UNLV BASKETBALL:

Notebook: UNLV’s Wallace again catches fire from deep in Colorado Springs

Junior guard 15-of-31 from long range in his last three games against Air Force

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Bryan Oller / AP

Air Force’s Zach Bohannon and UNLV’s Kendall Wallace hit the floor chasing a loose ball during the second half of Saturday’s game at Clune Arena. UNLV won, 77-47.

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Air Force's Mike McLain (33) hammers UNLV's Anthony Marshall (3) during the first half of Saturday's game at Clune Arena. McLain was called for an intentional foul on the play, while Marshall finished the day with eight points in a 77-47 Rebels win.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Maybe it's part coincidence and part match-up zone defense, but for some reason, UNLV junior guard Kendall Wallace seems to save his best for Air Force.

On Saturday, 15 points off of 5-of-8 3-point shooting in the Rebels' 77-47 victory at Clune Arena simply went down as his latest masterpiece.

"I really don't know," he said. "They play the match-up zone, and it seems I get more open looks against them. I love playing up here for some reason, and I've just been shooting the ball well."

Wallace has again found his touch as UNLV's schedule has lightened of late.

After going back-to-back games without hitting a three in losses at San Diego State and Utah, Wallace has drained 13 of them during the Rebels' current three-game winning streak.

"Kendall, he knows his role," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "We need him to step up and make shots, 5-of-8 is a really good number. And he shot it with good rhythm."

Wallace has made an especially comfortable home away from home for himself at Clune Arena.

Last season, after forgetting his shoes in his locker back at the Thomas & Mack Center, he went down a size in borrowing teammate Scott Hoffman's spare kicks. Despite the discomfort, he was 5-of-9 from deep in that game, helping turn a close contest into a 59-38 laugher.

"Scott called me and asked if I wanted to borrow them," Wallace said jokingly.

This time, however, Wallace's shooting was contagious. His first two were part of a crucial 17-0 run early that created an insurmountable deficit for the Falcons.

Wallace's five connections from long range helped UNLV notch a season-high 13 threes made, including four from Oscar Bellfield and three from Chace Stanback.

"I think once we got a few of those to go in the beginning, it all fell into place and everyone just started knocking down shots and shooting with confidence," he said.

Marshall OK

Freshman guard Anthony Marshall had a scary moment in the first half while zipping in for a one-handed jam against Air Force's Mike McLain.

Marshall was hammered on the side of his head while going up for the dunk and went crashing to the ground under the hoop, reminiscent of the fall he took on a similar attempt at Utah last Wednesday.

This time, Marshall exited the game for a bit after a short stint on the floor, and ultimately returned to score eight points, dish out five assists, grab four rebounds and record three steals.

McLain was charged with an intentional foul on the play, and Chace Stanback came in to shoot the free throws in Marshall's place, swishing both.

On his way out of Clune Arena on Saturday afternoon, Marshall said he was feeling fine.

Elsewhere in the MWC

The headliner in the Mountain West on Saturday afternoon was the showdown in Provo between No. 10 New Mexico and No. 13 BYU.

Despite missing a bevy of free throws down the stretch, the Lobos captured sole possession of first place in the league standings with an 83-81 victory.

New Mexico got 20 points and 14 rebounds from Darington Hobson, who also sealed the game late with a crucial blocked shot in the paint with New Mexico up by two points.

Elsewhere, Utah took care of Wyoming, 74-64, while TCU came from behind at home to top Colorado State, 73-67.

With the results of those two games, Utah moved a game ahead of CSU by a game in the league standings into fifth place behind San Diego State. The two will meet to wrap up the regular season next Saturday in Fort Collins.

If the current league standings were to hold up for another week, UNLV would be set to face Colorado State in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference tournament, and would potentially get to face BYU in Friday's semifinals if both won their quarterfinal match-ups.

What's on tap?

The Rebels (22-7 overall, 10-5 MWC) have a golden opportunity now to heal up before returning to game action next Saturday against Wyoming (9-19, 2-12) in a 1 p.m. contest at the Mack.

The Cowboys have continued to slide since losing star sophomore Afam Muojeke for the season to a knee injury. Saturday's setback in Salt Lake City was their eighth consecutive loss.

Before meeting the Rebels on Saturday, they'll host Air Force on Wednesday night in Laramie.

The final word

UNLV guard Chace Stanback on his career-high 21 points on Saturday: "My teammates were looking for me a lot today. Well, they do every night, but especially today. I was able to knock them down."

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  1. Return of Derrickkk Jaaaassspppeeerr next Saturday!!!! cannot wait!!!!

  2. Hopefully Wallace can remain hot through the tournament. Hitting those outside shots really opens up the middle for our guards....

  3. Obviously, the military academies high academic requirements, plus by demanding personal responsibility at all times, dooms them to second class status.

    I mean, if you can't wear your pants at your butt crack, why would you want to go there? No way, Dude..

  4. I remember a time where AF was ranked in the top 25 constantly in basketball and dont knock the people that go to our military academies, really, bad form.