Despite how UNLV Twitter was reacting, UNLV went into Boise State – as a 5-point underdog – and had a chance to win the game on the final possession of regulation. Rashad Vaughn made a bad read on a pick and roll and hoisted up an off-target three, sending the game into overtime.
The extra five minutes is where UNLV fell apart. The Runnin’ Rebels had 67 possessions in regulation and turned it over nine times for a turnover percentage of 13.4 percent. But in overtime UNLV committed six turnovers on 10 possessions, which is more than quadruple the turnover percentage UNLV posted in regulation.
So what caused UNLV to start throwing the ball away? Boise State picked up in a 1-2-2 press in overtime. The Rebels saw it in regulation a few possessions, but were not ready for it in overtime.
But before the press was an option for the Broncos, Chris Wood found an open Dave Rice on the sideline.
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The cause of this turnover goes to Derrick Marks pressure on Jordan Cornish, plus Wood’s carelessness. Marks prevents an easy pass, and when Wood tries to shot put the pass over, it sails out of bounds.
Now for the press.
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Cody Doolin makes the mistake of dribbling into the trap just past half court. He still has a chance make a pass and get UNLV a chance to score, but he overthrows Rashad Vaughn. Or Vaughn didn’t jump high enough.
Despite the turnover, Pat McCaw probably displayed the most clever move UNLV had the entire overtime. He sets a screen that would allow Doolin to get across half court with out being trapped. But Doolin doesn’t take advantage.
Now UNLV actually broke the press, although it wasn’t pretty.
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After Doolin’s scary lob pass for Wood, James Webb III overruns Wood, giving UNLV a brief 3-on-1. This is what happens when you break a press, you get numbers close to the basket against a thinned-out defense. The problem is Wood makes the wrong read after Webb’s over aggression. Rashad Vaughn was wide open on the backside.
The fourth turnover came when Doolin traveled against the press. The camera angle doesn’t allow you to see the walk. But here’s Vaughn and Doolin’s reaction.
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Turnover number five came at the hands of Jordan Cornish. Cornish tries to drive over the top of the defense, but he dribbles right into Mikey Thompson. And Boise State is headed the other way.
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And finally it is Cornish again, but he isn’t solely to blame for the five-second violation.
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Yes, UNLV ran a play, but Boise State defended it well. The Broncos switch the screen, and the 6-foot-9 Webb (#23) is taking away passing lanes.
The poor coaching aspect is that there is only one option on this play. Pat McCaw and Goodluck Okonoboh are spectators. Also, Dave Rice could have been yelling for a timeout. The only blame Cornish deserves is not asking for the timeout as his five seconds ran down.
But I’d put most of the blame on the other four players. Only Vaughn shows urgency to get open, and he doesn’t do so until late in the five seconds. Okonoboh and McCaw don’t make themselves available by streaking to an open part of the court. Plus Wood was being defended by a 6-foot-3 wing, but he couldn’t get open.
It is as much as a team turnover as you can have. That’s how the entire overtime could be characterized, a team turnover.
The senior point guard came in for three possessions, all of which ended in turnovers. The best all-around player threw two awful one-handed passes. And off the ball, nobody wanted to get open. Plus Dave Rice was a possession or two late in calling a timeout during the turnover fest.
For UNLV, the hope has to be that this loss doesn’t correlate into another. It was deflating.
"We went into overtime and lost our mojo again," Rice said. "We’ve got to find it quickly."
UNLV heads to San Diego for a matchup with the Aztecs on Saturday. San Diego State is 30th in the country in forcing turnovers at 23.1 percent.