LIVE GAME BLOG — FINAL:

Wallace’s 3-point explosion paces UNLV to 74-62 victory over No. 15 New Mexico

Rebels respond following loss at BYU, now 1-1 in league heading home to face SDSU, Utah

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Justin M. Bowen

UNLV big man Darris Santee dribbles around Dairese Gary during the game against New Mexico on Jan. 9 at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. The Rebels beat the 15th-ranked Lobos, 74-62.

Updated Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010 | 3:05 p.m.

UNLV vs #15 New Mexico

Led by Kendall Wallace's seven 3-pointers, UNLV takes care of 15th-ranked New Mexico at The Pit, 74-62.

UNLV-New Mexico Basketball

UNLV players run up the ramp to their locker room after defeating the Lobos on Jan. 9 at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. The Rebels beat the 15th-ranked Lobos, 74-62. Launch slideshow »

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Final, UNLV wins 74-62

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The play of the game on Saturday at The Pit was an Oscar Bellfield dish to Kendall Wallace for a 3-pointer, which put UNLV up 50-46 mid-way through the second half.

It was only the start.

Wallace led UNLV with 21 points, hitting six of his seven 3-pointers after the intermission, as the Rebels ultimately ran away from No. 15 New Mexico, 74-62.

The Rebels led 36-30 at halftime, but New Mexico muscled its way back behind junior Darington Hobson — a Las Vegas native — to take a 46-45 lead with 10:30 to play.

However, Hobson was winded and asked to come out with 9:22 to play, and UNLV ripped off an 11-0 run. The Rebels never looked back.

Wallace's 21 points were a career high, while Tre'Von Willis scored 20. Chace Stanback ahd 14 points and nine rebounds, including a huge trey during that 11-0 spurt.

The Rebels are now 13-3 overall and 1-1 in Mountain West Conference play, and will return home for two games this week, first against San Diego State on Wednesday, then Utah on Saturday.

For full postgame coverage, including stories, stats, photos, video and The Rebel Room: Postgame Edition, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.

3:26, second half, UNLV leads 66-55

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Kendall Wallace, it looks like, is the hero of the day. After his game-changing three before the last timeout, he came back to hit two more, and the Rebels are pulling away from No. 15 New Mexico, up by 11 with 3:26 to play.

On the day, Wallace has a game-high 18 points off of six 3-pointers. Five of them have come after the half.

Chace Stanback added a three and a recent 17-foot jumper, giving him 14 points and eight boards today.

This could turn out to be a huge boost for UNLV, as the Rebels come home for back-to-back home league games now against San Diego State and Utah.

7:57, second half, UNLV leads 50-46

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico took its first lead of the second half at 46-45 with 10:30 to go, but UNLV continued to respond.

The Rebels took advantage as Darington Hobson went off of the floor, asking to come out as he was completely gassed.

After Tre'Von Wills hit two free throws, Oscar Bellfield on the next possession had the ball in the corner with seven seconds on the shot clock. He called for Brice Massamba to clear out the paint, and drove to the bucket, drawing the defenders. He then kicked to Wallace, who swished his second three of the game.

He just made another from the same spot to put UNLV up by seven with seven minutes to go out of the timeout. UNLV is in prime position for the late push.

11:55, second half, UNLV leads 45-44

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Working inside, outside and at the free throw line, Las Vegas native Darington Hobson is making up for a sleepy first half and is keying a New Mexico comeback at The Pit.

Still, UNLV is clinging to a 45-44 lead with 11:55 to play.

Hobson, who played his freshman year of high school at Western High before moving away and playing at four more high schools, is 4-of-4 at the line since the half and is taking advantage of mismatches left and right.

Meanwhile, the Rebels are in the midst of another offensive drought. Since Kendall Wallace hit a three to put them up 45-40, Hobson has scored four straight.

Now, Tre'Von Willis is checking back in, which Lon Kruger is hoping will give his team some more edge, as a spark will need to come from somewhere to keep UNLV on top.

Halftime, UNLV leads 36-30

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — UNLV withstood both a six-minute offensive drought and an 8-0 New Mexico run as The Pit became louder and louder, and now is in the halftime locker room with a 36-30 lead over the No. 15 team in the land.

Tre'Von Willis hit a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left in the opening frame, giving him a game-high 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

That ended a first half which included an interesting chess match between coaches Lon Kruger and Steve Alford.

First, with UNLV up by six, New Mexico came down with an offensive board when Kruger wanted an over-the-back call. It never came, and moments later, Roman Martinez scored a four-point play after cashing a three from the corner and getting nailed by Chace Stanback.

Kruger worked the refs, and then off of a UNLV steal, Tre'Von Willis got the make-up call on a layup in the open floor.

Kruger then put in his 3-point shooters for the final possession of the half, but with the defense ignoring Willis, he hit the deep ball from the left wing.

Overall, a solid first half from the Rebels. Here are some other key numbers from the first 20 minutes.

— Darington Hobson, New Mexico's all-around threat, has two points on 1-of-3 shooting with two rebounds and three turnovers in 17 minutes. That's a true testament to UNLV's defensive scheme.

— UNLV is holding its own on the glass, getting out-rebounded 17-13. New Mexico only has five offensive boards in the first half. For reference, UNLV allowed BYU to grab 14 offensive caroms in the first half of Wednesday's loss.

— Chace Stanback and Matt Shaw each have seven points for the Rebels, while Stanback leads the team with four rebounds.

— UNLV allowed New Mexico zero fast break points, while scoring eight on their own.

— The Rebels are not forcing things on offense. They're a consistent 15-of-27 from the floor.

7:59, first half, UNLV leads 19-14

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — UNLV continues to hold a lead over New Mexico in The Pit — never an easy thing to do — but the Lobos are beginning to wake up.

And, in turn, so is the sell-out crowd in the league's loudest arena.

Darington Hobson — New Mexico's best player and a Las Vegas native — got his first shot of the game off just inside the nine-minute mark, and it was an impressive, swooping layup with his left hand in traffic. His long arms are finally coming into play. Between he, Phillip McDonald and Roman Martinez, the Lobos' three leading scorers this season so far are 3-of-7 from the floor. Not a bad percentage, but not many clean looks coming at all.

UNLV, however, is finding it tougher to cling to the lead. New Mexico's current 6-0 lead to pull things within five at 19-14 has come the hard way, as the Rebels are still strong defensively, but the Rebels haven't scored a field goal — or a point — in more than five minutes.

11:42, first half, UNLV leads 19-8

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Things have yet to change for New Mexico, as a pair of Roman Martinez inside buckets have been answered quickly by UNLV.

First, Tre'Von Willis hit an 18-foot jumper on the right wing, then on the next trip, Kendall Wallace cashed a three in the left corner.

UNLV then pinned the Lobos down again when it looked like they were on the verge of showing up, as Willis stole a ball at mid-court and went the distance for an and-one layup. Following his old-fashioned 3-point play, he leads all scorers with seven points on 3-for-3 shooting.

So far, New Mexico has only gotten two 3-point tries, missing both. UNLV's defense is on-point so far.

15:41, first half, UNLV leads 9-2

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Based on the opening few minutes at The Pit, UNLV has a little more interest in atoning for its league opener loss than New Mexico. The Lobos have shown little defensive intensity, and in turn, the Rebels have grabbed a quick 9-2 lead.

UNM is sloppy on offense, with three turnovers so far, and on the other end, UNLV has relied on patience to produce. Chace Stanback hit one of two wide open 3-point looks, which came on back-to-back possessions.

The capper to the early lead came from Matt Shaw, who took a dish from Tre'Von Willis off of a nice shot fake to put away an easy layup inside.

UNLV looks serious and poised, while New Mexico looks asleep. In turn, the Rebels have kept a sell-out crowd mostly silent so far.

Pregame

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Welcome to The Pit. It's always fun to come here, I can't lie.

I graduated in 2004 from Kansas, which had a true mecca for college hoops — Allen Fieldhouse — right on campus. Outside of that place, this is by far my favorite basketball arena I've been to in terms of general atmosphere.

Heck, it's intimidating just coming in here. First, you go down a ramp to enter the arena, then you go down the ramp, which, I'm estimating, is about 60 yards long and goes from the concourse down to the floor at about a 45-degree angle.

When this place is loud, it can truly mess with you.

A year ago, UNLV was able to negate it for the most part before falling in overtime, 73-69.

After losing to BYU on Wednesday night, is this a must-win for UNLV? No. Not even close. I believe there's no such thing as a must-win game in January.

But if UNLV shows the same kind of effort today for 40 minutes that it did for the first 34 minutes in Provo, it'd be hard for fans not to be encouraged heading into the last 14 games of Mountain West Conference play.

Remember, next week, UNLV hosts San Diego State and Utah, then plays the bottom half of the Mountain West over its next four games — Air Force, Colorado State, TCU and Wyoming, not in that order. That means that UNLV will be in prime shape at the end of the regular season to pad that resumé.

So I guess what I'm saying is don't sweat this early. It's not good for your health.

Onto todays Three Keys for UNLV ...

1) Derrick Jasper needs to be more selfish on offense, plain and simple. He even said so himself. When Jasper plays like he did on Dec. 23 at Hawaii, he can be a pain in the rear for any opponent, stretching an opposing defense out naturally. When he plays like he did in the second half in Provo, well, not so much.

2) The rebounding message was sent home strong on Wednesday, as UNLV did everything right on the defensive end except for boxing out on the glass, allowing 19 offensive boards to the Cougars. Those second-chance points helped BYU stay within range long enough to make its late-game push.

3) UNLV needs to defend Roman Martinez better than it defended BYU sharpshooter Jonathan Tavernari on Wednesday. They've got to stay on the 6-foot-6 senior like stench from a Kansas City barbecue joint stays on your clothes. He leads the MWC with 3.1 3-pointers made a game.

As for today's prediction and pick to click ...

I'm predicting New Mexico to take the 72-66 victory. It's not that UNLV isn't capable, but they've got to prove more before legitimately picking them to win at The Pit. As for the Pick to Click, I'll take Jasper. After how he's looked in practice the last couple of days, I do think he will be more selfish, and he'll be the main reason this one stays so close.

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  1. Unable to watch the game but I am following it on yahoo, and my question is whats up with the lopsided fouls? Same old tic-tac on UNLV or sloppy D?

  2. The game is being streamed here:
    http://www.justin.tv/cbb2k8#r=L2vXdPU

  3. Hey RebelnSoccerFanatic -
    BAM! EAT YOUR WORDS! Do yourself a favor and stop posting on this website.
    REEEEBEEELS!!!

  4. lol @ RelnSoccerFanatic!

    ok...UNM by 12 in the end. I saw you byu prediction on these boards, down by 10 in fist half and blown out in the second, sure dude. you clearly have a strong lack of knowledge on all things basketball. Easily

  5. stick to soccer homie.

  6. Good win. Very on sided officiated game for Lobos. We played good D. Wallace came up big, finally.

    Kruger finaly kept a more balanced line-up in the whole game. Still wish we would feed the post more. Were not going to shoot 3's like this every game.

  7. Soccerhomotastic.....had the 12 right...just the wrong team....good one though SWOOP!!!!

  8. By the way...where is Lobo69 at???? Hello??? Lobo??? I can't here you!!!

  9. I haven't been able to watch all the games live, but from I've seen this was our best overall 40 minute performance of the season. We had a couple mini-slumps and they made some key runs, but we did a good job of countering each time. Basketball is a game of runs and you have to expect the opponent, especially a team as good as UNM playing at home, to make a few. What matters is how you respond, and today tonight we didn't fold like we did on Wednesday. Our rebounding still needs lots of improvement--lots of one and dones on our end--but we were renlentless on D, and despite all the fouls against us, I thought Kruger managed the game very well.

    While I have been critical of Chop lately, I thought he did okay tonight. Still no production on the offensive end, but he didn't make any major blunders and he held his own on D. Its exciting to see what can happen when we decide to play 40 minutes of tough, disciplined basketball.

    I don't think many (if any other) team will be able to split the BYU-UNM road trip this year, so while the loss at BYU was disappointing, getting the split is still an accomplishment. Now we need to defend our home floor against a very good and hot SDSU team. Congrats to our team and keep it up--Go Rebels!

  10. Good game REBS, (1-1) in two of the tougher places to play in county/conference. Now its time to gear up for a good athletic SDSU

  11. Kruger is a genius!

  12. Hey moron, you've been wrong twice the last two games. I don't think you have to wait till Wednesday, you can shut up now.

    BTW, forget that your opinions horrific, just the fact that you post as a soccer fan on a basketball site makes you a fruitbasket.

  13. nah soccer fan your more and more becoming the fruit basket sir. You call yourself a fan of this team yet you root for there demise, ridiculous.

    As for your observation of SDSU resembling the majority of big east teams...funny, the likes of UCONN, Syracuse etc are ranked squads all capable of reaching the final four. Last time I checked SDSU got beat by Pacific and was blown out by St Mary's. Athletic yes, beatable definitely yes! Able to hang in the big east, HELL NO! Must be the soccer fan in you. wrong sport. Maybe sdsu's soccer team.

  14. I have to agree. The Rebels scratch and claw to get up by 6-8 pts and then Lon puts in Jones and Wallace at the same time with two other guards and Santee. That line up will not get any rebounds unless it falls at their feet. If Jones gets in, play him with a couple bigs, but then of course you have little scoring. I think Jones should be back to 12 or 13th Man. Get the freshman more time or have both Santee and Masamba in at the same time to give Jasper and Stanback rest.

    It might be lost with Wallace's great shooting, but I loved that Stanback and Jasper both played inspired ball. I think they both are realizing how important they are to the teams success. Great game, should/could have easily been 2-0 in the two toughest places to play in the conference.

    Also I agree with the fouls called. At one point in the first half. UNLV was called for 3 offensive and two blocking calls. All of which could go either way, but shouldn't it be more even?
    Great Game Rebels and You guys are great on here, except for a couple doorknobs.

  15. Guys, you really need to get off of Steve Jones. If UNLV was surrendering massive leads or something when he's on the floor, it'd be one thing. But they didn't. He's the perfect kind of guy to buy you some minutes when the guys ahead of him need the breather, which Chace and Tre and Derrick certainly needed at that point. Heck, look what happened to New Mexico when Hobson came out with 9:22 to play and Alford had no one who could plug that gap. UNLV goes on an 11-0 run and takes the game away. Jones is never gonna give you 10 points off of the bench, but he'll make hustle plays and not make big mistakes. He was good for the Rebels today.

  16. I love ya Greene, doing a fine job, but at this point Id rather see Hawkins gobble those minuets. He needs more game experience to keep his confidence up and defense tight.

  17. Come on Greene, 0 points, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, and 0 rebounds on a nightly basis. You could get my 40 year old a$$ to give you that off the bench.

    Chop seems like a nice guy though.

  18. hey ksiffemann
    if he was at the snack stand then you cant blame him. Those stands @ the Pit are in tents all the way outside the damn gym!

  19. I have to agree with the Hoosier Rebel up there, I doubt the other MWC teams will split against these two schools. Very good accomplishment, now we need to hold serve on our home court. MWC is ours for the taking if they bring it every game like they did today. Great job, Rebels. Didn't know there were Rebel fans in Indiana, but hey, we appreciate the support. Goes to show that UNLV basketball will always have a mystique about it; there are Runnin' Rebels everywhere...

  20. Seriously, Greene, I don't think we are watching the same game(s) or talking about the same guy (Jones) if you think HE'S the perfect guy to come in to give our starters breathers.

    We have a deep bench and everybody NOT named "Chop Jones" is perfectly capable of eating up minutes *ahem* Just Hawkins *ahem*

  21. The guy only played seven minutes and they won the game. Get over it :) Why be so angry after your team just got its best win of the season? The day he actually costs the Rebels a game is the day your argument has some weight. Kruger's won 443 more games as a collegiate coach than any number of us combined. The guy knows what he's doing.

  22. Ryan is so right. Jones is a backup player that is put in the game to give our starters a breather. He's not a star player but he's a decent bench player.

    To those morons that say Jones doesn't do anything:
    Our average player (mostly starters) scored 0.4 pts/minute this season; Jones scored 0.2 pts/minute.

    Our average player got 0.15 rebounds per minute; Jones pulled down 0.1 rebounds per minute.

    Respectable.

  23. Big win and now San Diego State comes to town

    Will Fisher out coach Kruger again

  24. Its not that he plays Jones, its that he is in there with wallace. Neither rebound and Wallace is a defense liability. Slip him in there with two bigs and a scorer so we are not so handicapped with him and wallace on the floor.

  25. Seriously.....still no Lobo69? Lobo.....where did you run and hide to? Not so confident anymore? Darn.

  26. to liljoe31: Doing my best to support our boys from out here in Indiana. I am a UNLV alum, so I don't know how many local yokels like the Rebs, but I do know this...one of my friends here is originally from Italy, and they actually broadcast the NCAA tourney there when he was growing up (in the late 80s, early 90s). His favorite team: UNLV. Thus, there are indeed Rebel fans everywhere! Go Rebs!

  27. if all you can post after a win like this is bad stuff about a guy that plays 7 minutes then you are a fool and need to SHUT UP and get a clue!

  28. Love the win Rebels.

    Jones didn't hurt us that bad this game. However, the BYU game is a different story. He was constantly getting rebounded over. Think about this. He comes in for Chace who is 6'8" tall, rebounds and scores. I would rather have Santee come in for Stanback and then have Brice come in for Shaw. This would free up Wallace, AM and J-Hawk to rotate for Jasper, Tre and O. The rotation would tighten down to 10 players. If foul trouble occurs THEN Chop could play more than a couple of minutes.

  29. I kind of wonder what game some of you "fans" were watching...

    The team went on the road and walked over the number 15 team in the nation!!!! I guess you all demand more... Apparently the only interesting part was watching Jones... LOL... I don't know I tend to think Wallace lighting up the three and that break away dunk by Jasper were much more interesting then a deep bench player giving some rest to guys for the run down the stretch...

    And I gotta agree with Ryan in regards to Lon, how many college games have you guys complaining about his system have you won again as a college coaches? I think Coach K has found the answer to all those countless hours he spends doing his job, just run through the LV Sun boards and follow through on all the wonderful suggestions the arm chair quarterbacks on here have... Jee I wonder how he managed a final four visit back before these forums... He must have logged on to his Prodigy account and looked you guys up then... You guys make me laugh... hahahahaha

  30. Who should get minutes definitely an important matter, but in no way worthy of discussing ahead of the impact of this victory and all the positives it gives us to focus on. Save the Chop slams for mid week talk at best when the excitement of this victory has died down a little. I mean, really, ksiff is that all that you have to say about tonight??? Show us you got something besides that!!

  31. Big time win for UNLV, needed to split this road trip after the BYU game. K-DUB was lighting up the Lobos, maybe someone should cover that guy.

  32. Great game from Kendall. Really good tenacity from the whole team, the whole game.

    The Lobos were playing the zone the whole time and Wallace made them pay. It was still nice to see the guards attacking and getting to the paint against the zone, but they need to do more of it.

    There was a point at the beginning of the 2nd half where UNLV had 7 pf and NM only had 1. It wasn't because of the refs either. It was due to the lack of pushing the issue in the post, while NM kept driving.

    Great win and biggest take away I saw was to work on getting to the rim against a zone D, hopefully that will even out the fouls.