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Arizona State vs. UNLV final score: Rebels breakdown at home, fall to Sun Devils

The Runnin' Rebels entered the second half with a double digit lead. However, the ASU Sun Devils would not accept defeat. In the end, the Rebels lost by double digits.

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Complacency? Laziness? Lack of motivation?

Choose your word or phrase. If you watched the second half of the UNLV vs. ASU game on Wednesday night, all three fit the bill.

UNLV took the Sun Devils into the half leading by 12 points.  They even extended on that lead in the first two minutes of the second half.  Then, boom. Offensive drought in the desert of Sin City.

The Sun Devils, led by Coach Bobby Hurley, switched from man to zone defense frazzling the Runnin' Rebels throughout much of the second half.

The Rebs experienced another half of basketball without baskets.  The Devils outscored them 41-18.  Additionally, the Rebels were again exposed for their defensive rebounding problems.

But, more troubling is that the Rebels seemed to believe that after such a large lead into the second half that their good fortunes would continue.

Instead, ASU was clearly the hungrier team (fighting for every rebound, driving into the basket to draw the foul, and displaying a spirit of aggression).

This was all without their best player Savon Goodman, a former Runnin' Rebel (who couldn't be happier right about now).

On the other side of the ball, the Rebels looked stunned.  They especially portrayed this in the last minute of the game as they desperately tried to trap full court and were beat every time.

This loss will raise questions that continue to plague the background of the Dave Rice era in UNLV basketball.  Is he a motivator?  Or is he simply a great recruiter?

The Rebels bring in fantastic, young talent every single year, but what experience do they show when the game grows close (and, for instance, tonight, even when they lose the lead)?  Where's the fight?

If there's any sort of bright spot from tonight: Jordan Cornish did come out of his shooting slump.  He wasn't a difference maker, but his offensive awakening is a positive sign for the Rebels who will need to find something they can lift their sullen chins about.

Otherwise, there's nothing in this loss to look back on happily.

So, out of my prediction for their 5 game stretch (ending Saturday with Arizona), this is my first loss. I truly believed that the Rebels could win this game even though it would be a close one.  Turns out, it wasn't that close and the Rebs lost.

The only possible way that the Rebels can make up for this breakdown at home is to find a way to win on the road against the Wildcats on Saturday.

But, this is a tall order, especially based on the way the Rebs tend to play - under Coach Rice - in road games.  It's simply too bad UNLV put themselves in a position to have a "must-win" road game to boost their non-conference resume by losing in a winnable game against a PAC-12 opponent in the comforts of home.