UNLV BASKETBALL:

Notebook: Injury to Santee has Rebels’ rotation even thinner

Senior forward pulls muscle, status for Wednesday’s game against TCU unknown

Colorado State vs UNLV

Snapping a 3-game losing streak, UNLV notched its 20th win of the season, beating Colorado State, 70-39.

UNLV-CSU Basketball

UNLV's Tre'Von Willis attempts a layup Saturday during the Rebels 70-39 victory against Colorado State at the Thomas & Mack Center. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

CSU POSTGAME: Back in the right direction

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Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer discuss UNLV's 70-39 victory over Colorado State on Saturday, which snapped a 3-game skid. Plenty of fans decided to stay home, but those who showed up at the Mack saw a well-rounded performance, highlighted by Anthony Marshall's first career triple-double. With a further thinned-out rotation, can the Rebels keep it up throughout the rest of their stretch run?

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UNLV survived a half of basketball on Saturday with only one healthy big man.

The Rebels might have to survive an entire one come Wednesday night, depending on the status of senior Darris Santee.

Santee pulled a muscle in his abdominal region towards the end of the first half in Saturday's 70-39 blowout of Colorado State. He then committed a foul early in the second half while trying to give it a go, and teammate Anthony Marshall then signaled to the UNLV bench to sub someone in for him, as the Houston native was in too much pain.

Santee's status appears to be day-to-day, while UNLV coach Lon Kruger was a bit more definitive regarding junior forward Matt Shaw.

Shaw was in street clothes on Saturday after suffering a sprained left ankle during pregame warm-ups on Wednesday night before the Rebels' 66-61 loss at Utah.

"I doubt if Matt will be ready Wednesday," Kruger said. "We'll shoot for that, but with the rate of recovery to this point, it may be a little surprising. And now we're a little concerned about Darris.

"We're getting thinner."

UNLV was already without Derrick Jasperr for the sixth straight game as the junior guard recovers from a partially torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Sophomore guard Oscar Bellfield, who has been slowed since bruising his left knee two Saturdays ago against BYU, was as explosive against CSU as he's been since suffering the injury. He had nine points, four assists and three rebounds in the win.

Milestone victory in multiple ways

UNLV earned its 20th victory of the season on Saturday, making the Rebels 20-game winners for the fourth consecutive season.

That marks the first time UNLV has reached 20 wins in four straight campaigns since doing so every year between 1981 and 1993, with the final season being a 21-8 campaign under Rollie Massimino.

Also, the victory was the 450th of Lon Kruger's career as a collegiate head coach.

Yes, that was a zone

The Rebels switched to a zone defense for the final portion of Saturday's contest, straying from the man-to-man approach more than they had at any point so far this season.

UNLV played zone for the final six or seven minutes, with Kruger saying that due to the margin on the scoreboard, the Rebels were afforded the opportunity to test it out some.

A smaller affair

The announced paid attendance on Saturday at the Mack was 13,626, which was the smallest crowd to watch a UNLV home game since the team's non-conference home finale on Dec. 19 against South Carolina Upstate (11,300).

In reality, the number of bodies in the building was probably lower, with a good portion of the lower bowl empty and a sparse crowd in the balcony.

Inside the numbers

Expanding on some numbers from inside Saturday's box score ...

— Colorado State's 22 percent shooting was the worst offensive performance of the season for any UNLV opponent. The Rams were just 11-of-50 from the floor. The previous low, percentage-wise, was by Wyoming in a 78-50 UNLV victory in Laramie on Feb. 3. On that night, the Cowboys shot just 28.6 percent from the floor.

— Saturday marked the first time during conference play in which the Rebels have had four players score in double figures. The last time UNLV did so was on Dec. 22 against SMU in the opening round of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.

— Brice Massamba's five blocked shots on Saturday were the most by a Rebel this season. Derrick Jasper and Chace Stanback had previously each swatted four in a game.

Kendall Wallace hit three shots from beyond the arc, snapping his two-game stretch without hitting one of his patented treys. Had he not, it would have been the first time the junior had gone dry for three games straight in one season since his freshman year.

— By going 1-of-4 from the free throw line, Colorado State forward Travis Franklin is now 4-of-18 from the stripe this season in two games against UNLV. His 3-of-14 performance from the first meeting was clearly on his mind, as he looked uncomfortable there on both of his trips, even delivering an air-ball.

Elsewhere in the Mountain West

The three teams ahead of UNLV in the league standings all held serve on Saturday afternoon.

No. 16 BYU was the most convincing winner, maintaining its one-game lead atop the heap with an 85-63 blowout win at Wyoming.

No. 12 New Mexico, a game behind the Cougars, nearly fell victim to the upset of the year in league play, but a late Darington Hobson tip-in helped the Lobos get by Air Force in Albuquerque, 59-56.

As for San Diego State, the Aztecs got past Utah, 68-61. The win gave SDSU 20 on the season and was the team's fourth straight triumph.

What's on tap?

UNLV will continue its run against the lower half of the Mountain West food chain on Wednesday in an 8 p.m. contest against TCU.

The Horned Frogs (12-15 overall, 4-8 Mountain West) have had a rough go of it so far after a promising first season under Jim Christian.

They were off over the weekend, and needed the break, having lost six of their last eight.

UNLV won the first meeting in Fort Worth on Jan. 23, 79-70, behind what at the time was a career-high 33 points from Tre'Von Willis.

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  1. That means Massamba has to play & step his game up. He wouldn't foul so much if he played with his hands high instead of waist level. Did anyone actually notice he finally blocked some shots when his hands were high and the moment he played with his hands low he started fouling again.