LIVE GAME BLOG — Final:

Willis, Stanback lead UNLV past SDSU with second half surge, 76-66

Combo combines for 41 points as UNLV improves to 14-3 overall, 2-1 in MWC play

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Justin M. Bowen

The Rebels warm up just before they take on San Diego State at the Thomas & Mack Center on Wednesday night in the team’s first home game since Dec. 19.

Updated Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010 | 9:09 p.m.

San Diego State vs UNLV

Led by the scoring duo of Tre'Von Willis and Chace Stanback, UNLV avenged three 2009 losses to San Diego State, beating the Aztecs, 76-66.

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With a tough week of road games finished, how do you expect UNLV to perform in its home MWC opener against San Diego State on Wednesday night?

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Final, UNLV wins 76-66

Tre'Von Willis and Chace Stanback are developing into quite the reliable one-two scoring punch for UNLV as the 2009-10 season progresses, and the duo hit a new peak in the second half of Wednesday night's 76-66 victory over San Diego State.

In UNLV's first game back at the Thomas & Mack Center since Dec. 19, the duo combined for 41 points, leading a second half charge.

Stanback scored UNLV's first six points out of the halftime locker room, while Willis, during one second half stretch, scored 14 of the team's 16 points. Stanback finished with 18, while Willis had 23

Meanwhile. Oscar Bellfield steered the ship in efficient fashion for the third consecutive time. The league's assist leader in conference games had six helpers as opposed to just one assist. He also chimed in with 12 points.

Malcolm Thomas and Kawhi Leonard combined inside for SDSU to tally 25 points and 17 rebounds, while leading scorer Billy White — a Green Valley High grad who missed Saturday's loss to Wyoming with an ankle sprain — fouled out with five points in 16 minutes played.

UNLV is now 14-3 overall and 2-1 in MWC play, while SDSU drops to 12-5 and 1-2, respectively. The Rebels are back at the Mack on Saturday for a 7 p.m. tip against Utah.

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

3:35, second half, UNLV leads 67-62

No one seemed to take last season's three-game sweep at the hands of San Diego State more personal than Tre'Von Willis, and he's certainly exorcising those demons in the second half.

At one point, he scored 14 points in a 16-point UNLV spurt, and behind his 21 for the night, the Rebels hold a late 67-62 edge on the Aztecs.

Billy White fouled out at the 4:12 mark after a non-descript five-point performance in 16 minutes. Meanwhile, UNLV has held its owon on the boards in the second half, and for the game trails 40-33 in that department.

9:18, second half, UNLV leads 55-50

Tre'Von Willis has picked up right where Chace Stanback left off earlier in the second half. The UNLV junior guard has scored 10 of the Rebels' last 10 points, including a second-chance 3-pointer just moments ago to put UNLV ahead of SDSU, 55-50.

Willis, who was silent in the first half for the most part, now has a game-high 15 points.

Making a big difference so far this half for UNLV is Derrick Jasper and Anthony Marshall showing great activity on the defensive glass.

15:44, second half, game tied 43-43

Chace Stanback hit a long two from the left corner to open the second half with a nice shooter's roll, pumped his fist, and it was on for the Rebels.

The 6-foot-8 forward scored UNLV's first six points out of the break, and the Rebels have manned-up physically inside against the Aztecs. The game is now tied, 43-43, just over four minutes into the second half.

Stanback now has 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting and has without question been UNLV's most aggressive offensive force tonight, with Tre'Von Willis coming in a close second.

Brice Massamba has also scored twice early in the second half off of Oscar Bellfield assists. Bellfield, who is the conference's assist leader through two games, now has six assists and only one turnover.

Halftime, SDSU leads 39-33

San Diego State has found a comfort zone at the Thomas & Mack Center, and that entails playing its patented frantic brand of ball. The Aztecs have hardly slowed down tonight, haven't allowed the Rebels to slow things down to their desired pace, and in turn have a 39-33 halftime lead.

SDSU is spreading the wealth, as eight players have already scored, with Tyrone Shelley scoring seven consecutive to bridge a four-minute offensive drought for just about everyone else on the floor.

Billy White has been pretty much ineffective in eight minutes played, but several others are stepping up for Steve Fisher. Meanwhile, UNLV's shooting is spotty and the inside presence hasn't been there yet. Here is a closer look inside the halftime box score ...

— SDSU leads the rebounding battle, 23-16. Three players have four apiece for the Aztecs, led by freshman Kawhi Leonard, who has three offensive boards and eight points.

— UNLV's three-headed center — Massamba, Shaw and Santee — has a combined four boards so far.

— UNLV is 12-of-33 from the floor. Chace Stanback is 3-of-8, but leads all scorers with eight points. Meanwhile, SDSU is getting several high-percentage looks and is 14-of-27 from the floor.

— What's keeping this one close still for the Rebels? The Aztecs can't shoot free throw, as per usual. The fellas are 9-of-17 from the stripe.

— The Aztecs have only five assists compared to nine turnovers, but are finishing on the break, which has been the key.

— UNLV needs to establish a presence inside, as the Rebels have been outscored so far in the paint, 24-10.

UNLV's only chance in this one, really, is by slowing down the pace and not allowing San Diego State to get numbers in the open floor. Oh, well, that and establishing some muscle inside wouldn't hurt, either.

7:00, first half, SDSU leads 24-20

UNLV wants to play the half-court game. San Diego State wants to run up and down non-stop. The Aztecs' so far is ruling, as the visitors lead the Rebels mid-way through the first half at the Thomas & Mack Center, 24-20.

Tyrone Shelley scored seven consecutive points for SDSU during a four-minute offensive drought for both sides. By the time UNLV woke up, San Diego State was ready to trade buckets.

Between a layup off of a steal by Chase Tapley and a soaring dunk by Kawhi Leonard, SDSU is keeping the crowd at the Mack out of this one for the most part. Shelley then drew a foul while taking a 3-point shot heading into the recent T.V. timeout.

UNLV is active on the glass and getting second chances on offense, but 8-of-22 shooting so far has been marred by the Rebels not taking the ball up strong inside and missing a bevy of mid-range jumpers. Tre'Von Willis — the Rebels' leading scorer — just scored his first bucket of the game on an 18-foot jumper.

So far, SDSU is controlling the pace, and UNLV would need to hit an incredible hot streak to win a game that is played at this tempo. If the Rebels can stay within at least six points by halftime, the odds of them executing on adjustments is good. But first, the Rebels have to survive the final stretch of the opening stanza.

As for Billy White, he's only played four mintues so far, picking up two fouls, one rebound and committing one turnover.

15:35, first half, UNLV leads 11-9

Kawhi Leonard, who is hands-down the league's top freshman and maybe its finest pro prospect behind New Mexico's Darington Hobson, is making his presence felt early in UNLV's home MWC opener.

The Rebels lead 11-9 thanks to some crisp execution on the offensive end, but the Leonard and fellow frosh Chase Tapley are keeping San Diego State within range.

Leonard has already drawn two UNLV fouls, has six points and two of the team's three offensive rebounds. The bad, though? He's 0-for-3 from the free throw line.

UNLV, meanwhile, is 5-of-6 from the floor and 1-of-1 from deep. One thing to keep an eye on, though, is the foul situation. The refs will clearly call it pretty touchy in this physical battle. The Rebels took only 18 seconds to pick up their first foul, and have already been whistled for three.

Pregame

Well, an already tough task appears like it'll get tougher right off the bat tonight for UNLV, who returns to the Thomas & Mack for its first home game since Dec. 19.

San Diego State (12-4 overall, 1-1 MWC) rolls into town for the first of two regular season meetings this season. Last season, behind a veteran-laden starting five, the Aztecs swept three meetings with the Rebels (13-3, 1-1).

It was thought that SDSU would be without leading scorer and Green Valley High grad Billy White, who sprained his ankle last Tuesday in a 74-64 upset win over then-No. 15 New Mexico. However, White is warming up and looks as healthy as ever. Word around the campfire from around the SDSU bench is that White will get a shot to play in the first half, and coach Steve Fisher will judge how he's holding up from there.

Even before it was known that White would give it a go, the Rebels were going to already have their hands full up front.

Between junior Malcolm Thomas and freshman Kawhi Leonard, the Aztecs have been very productive up front. The two are combining to average 22 points and 17.2 rebounds a game, and we all know how much UNLV has struggled this season against bigger teams, such as Kansas State and Southern Cal.

However, those teams had more than above average point guard play. That area may be where UNLV thinks it can get a leg up on the Aztecs, who have given the reins to the offense to junior guard D.J. Gay.

If UNLV's pressure defense is in the backcourt is as stifling as it was last week in road contests at BYU and New Mexico, the Rebels could find themselves in phenomenal position.

The atmosphere is going to be great here at the Mack tonight. Kenny Mayne will do the 'Lights, please' honors before pregame introductions, Mirage resident entertainer Terry Fator will sing the national anthem, and the stands are filling up quick.

Now onto tonight's three keys to UNLV victory

1) Derrick Jasper and Chace Stanback need to be as active and aggressive as they were on Saturday in Albuquerque, especially on the offensive end. The two combined for 20 points and 16 rebounds, and with the way those two can spread opposing defenses out, when their motors are alive and kicking, UNLV is that much better.

2) UNLV doesn't necessarily need to out-rebound San Diego State. But the Rebels do need to be as active on the glass as they were on Saturday, when they were out-boarded by New Mexico by 11, but were able to keep the Lobos from getting clean second looks. Are you noticing a theme here, yet, with the word 'active'?

3) The Rebels need to win the turnover battle, plain and simple. If the pressure defense in the back-court is there again, the Rebels can force plenty of mistakes on the SDSU side. The Aztecs are more than prone to those. If UNLV can compound that by executing quality possessions and not giving it away, SDSU could find itself working out of a hole all night.

Finally, the prediction and 'Pick to Click' I'll take the Rebels, 72-61. As for a 'Pick to Click,' I'll take Oscar Bellfield, who will be largely responsible for leading the defensive charge against Gay and the SDSU back-court.

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Previous Discussion: 27 comments so far…

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  1. Anyone know of a link to watch the game online? Go Rebels!

  2. Why can't we feed the post 1 time in the half court offense. Give Massamba an opportunity to score or get fouled. If I was a big man, i would never come to UNLV afraid of being a pick machine.

  3. Judging by your recent predictions v. BYU and UNM, I think it is time for you to keep your trap shut RebelSoccerFanatic.

  4. SOCCERDORK...SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE!!!

  5. speaking of Massamba ... 2 big buckets to get us right back into it

  6. SOCCERDORK-
    You should apply for Joe Lunardi's job at ESPN because obviously you know more than him. As of Monday he had 4 teams from the MWC going to the tourney. Once again you're making yourself look foolish.

  7. how many layups can we miss tonight?!

  8. WALLY!!!!!!!

  9. Tre is taking over this game. We are alos doing much better on the glass and with our fouls this half. Lets just keep it up and close this one out. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeebels!

  10. Great pressure D in the second half. Need more boards and inside presence. Bring on Utah. REEEEEBELS!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Well RebelSoccerGeek, one of these teams may be NIT bound, but at this point it doesn't look like its going to be UNLV. Try keeping your lame and completely off the mark predictions to yourself from now on.

  12. Positives from this game:

    Bellfield 12 pts, 6 assts, only 1 TO
    Stanback 18 pts, 5 boards, 4 steals
    Willis 23 pts and only 1 TO
    Bigs 12 pts, 7 boards, 0 TOs
    Excellent 2nd half on D, in rebounding, and in controlling our fouls

  13. REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEBELS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. RebelnSoccerFanatic

    Please make a comment, I'm sure we all would love to take back what you said...come on'...be a pal...hahaha

  15. Eat some crow Soccer. I hope it tastes like dog feces.

    Ugly 1st half, GOT TO GET BOARDS, great surge and a lot of heart down the straight. Wallace had tremendous heart. He wasn't shooting well, but he was a force to be reconed with on D.

  16. Anyone know the attendance #s for tonight's game? haven't seen the t&m that full in awhile. its a shame the crowd couldnt get it into it more.

  17. the crowd wasnt in it for the first half because we were down... they were (at least my section was) in it the second half. great game lets pack the mack this saturday, no excuses... sell it out.

  18. SOCCER FAN: Take your magic 8 ball you have been using to make predictions and throw it away because its broken. Thanks CPT obvious "If REBS beat Utah" or "I see pitfalls on the road" so now IF and I say IF UNLV was to lose any of the next three games you can say I told you so. Your Lame. Can we make this board a democracy? I motion that RebelnSoccerFanatic be made to change his screen name to BYULOVINGIDIOT? Any other names we can call this guy?

  19. According to the final stats listed on the Rebels' website, the official attendance tonight was 14,530.

    http://unlvrebels.cstv.com/sports/m-bask...

  20. RebelnSoccerFanatic, honestly, take the Rebel out of your name or at least change it to Rebel(Hater)nSoccerFanatic. You have posted nothing but negative posts about the team, and to take the cake you called the team "you guys" instead of "we".

  21. I was at the game tonight, and SDSU is very athletic... They have some real talent... Fortunately they cannot shoot the ball well.. :) The road game against them is going to be a tough one...

    I will say we played really well against a very big team... Kruger had some great lineups on the court that really confused SDSU... The Rebels got hot down the stretch which is really positive, this is the 2nd game now they closed out... We keep doing that we will have a lot of success throughout conference play...

    I just wish the SDSU road game was not the day before V-Day otherwise a road trip would be called for... I would highly recommend if you can travel to that game to do so... That is a fun place to catch a game... Especially when you are a Rebel fan...

  22. Very impressive and encouraging win tonight. Even though SDSU ended up with more boards on the night, that was one of the top rebounding teams in the nation we were up against and we were holding our own for most of the game, specifically Chace Stanbeck. He had the best game of his Rebel career hands down. If he produces like that on a consistent basis, this team will go far. Despite all the missed layups and ticktack fouls, we still win by 10? This is looking like a very fun year to be a Runnin' Rebel. Great job guys. And how about Marshall stuffing Mr. White going up for a two-handed dunk in the first half. Anyone who criticizes the athleticism of this team should just watch that one play (from one of our freshmen, no less!).

  23. liljoe, I hate being spelling police, but it is my pet peeve when someone misspells a player's name. It is Chace Stanback. K I'm done sorry

    I am making the trip to SDSU..can't complain about that..stayin in SD and watchin the Rebels?

    All of you that have a girlfriend/wife and need an excuse to go to the Rebels game..make it a weekend trip to San Diego for Valentine's Day and the game as part of the trip! Sounds fool-proof to me!

  24. Soccerhomotastic runs his mouth again. And then runs and hides after the game again. It's a nice ploy by skewing the numbers and saying it's been "2 years" since UNLV beat SDSU. The reality is that they swept us last season and we swept them the season before. Not as lopsided as one idiot would try to make you think it is. You're a moron Soccerhomotastic. Get out of the loft in your mom's house and come check out a game. Maybe you'll learn what an NCAA bound team looks like. That way you can stop with your childish predictions.

  25. Please don't feed the soccer fans...We got bigger fish to fry...next in the pan is a Ute!!

  26. RebelnSoccerFanatic and SufferrinSuxCox have gotta be the same D-Bag. This moron needs to take the Rebel out of his name cause he is not worthy of calling himself a Rebel. Have you even been to a game to see this team??? Obviously not cause you dont have a frikkin clue as to anything you type on here. If for some strange reason you do actually go to a game you should bring a big sign with your gay name so we all know who you are and we can throw stuff at you all game. I would love to pimp slap you and im sure just about every TRUE FAN would love to do the same. God i wish dbags like this would not be such cowards by hiding behind their computers talking smack. So Sufferin and SoccorHomo if your unable to show yourself with a sign at the game i will be happy to tell you where i sit EVERY GAME to give you the chance to come to me at the game and i can show you how a real fan cheers for their team and supports their team. Or maybe i'll just pimp slap you and make you go work the corner.

    to LVSUN editor - Can we at least have a vote on weather or not we can BAN dbags from this site???

  27. If you call for rain everyday and then it finally rains, that doesn't make you a meteorologist. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and you RebSocFan are a broken clock.