LIVE GAME BLOG — Final:

No. 23 UNLV falls again as San Diego State rolls, 68-58

Stanback, Rebels offense struggle again as Aztecs now back firmly in NCAA tourney hunt

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Sam Morris

UNLV forward Darris Santee grabs a rebound from San Diego State guard Kelvin Davis during the first half of their Mountain West Conference game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010, at Viejas Arena in San Diego. San Diego State won the game 68-58.

Updated Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010 | 3:14 p.m.

#23 UNLV vs San Diego State

No. 23 UNLV drops back-to-back conference games for the first time all season, falling to San Diego State, 68-58.

UNLV-San Diego State Basketball

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall draws a charge from San Diego State guard Kelvin Davis during the first half of their Mountain West Conference game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010 at Viejas Arena in San Diego. San Diego State won the game 68-58. Launch slideshow »

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Final. SDSU wins 68-58

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Almost as if the two days after Wednesday's home loss to No. 15 New Mexico never happened, the No. 23 Rebels were again had by San Diego State in a game similar to the 10-point loss to the Lobos.

The Aztecs weren't on fire from deep quite like New Mexico was, but they made UNLV uncomfortable on the offensive end and used momentum-changing plays from the likes of freshman forward Kawhi Leonard and Green Valley High grad Billy White to place themselves squarely back in the hunt for an at-large NCAA tourney berth with the 68-58 win.

UNLV (19-6 overall, 7-4 Mountain West) and SDSU (18-7, 7-4) are now tied in the league standings with five games to go.

The Rebels are back in action on Wednesday in a 7 p.m. contest at Utah.

Lon Kruger's club was just 19-of-54 from the floor and 3-of-17 from long range. Tre'Von Willis and Chace Stanback, who are the team's two top scorers on the season, were a combined 5-of-22 from the floor, with Stanback fouling out after missing on all seven of his shot attempts.

UNLV was also again out-rebounded, 39-30.

Meanwhile, Leonard finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds for the Aztecs, while White led all scorers with 19.

Anthony Marshall scored 12 points for UNLV in his second career start, while Tre'Von Willis led the Rebels with 17 — most of those came after the game was out of reach late.

For full postgame coverage, including stories, stats, photos and video, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.

3:56, second half, SDSU leads 59-48

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Tre'Von Willis recently hit a 3-pointer atop the key to end nearly an eight-minute drought for UNLV without a field goal. In the grand scheme, though, it didn't do much, as the Rebels trail at San Diego State, 59-48, with less than four minutes to play.

Willis and Chace Stanback — UNLV's two leading scorers this season — are a combined 3-for-17 from the floor today.

Meanwhile, Billy White has continued to torch his hometown school with 17 points, highlighted by an and-one dunk underneath during UNLV's drought. Alongside him, freshman forward Kawhi Leonard threw down a poster slam against Darris Santee and how has 13 points to go with 13 rebounds.

11:38, second half, SDSU leads 46-38

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The Rebels started the second half hot and with some edge, scoring five points right out of the break to close to within three points of the Aztecs. They showed some nice edge and attitude in the process.

But thanks to a monster slam in traffic by Kawhi Leonard and, most recently, a deep 3-pointer from Kelvin Davis, the Aztecs continue to hold the visitors at arm's length, leading 46-38.

UNLV is now shying away some from pulling the trigger on open 3-pointers, as the Rebels are just 2-of-11 from deep today.

The x-factor for SDSU has been the free throw shooting of Billy White. He leads all scorers with 13, and is 9-of-10 from the stripe.

Halftime, SDSU leads 33-25

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — For the third consecutive half of basketball, UNLV has failed to dictate the pace of the game, and as a result the Aztecs hold a solid 33-25 lead over the Rebels at the break at Viejas Arena.

SDSU was just 10-of-26 from the floor and committed eight turnovers, but on the defensive end, the Aztecs blocked seven shots and six offensive rebounds turned into seven second-chance points for Steve Fisher's club.

Green Valley High grad Billy White leads all scorers with nine points for SDSU, hitting five of his six free throw attempts.

Some more numbers of note from the first half in San Diego ...

— UNLV is just 10-of-30 from the floor and 1-of-7 from 3-point range.

— Tre'Von Willis is 1-of-7 from the floor, 0-for-2 from deep and has just two points.

— Freshman guard Anthony Marshall, making his second career start, has been a catalyst for the Rebels, with eight points, a rebound and a blocked shot to his credit. He's shown great effort on the defensive end, too.

— UNLV had six assists to seven turnovers in the first half.

— Overall, SDSU holds a 22-16 edge in rebounds so far. Freshman forward Kawhi Leonard leads all players with eight.

3:36, first half, SDSU leads 29-21

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — UNLV continues to struggle to find rhythm and flow on the offensive end, while San Diego State created a bit of separation for itself thanks to a pair of key 3-pointers.

After Matt Shaw pulled down a defensive board in traffic, he had the ball slapped away from him by Malcolm Thomas. The result moments later was a Chase Tapley 3-pointer atop the key, which came on the heels of two Thomas free throws out of the last TV timeout.

Then after, the Rebels failed to answer, freshman forward Kawhi Leonard hit a deep ball of his own from atop the key, creating a nine-point lead for the Aztecs at 26-17.

UNLV has missed two 3-point tries since then, is 1-of-5 from deep and 9-of-26 from the floor.

7:37, first half, SDSU leads 18-17

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — If it weren't for turnovers and poor decisions, San Diego State's big men could have complete control of this game right now.

But with seven giveaways and questionable shot selection leading to 6-of-16 shooting so far for the Aztecs, UNLV trails by just one at Viejas Arena, 18-17.

UNLV is only 8-of-21 from the floor, but Matt Shaw recently benefitted from a pair of failures to grab loose balls by the Aztecs after blocked shots. He converted back-to-back layups.

The equalizer could be free throw shooting. The Aztecs aren't the sharpest club in the world in that area, and now find themselves in the bonus with almost eight minutes left to play in the first half.

11:48, first half, SDSU leads 14-11

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — UNLV got a nice boost from Anthony Marshall to start the game, as the freshman guard's presence early helped combat San Diego State's athleticism for a bit.

He had a huge block on Green Valley High grad Billy White which turned into an Oscar Bellfield 3-pointer on the other end, putting UNLV up early, 5-2.

However, after that, SDSU rattled off a 10-2 run and the Rebels are still recovering.

UNLV is 5-of-12 from the floor and just 1-of-3 from 3-point range with four turnovers already. The Rebels also already have six team fouls to their credit.

Marshall has four points early, while White has six for the Aztecs.

Pregame

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The newspapers draped over the backs of every single seat in the San Diego State student section at Viejas Arena say it all.

'BEAT UNLV,' each one reads.

For the Aztecs, it's really that simple if they want to be truly considered in discussions for an at-large NCAA tournament bid, should the Mountain West Conference get two at-larges on top of its automatic.

Right now, BYU and New Mexico are safely in no matter what, more than likely. UNLV is closest behind those two, but still has a chance to leap-frog both of them in the standings by both winning out and getting a little bit of help.

In terms of the bigger picture, today's 1 p.m. contest between No. 23 UNLV (19-5 overall, 7-3) and San Diego State (17-7, 6-4), it probably means more to the Aztecs, who have a much weaker regular season resumé than their counterpart. But that doesn't mean it can be questioned how badly the Rebels want it in helping atone for Wednesday's 76-66 loss at home to No. 15 New Mexico.

Before moving forward, I'll recount a conversation I had with a friend of mine from Kansas on Thursday ...

Friend: Is UNLV in the tourney as an at-large right now?

Me: Well, they should win their last four games. A lot rides on the next two — at San Diego State and at Utah. If they win both, they're a lock. If they win one, they're still probably OK. If they lose both ... well ... they probably need to at least reach the title game of the MWC tourney.

Friend: You're a gentleman and a scholar.

(OK, that last part didn't happen)

Anyways ...

Here are today's three keys to UNLV victory at SDSU ...

1) Did I mention rebounding?? No need to delve into that much more.

2) San Diego State is every bit as capable as New Mexico of building an early lead. If they do, the Rebels cannot panic like they did on Wednesday in terms of rushing on offense and settling for contested 3-pointers. One thing UNLV did very well on Wednesday was not give away possessions, finishing with 19 assists and six turnovers. That needs to repeat, but the shot selection needs to be better.

3) Anthony Marshall absolutely needs to step up. If he's going to get more minutes and even start, he has to use that athleticism where UNLV needs it the most — in the rebounding department. Plus, I'll say it, he's just one 3-point make away from his confidence being completely back in his jump shot. If he can hit an open look early, look for him to blossom moving forward.

As for today's prediction and 'Pick to Click' I'm going with San Diego State on its home floor in a squeaker, 71-69. Until I see UNLV bounce back from Wednesday with some more aggressive rebounding, it's hard to pick them in a tough, tough road game. But, they're 8-1 this season in true road games, so I could wind up looking stupid.

As far as a 'Pick to Click', I'm taking Chace Stanback. He readily admitted that he played an awful game on Wednesday against New Mexico and was pretty invisible for 34 minutes. He won't do it again.

Talk to you after tip-off.

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Previous Discussion: 58 comments so far…

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  1. Fouls piling up early.

    It makes me sick how Massamba is pushed around so easily under the basket. It's like he's in position for rebounds, but he let's himself get shoved out of the way.

    My kingdom for a player who can rebound.

  2. I've got alot of confidence with chop "the secret weapon" covering Billy White.

  3. FINALLY!!.... shaw and santee... hope this is productive.

  4. I don't believe my eyes. Shaw and Santee in at the same time. Lets see what they can do. Hopefully something positive.

  5. Shaw and Santee are both pathetic on the glass.

    Shaw just gave that rebound away that let to a 3.

    NO SUBSTITUTION PATERN will solve UNLV's rebounding ineptness.

    We need better big men.

  6. What on earth happened to our defense?

    Did we use it all up in the byu game?

  7. Rare inside presence. They lean too much with the outside shots. The team has to fix this real quick, and the team as a whole looks real, I mean real lethargic and lackadaisical!

  8. Shaw and santee is better than chop covering billy White.

  9. What are we, 1 for 10 from 3? We need an inside game. Hopefully Q. thomas will be an upgrade next year.

  10. Shaw is killing us.

  11. This team is gutless. They are playing so timid it is ridiculous. We are awful on defense. The only thing we do well is foul. Putrid on offense, weak to the hole and totally imtimidated on the glass. Somebody go get a gun. If Kruger doesnt have a seizure because he is screaming obscenities at half time we should shoot him too.

  12. UNLV getting outrebounded 9 - 16 so far

  13. Wallace can't guard ANYBODY!

  14. A.M should be starting games instead of Wallace. He is the only player not afraid to attack the basket and not settle for outside jumpers

  15. Looks like almost all of last year's games.

    We can't even score 30 points in a half.

    Pathetic.

  16. The surpise in this game would have been if we had a lead at half-time. The score is what most of us expected to happen. We go into the game hoping, but then reality smacks us in the face.

  17. Things that stand out in first half is UNLV behind in these catagories Rebounds 10-19 ,3Pt 1-8 (12%) compared to their 4-10 (40%) ,and our two blocks to their 6 and the SCORE !!!! 25 -33

  18. Yeah, what happened to Tre and Chace after the byu game?

    They both have disappeared.

    Tre isn't working for good shots anymore. He's just jacking it up with a hand in his face.

    Those two better wake up in the 2nh half, or UNLV is right back on the bubble.

  19. Getting killed on the boards AGAIN!!!!! 21-10 on the glass is pathetic. Chace and Willis 1-11 shooting? They need to wake up.
    Keep playing Shaw!!

  20. 2 points for our player who is supposed to be playing for MWC POY. 1-7 with 2 points ain't gonna cut it.

  21. Whether we win or lose this game this second half we need to see some PRIDE. Nut up and play as hard as you possibly can Rebs. You may not be able to make up this deficit but you can at least act like you belong.

  22. stop with the 3's. We make one and then think we can make them all. Behinde by three doesn't mean we have to tie it our next possession

  23. Of course one of the worst FT shooting teams in the country hits all their FTs against us.

  24. behind

  25. CATCH THE BALL SANTEE!!!!

    Weak weak weak

  26. And then he gets posterized at the other end.

    sigh

  27. That was a nasty throw down by Leonard. Not bad for a freshman. We need recruits like him. I remember LJ used to have 1 or 2 of those every game.

  28. The pick to click didn't happen, what in the world is going on with Stanback and Willis

  29. No D.

    We're not going to win.

    They don't want it.

  30. Recruit better athletes with fundamentals.
    Rebs wont get far with this team.

  31. Would somebody please introduce Tre to Leonard. Yes Tre that is the guy you keep forgetting to block out. Before you yell at your teammates, try putting your body on someone like you give a $#@%! Whatever you do Rebels dont run. Make sure you walk it up and grind it out against a team you cant finish over or go around. Nice game plan.

  32. Stanback still hasn't scored a field goal. I guess when he plays guys like Hobson and Leonard, he crawls back into his shell.

  33. How easily they score on us.

  34. theres the link for the game if anyone needs it!

  35. We are now being outrebounded 16 - 27

  36. We should be known as the Walking Rebels. Air Force runs better than we do. Probably have better athletes too. I dont think I can get any more pissed off. Until the Walking Rebels play another game of course.

  37. Kruger's mediocrity is getting old. I hate small ball and it is ridiculous to think we can get back to glory with mediocre players and a mediocre coach. Kruger's history tells all about him. a rare occasional good year followed by the demise of the program. His unwillingness to recruit players unless they are angels. he won't offer schollies to Gordon or Hobson, but puts Chop on scholly at mid semester. He will lose fans and the meltdown will begin after his second year of building up hopes early and falling apart at the end of year. UNLV has a history of hiring drunks, retirees, and mediocre coaches. When will this end and we hire someone to lead us back to glory. This town deserves a winner. 18,ooo for BYU 16,000 for New Mexico. The fans have proven their worth, now it's time to hire a coach who bring us a more than just a winning season. UNLV should be in the tournament every year, and yet watch Kruger screw this up again. We will drop 2 more and get knocked out of the MWC tourney early. The invite will be the NIT. SDSU, New Mexico, and BYU will go to the NCAA. The rest of the conference has passed us by and it won't be long before CSU, and Utah join the other three in passing us by. Small ball and kruger are a mediocre concept.

  38. these are our rebels.... we peaked at hawaii. Cant figure out how to win games versus bigger guys. Can tell in the first 3 minutes whether we are going to win or lose the game. Unfortunately we are the 4th best team in the MWC.

  39. MWC might get 4 bids (thanks for stinking, Pac-10!) but I would hate to have to count on it....

  40. The way this team is playing, they deserve the nit.

    I feel like an idiot for buying all session passes to the MWC tournament again this year.

    We'll probably get bounced in the first round again.

    Wheels come off at the end of the year. Can't wait to watch the coaches show tomorrow. Would like to hear what excuses Kruger has for how gutless and pathetic his team is.

  41. Why does every crew let SDSU get away with so much over the back. Contact is supposed to equal foul!!

  42. Look, the big guys are what they are. The problem is when you have a small team AND you're a below-average 3-point team. Tre, Oscar, Marshall, Hawkins--none of our athletic guards can shoot the 3.

  43. Tre gave up on that rebound.

    This team has no heart.

  44. Just a depressing, depressing performance today, though; big game on the road after a loss and your best players fail to show up.

  45. If we win all 5 remaining, do we get the auto bid? I think so, but 4-1 might not cut it....

  46. They need to spend less on the marketing budget and more money on buying better blue chip players.

  47. Ever since the USC game, I knew it.
    The rebs have peaked. Even next years class has no great talent.
    Need to hire an assistant that can recruit great basketball players.
    But I do love kruger as a coach.

  48. Being ranked in the top 25 is the kiss of death for this team.

    If we don't go 5-0, we deserve the nit.

  49. Bottom line, our big men suck....and that most certainly incudes Mr. Stiff Stanback. That guy is about as athletic as a statue.

    What good will Quintrell Thomas do next year when he is one man. SDSU, New Mexico and Utah have several to dominate games. Better get more athletic, rebounding forwards that stand at least 6-8 Kruger or most of us are going to start calling for your head. I'M SICK TO DEATH OF YOUR FREAKIN SMALL BALL! Good enough to beat TCU but not the top 3.

  50. Did you enjoy watching 6'8" athletic and powerful Leonard abuse the 6'3" Willis in the post. What a joke. Thats what you get from small ball. It works against pattsies like wyoming and the like, but against real teams you get destroyed. Better hope we don't play against the Aztecs in the tournament.

  51. I'm so pissed about this game. I'm not seeing any sense of urgency by the coaches or players. Did they all go to Tijuana last night?

  52. NIT Kruger is back.

  53. What was chops line again 0-0-0. I know he is just a small part of the problem but him getting any playing time just shows how bad Krugers recruiting is. Any team that has decent size and athletes will kill this team. Willis is a good player but the guy is 6'3 and i dont know if i have seem him dunk it once this year. Stanbeck needs to get to the gym and put on some muscle (what was he doing his whole redshirt year). Hopefully kruger can work a miracle and get polee and joseph. A few people have def shown they are not worth their scholarships.

    Bottom line kruger is being outcoached and outrecruited by teams in the MWC. Anyone else sick of seeing kids from Vegas abusing us?

  54. Good point about the Vegas kids coming up big against us.

  55. Well our lack of size and athleticism comes to bite us in the ass again. UNLV is a good team, but obviously they are not a great team. Does anyone know if Quintrell Thomas can jump? lol

  56. Typical ref'd MWC game. Ticky tac on one end and abuse on the other. Not that it would mattered much.
    UNLV stole the first games against NM and SDSU, these second times around I think are the reality. But BYU also stole the first game against UNLV. I think UNLV is the third best team in conference behind NM and SDSU.
    I don't fault Kruger too much or Stanback. Stanback is not a rebounder, he is a small forward, but unfortunately, he is the best we got. And when going up against the two best rebounding teams in conference, he doesn't stack up.
    How do they determine tie breaks? SDSU and UNLV are tied in conference. If we can get in BYUs side of the draw, I think we can make it to the tourney championship, and probably lose to NM or SDSU. Of course we need to win out from here though.
    Don't get too negative guys, you put QT in there banging, that helps Jasper and Stanback a great deal. And who knows, it might be Lopez and QT in there together, putting Stanback in his rightful position and maybe even Jasper at point. This was supposed to be a down year with all the young and new guys and without and inside game, and they have actually exceeded everyones expectations. They should win out and have a NCAA birth.
    Go REBELS

  57. You want to know how bad our big men are? Santee 0 rebounds, Massamba 1 offensive rebound (and I think I saw it when he missed a wide open lay-up, he got his own rebound), Shaw 7 rebounds, 4 offensive, which means he had 3 defensive rebounds. So in 40 minutes of playing, our big men had 3 defensive rebounds. Oscar Bellfield had 4-5. Just throwing that out there.