Bryce Dejean Jones first start of the season placed senior Justin Hawkins in the role of sixth man.
Hawkins answered with 16 points off the bench as he paced the Rebels to a slow-down 77-58 victory over Jacksonville State before a crowd of 15,316 at the Thomas and Mack Center Saturday night.
The pace frustrated the Rebels as they turned the ball over 11 times in the first half. But Hawkins and junior forward combined for 23 of the Rebels 32 first half points to keep UNLV comfortably ahead at the break 32-14. UNLV used a 14-2 run to close out the half.
"I love Justin Hawkins off the bench," head coach Dave Rice said. "Justin is a captain and a leader. He provides great leadership off the bench. He's a good sixth man as anyone is in the country."
Though the Rebel offense was sloppy, the defense and work on the boards left the Gamecocks with little chance.
Katin Reinhardt (11), Anthony Marshall (11), and Anthony Bennett (12) joined Moser and Hawkins in double digit scoring for the Rebels.
The Gamecocks clawed their way back into the game with just under six minutes to play with Darion Rackley cut the lead to 11 at 62-51. But UNLV scored 10 of the next 12 points over the next three minutes to again put the game out of reach.
UNLV next faces Oregon on Friday night in the third round of the Global Sports Classic.