Editor's Note: Check out our open thread for the Utah-SDSU battle.
The UNLV Rebels rebounded from their recent 3-game losing streak in rather fine fashion, with a 70-39 beat-down of the Colorado State Rams. UNLV improved to 19-7 (8-5) as they managed their 14th win in 15 tries against the Rams (UNLV is 20-7, but 1 win came against a D-2 team and doesn't count towards RPI). The Rebels received their first total team effort in quite some time as they double digit points from four players and 7+ points from six.
While it was a total team effort for UNLV, Anthony Marshall was the player of the game, finishing with 12 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. The freshman guard has been inconsistent at times, but he is probably the best all-around athlete on the Rebels right now. Tre'Von Willis remains the best player on the team, but if Marshall can gain some level of consistency in his production, the Rebels could show some real improvement over the close of the season.
The Rams were really never able to get into this game from the get-go. An early 14-0 UNLV run put the Rebels up 18-2 and they never really let up. UNLV used a dominant defense and an efficient 57% shooting performance to run out to a 40-16 halftime lead. Even when the Rams managed open looks they couldn't get the shots to fall, shooting 16% from the floor in the first half.
Although UNLV did not put up a similar second half, they didn't let up too much in the win. The Rams were led by transfer Andy Ogide with 8 points. When every player is held to single digits, you know it's been a tough afternoon. Nonetheless, Ogide continued what has been a very solid season with 12 rebounds, including five on the offensive end. However, his Rams will need some further development from the younger players heading into next season.
By dominating for most of the game, the Rebels were able to empty out their bench for the first time in conference play. Fatigue isn't a major issue at this point, but anytime you can get your starters off the court and away from potential injuries, it's a good thing. And the team was certainly fired up and entertained by the practice squad. Junior Tyler Norman avoided Club Trillion as he managed a block, a turnover and an offensive foul. The block was particularly impressive as he swatted away a 3-pt attempt.
UNLV: The Rebels opened their final four-game stretch in fine fashion today. They are in must-win territory and cannot afford to let up on the pedal this coming Wednesday when they host TCU. Since UNLV is on the bubble, it becomes essential that they close out the regular season in strong fashion. One stat the committee looks at is record over the last ten games. With that 3-game losing streak, if UNLV reaches the conference finals (and loses, thus needing an at-large big), their last-10 record can be no better than 6-4. Accordingly, they need to win those six in fairly decisive fashion. They got off to a good start today, but cannot afford to stub their toe the rest of the way.
Colorado State: The Rams now sit at 6-6 in conference play. During the game the announcers made numerous mentions of the fact that CSU coach Tim Miles wanted to be at least at .500 at the end of the regular season. Now in his third season, Miles is doing a solid job turning this team around. However, CSU will have its work cut out for it in trying to finish the season at .500. They host New Mexico this Tuesday, travel to TCU and San Diego State, and close at home against Utah. New Mexico almost blew their game against Air Force today and will be looking to get on track before their big showdown up in Provo against BYU. This normally would qualify as a trap game for the Lobos, but they might have had their attention grabbed today by Air Force.