Known as the “Hardway Eight,” this was the team that put UNLV on the map as a nationally prominent program . With players such as Lewis Brown, Glen Gondrezick, Larry Moffett, Eddie Owens, Robert Smith, Sam Smith, Tony Smith and Reggie Theus, the Rebels ran themselves to a record of 29-3 and a spot in the 1977 Final Four at the Omni in Atlanta . UNLV’s
record-setting team established NCAA marks for most points in one season (3,426), most 100-point games (23) and most consecutive 100-point games (12) . The Runnin’ Rebels won their first-ever West Regional Championship and advanced to the national semifinals . An 84-83 loss to North Carolina in the semifinals ended the championship dreams, but a 106-94 triumph over North Carolina-Charlotte gave UNLV third place and a positive end to the season . The squad was inducted into the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame in 1987
FRONT ROW (L-R): Mike Milke, Matt Porter, Tom Schuberth, Tony Smith, Robert Smith, Sam Smith, John Rodriguez, Gary Joe Wagner, Larry Chin, and Odis Allison. BACK ROW (L-R): Head Coach Jerry Tarkanian, Coach Al Menendez, Reggie Theus, Jackie Robinson, Eddie Owens, Lewis Brown, Larry Moffett, Glen Gondrezick, Dale Thompson, John Q. Trapp, Coach George McQuarn and Ralph Readout.
The 1986-87 edition of Runnin’ Rebel basketball was a special one as it became the first team to end the regular season as the nation’s top-ranked team . Led by Freddie Banks, Jarvis Basnight, Armon Gilliam, Gerald Paddio and Mark Wade, the Rebels ran through the Pacific Coast Athletic Association with a perfect record of 18-0 . The team’s only regular-season loss came at Oklahoma, 89-88 .UNLV entered the NCAA Tournament as the top seed in the West Region, breezing through the first three rounds . The Rebels received a big scare in the regional final when they were forced to overcome an 18-point deficit against a scrappy Iowa squad . The 84-81 triumph earned UNLV a spot in the Final Four at the Superdome in New Orleans . Banks shined in the semifinal matchup with Indiana, connecting on a tournament-record 10 3-pointers, but it was not enough as the Rebels fell to the eventual champions, 97-93 . The loss ended UNLV’s season with a record of 37-2 . The squad was inducted into the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998
FRONT ROW (L-R): Armon Gilliam, Gary Graham, Mark Wade, Head Coach Jerry Tarkanian, Freddie Banks, Leon Symanski, Eldridge Hudson. BACK ROW (L-R): Keith James, David Willard, Jarvis Basnight, Richard Robinson, Lawrence West, Gerald Paddio, Stacey Cvijanovich.
The season it all came together for the Runnin’ Rebels was 1989-90. Future NBA star Larry Johnson transferred from Odessa College, joining Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon, David Butler and Anderson Hunt. The Rebels began the season ranked No . 1 in almost every poll and rolled through the competition . UNLV suffered a surprising loss at New Mexico State and finished the season as co-champions of the Big West Conference. However, Johnson and Co. flexed their muscles in the Big West Tournament, running away with the title and the No . 1 seed in the West Region. In NCAA Tournament play, the Rebels toughest game came in the third round at Oakland, Calif ., when Ball State hung tough before falling 69-67 . UNLV also ended Loyola Marymount’s cinderella season with a 131-101 thrashing in the regional final . The win set up a semifinal match with Georgia Tech at McNicholls Arena in Denver. Trailing by seven at the half, UNLV rallied for an 89-80 triumph and a date in the championship. The 1990 NCAA Championship was all UNLV as an 18-0 run midway through the second half sent Duke reeling as the Rebels ran up the most lopsided victory in championship history, 103-73 . Hunt was named Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four for his performance as the Rebels finished the season 35-5 . The squad was inducted into the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 and celebrated its 20th anniversary during the 2009-10 season . UNLV head coach Dave Rice was a player on that team, and Augmon is currently an assistant coach for the Runnin’ Rebels.
FRONT ROW (L-R): Bryan Emerzian, Byron Wesley, Dan Bisek, Sean Watkins, Dave Rice. MIDDLE ROW (L-R): Greg Anthony, James Jones, David Butler, Anderson Hunt, Travis Bice, Barry Young, Moses Scurry, Stacey Augmon. BACK ROW (L-R): Coach Cleveland Edwards, Coach Ron Ganulin, Ed Goorjian, Rob Orellana, Chris Jeter, George Ackles, Larry Johnson, Coach Tim Grgurich, Coach Denny Hovanec, Head Coach Jerry Tarkanian. Not pictured: Stacey Cvijanovich.
Billed as one of the greatest teams of all time, the 1990-91 squad became the first team in 12 seasons to go undefeated in the regular season (27-0) . A perfect record of 18-0 captured the Big West crown and earned the Rebels the No . 1 seed in the West Region . UNLV also flexed its muscles in a rout of then-No . 2 Arkansas in Fayetteville . The Rebels rolled through regional play with wins over Montana, Georgetown, Utah and Seton Hall before a showdown with Duke in the Final Four at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis. Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley and Christian Laettner kept
the Rebels in check all evening and ended UNLV’s dreams of back-to-back championships and the first perfect season since Indiana in 1976 . The 79-77 loss ended UNLV’s season with a record of 34-1 .The team was inducted into the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002 . UNLV head coach Dave Rice was a player on that team, and Stacey Augmon is currently an assistant coach for the Runnin’ Rebels.
FRONT ROW (L-R): Larry Johnson, Dave Rice, Anderson Hunt, Greg Anthony, H Waldman, Travice Bice, Stacey Augmon, Bryan Emerzian. BACK ROW (L-R): Larry Chin, Coach Tim Grgurich, Ed Goorjian, Coach Ron Ganulin, Coach Keith Starr, Bobby Joyce, Chris Jeter, George Ackles, Evric Gray, Head Coach Jerry Tarkanian, Sean Foster, Jerry Koloskie, Coach Ron Adams.