Ron Jenkins / AP
Published Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010 | 2:32 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Jan. 23, 2010 | 5:09 p.m.
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Final, UNLV wins 79-70
FORT WORTH, Texas — Tre'Von Willis scored a career-high 30 points, while Chace Stanback matched a career-high with 19, and UNLV held off TCU at Daniel-Meyer Arena, 79-70, on Saturday evening.
The duo was at its best when the going got tough, combining to 21 of UNLV's final 22 points of the night. Derrick Jasper closed the game out with a free throw.
The Rebels led 38-30 at the half, but behind hot shooting from Greg Hill and tough play on the perimeter by Ronnie Moss, TCU tied the game up, 60-60, with over eight minutes to play.
Then, Stanback took over with a pair of buckets, and Willis then shut the door. First, he backed down Moss and faded away for a jumper off the glass. He followed it with a three on the left wing in Moss's face, sneering towards the TCU bench afterwards and thumping his chest twice.
UNLV's three big men — Brice Massamba, Darris Santee and Matt Shaw — combined for 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting.
The Rebels improve to 16-4 overall and 4-2 in Mountain West play, while TCU is now 10-10 and 2-3, respectively. UNLV will face Air Force at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday night before heading into an eight-day layoff.
For full postgame coverage, including stories, stats, photos and The Rebel Room: Postgame Edition, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.
6:20, second half, UNLV leads 64-60
FORT WORTH, Texas — UNLV continues to refuse to let TCU take the lead on its home floor, but the Horned Frogs continue to get closer and closer.
Thanks to seven straight points from guard Greg Hill, including a 3-pointer in transition, TCU closed to within two points at 59-57. Then, after a Tre'Von Willis free throw, Ronnie Moss thundered down the floor and scored an and-one layup. His subsequent free throw tied it up, 60-60.
Then, Chace Stanback answered the bell again for UNLV on the offensive end. He got Zvonko Buljan to bite on head fakes twice, first driving for a tough layup inside, then cashing a mid-range jumper.
The Rebels are up 64-60, with Stanback (14 points) and Willis (21) again carrying the offensive load.
Someone else, however, might need to emerge in the closing minutes.
15:48, second half, UNLV leads 50-42
FORT WORTH, Texas — Tre'Von Willis scored his second and-one layup of the game after TCU closed to within six points heading into the last T.V. timeout, and the Rebels refuse to let the Horned Frogs get too close, leading 50-42 in the second half in Fort Worth.
Brice Massamba, however, got UNLV started on the offensive end out of the break. He hit two short-range looks and then cashed a pair of free throws, giving him his first six points of the night. The UNLV big men are now a combined 8-of-8 from the floor with 20 points to their credit.
TCU, still. won't go away. Freshman Nikola Cerina has seven points in the half, including three at the stripe.
By the way, want a sign that this is officially a 'football school'? The TCU cheerleaders — all 6,458 of them — came out for the second half wearing football uniforms.
Halftime, UNLV leads 38-30
FORT WORTH, Texas — Had it not been for six 3-pointers falling through in the first half for TCU, UNLV could be ahead in a laugher right now.
But as it is, the Rebels are up by eight at the break, 38-30, and are in firm control in Fort Worth.
Tre'Von Willis scored 13 points in the first half, including a late and-one layup, and is 5-of-5 from the free throw line.
UNLV got 14 bench points in the first half thanks to the efforts of just two players — forwards Matt Shaw and Darris Santee.
Santee, in the return to his home state, has six points on 3-of-3 shooting, while Matt Shaw is also 3-of-3 from the floor. Shaw, who turns 22 years old today, hit UNLV's only two 3-pointers in the first half.
Here are some other numbers of note from the first half ...
— UNLV is 15-of-27 from the floor, and 13-of-18 from inside the 3-point arc.
— Chace Stanback has eight points, with six of those coming thanks to his signature mid-range shot.
— UNLV is out-rebounding TCU, 16-10. The Horned Frogs have only one offensive board, while Derrick Jasper has six on the defensive end.
6:58, first half, UNLV leads 27-23
FORT WORTH, Texas — It's a game which feels like a blowout in UNLV's favor, but the Rebels lead TCU by just four at 27-23 with 6:58 to play in the first half.
Why is it so close? Well, the Horned Frogs are hitting their threes, which will do the trick any day. In fact, five of TCU's seven field goals so far are from deep.
Still, UNLV is still leading despite mostly trading those threes for twos on the offensive end.
Sparking the effort for UNLV has been the big men off of the bench. Darris Santee, playing in his home state, has six points so far, while Matt Shaw, coming off of the bench for the first time in quite a while, scored eight points upon entering the game. He hit a turnaround hook shot on the block and then back-to-back treys from the left wing.
UNLV is out-rebounding TCU, 10-5, and is playing some of its most solid basketball this conference season.
15:27, first half, UNLV leads 8-5
FORT WORTH, Texas — Chace Stanback showed no hangover early on after scoring a career-high 19 points at Colorado State on Wednesday, as he put in UNLV's first two buckets today as the Rebels hold an early 8-5 lead at TCU.
The Rebels set the tone right away with a great defensive possession to start the game, forcing Zvonko Buljan to hoist a fade-away 25-foot 3-pointer as the shot clock expired. On the other end, Stanback spun from Buljan and hit a mid-range jumper to open the scoring. On UNLV's next trip up the floor, he drove home and slammed one home one-handed.
Brice Massamba got the start for the Rebels over Matt Shaw, who had held the starting power forward gig for quite some time. Shaw is still on the bench now, and Massamba was replaced by Darris Santee, who dunked one home for his first bucket of the game.
Shaw has yet to take off the warm-ups. Something might be up. Not sure.
FORT WORTH, Texas — UNLV has traveled both near and far this season, staying strong in front of some of the harshest road crowds you'll find in the West, such as at BYU, Arizona and New Mexico.
Tonight, as the Rebels (15-4 overall, 3-2 MWC) take on TCU (10-9, 2-2) to cap off a five-day, two-game road swing, they'll run into the complete opposite brand of environment.
With about 30 minutes to go until tip-off, the stands in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum are far from packed. That was the case last year, too, however, as UNLV was tripped up by TCU, 80-73.
However, this year's group has shown the ability to not overlook anyone, and that point was proven on Wednesday night in an 80-72 victory at Colorado State. The Rebels are in the middle of a nice stretch in conference play where the win column can be padded, with today's tilt with TCU and Tuesday's home date with lowly Air Force.
Showing up alone, however, won't get it done today. Here are today's three keys to UNLV victory.
1) UNLV needs to control the defensive glass like it did on Tuesday night in grabbing 33 boards on that end and limiting Colorado State's second-chance looks. The Rebels forced the Rams to beat them with their first opportunities on offense, and that was pretty key, as CSU couldn't hit those 25-foot threes all night and UNLV gobbled up star forward Andy Ogide, who was limited to four points and two rebounds.
2) Whoever guards Zvonko Buljan, be it Derrick Jasper or Chace Stanback, must win that battle. He hurt UNLV on both ends of the floor in each meeting last season, and was a spark plug in the upset in Fort Worth. He's averaging 13.4 points and 9.3 boards a game this year for the Horned Frogs.
3) Jasper has to simply keep doing what he's done so far on the road, as UNLV has gone 6-1 this season in true road games. He's averaging solid numbers across the board on the road, and most important are the six rebounds he's pulling down per road game. When he crashes in from the wing and is nabbing defensive rebounds by the bunch, he can throw an opponent off quickly. He's also good at starting the break after grabbing those.
As for tonight's prediction and Pick to Click, I'm gonna take UNLV again, 77-69, and select Oscar Bellfield. I know my reasoning sounds weird, but I'm a firm believer that when on the road, the slightest disrespect from your hosts can set a guy off. Bellfield was just going after a loose ball during warmups which was picked up by an usher in the corner. Bellfield put his hands out, asking for the ball, the usher looked at him and then rolled the ball slowly to him. Bellfield glared, then bent down to pick it up. He went from calm to serious in a snap. Looking forward to seeing what he does with that.
Talk to you after tip-off ...