Khem Birch had 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots in UNLV's regular-season home finale.
UNLV splits tough road trip this week with loss Saturday after winning at New Mexico on Wednesday.
Rendering of statue unveiled; visit OneForTark.com to donate.
DeVille Smith and Kendall Smith both signed national letters of intent to enroll at UNLV this fall.
Legendary former Runnin' Rebel head coach to be inducted Sept. 8.
Be sure to check out this year's first Rebel Short video featuring new Runnin' Rebel head coach Dave Rice, director of athletics Jim Livengood and a cast featuring a number of UNLV Athletics representatives. Let's Run.
Men's basketball USATSI Gallery -- 11/22/14 Coaches vs Cancer Classic
UNLV vs. Boise State (USATSI)
UNLV men's basketball
USATSI Gallery, men's basketball
Boise State at UNLV photos by USA TODAY Sports
Dave Rice is in his fourth season as the head men's basketball coach at UNLV.
On April 10, 2011, Rice returned to the school where he was part of the 1990 National Championship team as a player, was a Rhodes Scholar candidate while earning his bachelor's degree in political science (UNLV '91), earned his master's of business administration (UNLV '93) and served as a Runnin' Rebel assistant coach for 11 seasons (1991-92 & 1994-2004).
In his first season back at the school, the 11th full-time head coach in UNLV men's basketball history led the Runnin' Rebels to a 26-9 overall record and became the winningest first-year head coach in the program's existence. In his second season, Rice led his squad to another 25-win campaign and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. He also led UNLV to its highest NCAA Tournament seed in 22 years as the Runnin' Rebels were awarded the No. 5 seed in the East for the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
In 2013-14, the Runnin' Rebels again achieved a 20-win season giving Rice a total of 71 victories over his first three seasons and giving him the second-most wins by a UNLV coach in his first three years at the school. (Hall of Famer Jerry Tarkanian had 73 wins in his first three seasons in Las Vegas).
Additionally, over his first three years as head coach, Rice has led the Runnin' Rebels to seven wins over top-25 teams, including a win over No. 1 North Carolina, marking the program's first victory over the nation's top-ranked team in 22 years and the first time a MW school has ever defeated the No. 1 team in both polls.
Rice, 46, coached his first Runnin' Rebel team to UNLV's best start to a season (22-5) since 1991-92 and had the team ranked in the top 25 for 13 straight weeks (14 overall), climbing to as high as No. 11 in the country. His second team was ranked for 11 straight weeks.
He also guided his first team to a 17-1 record at the Thomas & Mack Center, which included a perfect 16-0 mark during the regular season, UNLV's first undefeated home regular season in 20 years. That team recorded 20 wins before the start of February, which was a first for UNLV since 1987. His second team recorded a mark of 18-3 at the Thomas & Mack Center and Rice's career record in the building is an impressive 47-12 (.797).
UNLV was second in the nation in assists per game in 2011-12 (17.6) and also second in the country in percentage of field goals assisted (65.4). That team also led the Mountain West in scoring (76.3 ppg), assists and steals (8.5 spg). The 2012-13 team was in the national top-10 in assists, rebounds and blocks, while last year's team was in the top-10 nationally in blocks and rebounding, leading the league in both categories.
In Rice's three years at the helm of the Runnin' Rebel program, he has coached in front of 21 Thomas & Mack Center crowds of more than 15,000, including six sellouts of at least 18,500. Prior to the 2011-12 season, UNLV had three total sellouts during the previous 19 years. Under Rice, crowds at the Thomas & Mack Center have been the largest in 22 years and last year's home attendance again ranked in the nation's top 25 (for the sixth straight year) and No. 1 and among all schools on the West Coast.
Rice and his staff have also spent considerable time working toward the future and upgrading the talent on UNLV's roster. Their 2012 recruiting class was ranked as the seventh-best in the nation by ESPN, ahead of schools such as North Carolina, Michigan State, Indiana, Duke and Kansas. They pulled in an even higher-ranked class in 2014, which was ranked No. 5 in the country by Rivals (ahead of North Carolina, Louisville, UCLA, Georgetown and Florida). UNLV was the only MW school in the top 15 in either ranking for those years.
The 2012 class included Anthony Bennett, who was UNLV's first MW Freshman of the Year since 2000 and also became its second top overall NBA Draft pick when he went No. 1 to Cleveland in 2013. UNLV is one of only 17 schools to ever have multiple No. 1 NBA Draft picks and the Runnin' Rebel program is just the third with multiple top picks in the last 23 years.
Rice and his staff also coached former Runnin' Rebel forward Khem Birch to the league's Defensive Player of the Year award in 2013, marking the first for the program since 2007 (Joel Anthony, who has gone on to win two NBA championships with Miami was that year's winner). Birch then earned the same award for a second consecutive season last year.
In September of 2012, Rice was rewarded with a five-year contract by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, and then in April of this year he was given a two-year extension securing him in Las Vegas through at least the 2018-19 season.
Prior to accepting his first head coaching job, Rice accumulated 18 years of experience as an assistant coach at the Division-I level.
Rice joined Dave Rose's BYU staff in 2005 as an assistant coach, then was promoted to associate head coach in 2008. He helped BYU to five straight 25-win seasons and five consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, including a Sweet 16 appearance in 2011. BYU finished that season as the nation's 10th-ranked team, won the MW regular-season championship and finished with an overall record of 32-5. The Cougars, led by National Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette, climbed as high as No. 3 in the polls, which is the highest a MW team has ever been ranked.
Rice was in charge of coordinating BYU's high-powered offense as well as the program's recruiting efforts. He developed a stellar reputation in the industry and was regarded as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation. In 2010 in a FoxSports.com poll, he was selected by other conference coaches as the top assistant coach in the MW. Rice also became known as one of the top offensive minds in all of college basketball as the Cougars led the MW in scoring offense in all six of his seasons at BYU.
With Rice's help, BYU had some of the most successful teams in school and MW history. From 2005-11 the Cougars compiled an overall record of 159-45, including 78-18 in MW action. During that span BYU won four MW championships and in each of his last five seasons with the school, it finished ranked in the top 25. The Cougars also ranked in the top 20 nationally in several offensive categories over his last six seasons.
Rice also spent a year (2004-05) as assistant coach at Utah State under Coach Stew Morrill after his long tenure as assistant at UNLV.
During his lone season at Utah State, the Aggies recorded a 24-8 overall mark, finished second in the Big West Conference during the regular season and won the conference tournament title to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The first former player to become head coach of the program, Rice played for two seasons (1989-91) at UNLV as a reserve guard on two of Coach Tarkanian's Final Four teams. His 11 seasons as a UNLV assistant coach still stands as the second-most in school history behind only Tim Grgurich's 12.
During his time as an assistant at UNLV, the Runnin' Rebels made two NCAA Tournament appearances, played in the NIT five times, tallied two regular-season conference championships and two conference tournament championships.
Rice got his start in coaching when Tarkanian approached him about entering the profession after his playing career was over. Rice actually served as a graduate assistant on Tarkanian's staff during the legendary coach's final season at UNLV in 1991-92.
Rice has played alongside or helped guide 16 players that went on to play in the National Basketball Association, 10 of whom were drafted in the first round, including nine lottery picks.
Rice also spent a season (1993-94) as an assistant coach at Chaffey (Calif.) College. That team recorded a 32-6 mark, won its conference championship and reached the California Community College Final Four. He spent the previous season as the assistant coach at his alma mater, Claremont (Calif.) High School. At CHS, he served under his father, Lowell, a longtime high school coach. That team went 21-7, winning the Baseline League Championship and reaching the CIF quarterfinals.
During Rice's time as a player for the Runnin' Rebels, the squad posted a 69-6 record, which included winning a school-record 45 consecutive games. In addition to the national title and the two Final Four appearances, those teams captured the Big West regular-season title twice along with two conference tournament crowns. Prior to transferring to UNLV, Rice played at Mt. San Antonio College from 1987-89, where he earned All-South Coast Conference honors as a sophomore and was chosen from among more than 13,000 student-athletes as the 1989 California Junior College Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Rice was also a two-time winner of UNLV's Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
Rice is the sixth UNLV graduate in any sport to become a head coach at the school, following Tina Kunzer-Murphy (UNLV's current athletics director) in women's tennis (head coach from 1978-81), Wayne Nunnely in football (1986-89), Dan Abdalla (UNLV's current associate athletics director for development) in women's soccer (2000-04), Kathy Olivier in women's basketball (2008-present) and Rich Ryerson in men's soccer (2010-present).
Dave and his wife, Mindy, who is also a UNLV graduate, have two sons, Travis, 17, and Dylan, 12.
The couple established the Dave Rice Foundation in the spring of 2012, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and support of health initiatives including developmental disorders such as Autism, and other charitable causes.
Since its inception, it has awarded over $500,000 in grants to various Autism-related organizations in Southern Nevada. The board of directors of the Foundation includes Las Vegas natives Jimmy Kimmel (late night television host) and Greg Anthony (CBS sports broadcaster, former Runnin' Rebel and NBA star), along with D.J. Allen (Founder and President of Xs & Os of Success) and Donna Findlay.