A few days after dismantling Colorado State, UNLV (21-7, 9-5) put together a very similar performance (minus the scrubs at the end of the game) in handling the TCU Horned Frogs 78-62. UNLV led by as many as 31 points before TCU finally got hot and cut the lead to 13. However, a few quick UNLV buckets were enough to drop TCU to 12-16 and 4-9 in conference. The win, combined with San Diego State's earlier loss at BYU, moved the Rebels into third place in the conference.
UNLV picked another good game to take a team behind the woodshed as Rivals.com's #7 recruit in the class of 2010 (use the drop-down menu to view the 2010 class), G Cory Joseph, was in the house enjoying the game. Joseph goes to nearby Henderson Findlay Prep and while he's out of official visits, he's enjoyed several UNLV home performances. Joseph has narrowed his list of schools to the Rebels, Villanova, Connecticut, Texas and Minnesota. UNLV has one scholarship remaining for the 2010 season, and having Joseph suit up would be a huge boost for a team that is expected to return all five starters and add Kansas transfer Quintrell Thomas.
It was easy to get lulled into a bit of apathy in the game as the Rebels were all over TCU fairly early. They rolled to a 15 point lead at the half and had spread the lead out to 31 at the 11:43 mark of the second half. TCU chipped away and with 2:22 remaining, had cut the lead to 13. However, Brice Massamba converted 5 quick points on a three-point play and a later tip-in to expand the lead out to 18, which was too much for TCU to muster.
UNLV received a complete team effort for the second straight game. Chace Stanback and Tre'Von Willis each had 16 points, while Kendall Wallace put in 12 and Brice Massamba added ten of his own. The player of the game would have to be Stanback who finished with the 16 points, but really filled the stat sheet, adding in 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. He has really fine-tuned his mid-range jumper and was knocking down tough shots all night. Tre'Von Willis the best pure scorer on the team, as he can get points in a variety of ways. However, Stanback is arguably the most complete player on the team given his combination of size and athleticism. He's struggled at times to gain some level of consistency, but he could be the key to how far this team goes in March.
TCU continued what has been a rather frustrating season to date. In the first half, TCU played at a rather frantic and sloppy pace. They were making some baskets, but generally played into the Rebels hands as far as pace was concerned. In the second half they got great performances from sophomore Ronnie Moss (25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) and senior Zvonko Buljan (21 points, 11 rebounds), but it was too little too late for a team that had dug itself too big a hole.
UNLV: The Rebels continue Bubble Watch Tour 2010 this weekend with a visit to the struggling Air Force Falcons. Once again, UNLV remains in a must-win situation. The team gets a chance to rest before wrapping up the regular season a week later at home against Wyoming. The team has marked this game as the potential return of Derrick Jasper, which should provide an additional spark for the team heading into the conference tournament. Additionally, Matt Shaw, expected to be out 2 weeks with an ankle injury, could conceivably be healthy for the Wyoming game.
TCU: The schedule doesn't get much easier the rest of the way for the Horned Frogs. They get a tough but winnable home game against Colorado State this Saturday, but then they wrap up the regular season at New Mexico and hosting BYU. Wyoming has a tough close as well, so TCU is probably locked into 7 seed, thus meaning they avoid the #8/#9 play-in game.