UNLV road the wildly hot 3-point shooting of Kendall Wallace to pull off a monster conference road win 74-62 over the New Mexico Lobos. New Mexico had not lost a conference home game since February 26, 2008, so this certainly goes down as a big win for UNLV. Both teams were coming off tough road losses, but UNLV's hot shooting in long stretches was too much for New Mexico to handle. While Kendall Wallace was a human blow-torch, Tre'Von Willis and Chace Stanback provided important points throughout. New Mexico seemed to get their shooting going at times, enough so to take two point leads at two different points. However, they could never quite get over the hump as UNLV had answers for them all game long.
The first half saw UNLV control the tempo early and quiet down a notoriously tough Pit crowd. UNLV jumped out as far as 19-8 thanks to some tough defense and New Mexico being unable to even buy a basket. However, as tends to happen, UNLV quieted down while New Mexico got hot, and a 15-2 New Mexico run gave the Lobos a 2-point lead. The game bounced back and forth after that, but a couple key UNLV baskets put them up 6 at the end of the half. A key to the close first half was UNLV's ability to contain the Lobos leading scorer Darington Hobson, holding him to 2 points.
The second half started out at a fairly frenetic pace as the teams were trading baskets, before New Mexico seemed to take a bit of control. Hobson managed to get back into the game with 12 second half points, but even with a slim lead, the Lobos found they could not provide an answer for Kendall Wallace. Wallace hit one three in the first and was looking to be a non-factor six minutes into the second half. However, over the closing 14 minutes of the game, Wallace knocked down six three pointers, marking career highs in 3-pointers made (7) and points (21). The game was appeared to be getting tight for the final nine minutes, but Wallace hit a pair of threes and the Rebels never saw their lead fall below 8 after that.
While Wallace was the player of the game, Chace Stanback deserves credit for a very solid, workman-like effort of 14 points and 9 rebounds. He is not the flashiest player but he's become the leading rebounder on the team, while also hitting some big jumpers at opportune moments.
UNLV - The Rebels head home for two games against San Diego State on Wednesday and Utah on Saturday. The Aztecs are at Wyoming looking to improve to 2-0 in conference after a big home win over New Mexico. SDSU swept three games from UNLV last season, so this is not even close to a gimme game. The Rebels and Aztecs have had some big time battles over the years and this game should not be any different. Nonetheless, the Rebels need to hold serve at home in order to build on a big road win.
New Mexico - The Lobos don't have a rough schedule of games the next couple weeks, but they need to reassess their situation and get back on track. New Mexico was arguably the hottest team in the country prior to their loss at Oral Roberts, but now they find themselves 0-2 in conference and struggling to get things going. They face Utah at home, followed by Wyoming and Air Force on the road. There is no reason for them to lose any of these games, but when a team is struggling, crazy things can happen.