV head coach Lon Kruger said simply.
“I knew I had a bunch,” Anthony said of his blocks. “But I wasn’t keeping track.
Anthony, who had eight blocks in a win over Hawaii earlier this season, said he was unaware that he had an excellent shot at the school’s first triple-double since point guard Mark Dickel had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists against Mississippi Valley State on Nov. 19, 1999.
“It feels good, it feels nice,” Anthony said of his record. “It feels even better that it was in a win. That’s all I was focused on. Definitely getting the win was the most important thing.
“I knew they were going to keep going at me. I was just trying to make sure that I was in good position. The guys played great defense to make sure I wasn’t caught in a bad position to get a foul.”
Rebel guard Wink Adams, who finished with a pretty impressive stat line himself – 12 points, 7 assists, 4 steals – wasn’t surprised by Anthony’s shot-blocking exhibition.
“That’s just something that Joel always does,” Adams said. “He does that in practice. In practice, when he’s down low, everybody takes jumpers. We know we’re going to get our shots blocked if we go inside.”
UNLV (20-5, 7-3) looked lackluster in the first half while falling behind, 34-27. But the Rebels, who got a pair of rare 4-point plays by point guard Kevin Kruger after intermission, went on a 26-6 spurt in the first seven minutes of the second half while rallying for a 53-42 lead.
The Rebels led by as many as 16 points after that and the only suspense was whether Anthony would get his triple-double.
“I heard guys saying get me the ball but I wasn’t aware of it,” Anthony, who passed the ball out of the post several times late in the game, said.
Somewhat overlooked in all the excitement of Anthony’s block party was the fact senior forward Wendell White, who had zero points and zero rebounds in the first half, more than made up for it after intermission. White finished with a game-high 21 points, including 13 in the Rebels’ key 26-6 spurt.
It was also a big night for Kruger. He finished with 19 points, including 5 of 9 3-pointers, and six assists in his finest outing since suffering a deep thigh bruise at Wyoming on Jan. 10.