Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011 | 2:15 a.m.
- BOX SCORE: UNLV 90, Wyoming 77
- LIVE GAME BLOG: UNLV heads into short break with 90-77 rout of Wyoming at the Mack
- Through physical struggles, reaching Senior Night an accomplishment for Jasper (2-25-2011)
- Quintrell Thomas gets UNLV over the hump in 77-74 overtime win at New Mexico (2-24-2011)
- Bellfield keys monster second half for UNLV in 68-61 win at Colorado State (2-20-2011)
- KATS REPORT: HBO’s ‘Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV’ effectively captures a moment in time (2-19-2011)
- UNLV lands commitment from high-powered scoring guard Dantley Walker (2-15-2011)
- 2010-11 UNLV Schedule
- All Sun UNLV men's basketball coverage
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Las Vegas Sun reporters Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer discuss the UNLV basketball team's 90-77 victory against Wyoming in final home game of the season. The Rebels played one of their more efficient offensive halves to open up the night, and ended it all alone in third place in the Mountain West.
It had been a while since UNLV had a ho-hum victory.
And it couldn't have come at a better time.
Off of a grueling two-game sweep on the road over the last week and heading into a much-needed mini-break, the Rebels got out front early and cruised to a 90-77 victory over Wyoming on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
"Senior night, the fact that it's our last regular season home game, we felt like we had to come out with a lot of energy," senior guard Tre'Von Willis said. "And I thought we did that."
Willis, who was one of four seniors honored before the game, was a major offensive catalyst for the Rebels (22-7 overall, 10-5 Mountain West) for the second consecutive game.
He scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half, including a 3-of-3 showing from deep before the break, helping UNLV build a 54-39 halftime edge.
Several Rebels followed his lead, as Saturday's first half was one of the team's more efficient 20-minute offensive stretches of the season. They went into the locker room having shot 65.6 percent from the floor and hitting six of 10 3-point tries.
Wyoming (10-18, 3-11) again brandished its uptempo style that interim coach Fred Langley has pushed in five games at the helm, and it wasn't a bad idea coming in. UNLV came in only a few days removed from wrapping up the two-game road swing with a taxing 77-74 overtime victory at New Mexico.
The Rebels did anything but lag.
"Going into tonight's game, we were as healthy as we've been in a while," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "Coming out of the first half tonight, I thought those last four halves, for sure, we were playing as well as we have in conference play, without question."
The second half got a bit sloppy, as UNLV coughed the ball up 15 times against Wyoming's increased full-court pressure on defense, but still, the Rebels were never in any real danger.
Chace Stanback led the Rebels with 19 points, also adding 11 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
The Rebels avoided a let-down after two huge wins, which is another sign that the team just might be peaking at the right time. That realization comes less than two weeks after skeptics far outnumbered optimists on the heels of an ugly 49-42 home victory over Air Force.
Since then, the Rebels have rediscovered the confidence in their outside shooting, played at a pace much more fitting of their overall athleticism and remain solidly on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble.
"I think we play our best basketball when we feel like it's everyone against us," Willis said.
Coupled with Colorado State's brutal loss at Air Force earlier in the evening, UNLV is also now a half-game up on the Rams in the race for third place in the Mountain West.
The Rebels will take Sunday off before closing the regular season out next Saturday at Utah at 1 p.m.
• Along with Willis, honored before the game were fellow seniors Derrick Jasper, Tyler Norman and Mychal Martinez. Jasper had two points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals in 12 minutes, while Norman scored the second bucket of his UNLV career in the game's final minute.
• Willis's 15 points gives him 1,260 for his career, moving him past Jackie Robinson (1,258; 1973-78) into 19th place on UNLV's all-time scoring list. Next ahead of him is Lewis Brown (1,289; 1973-77).
• Saturday's announced attendance was 15,398.