REBELS BASKETBALL:

UNLV closes out home schedule in smooth fashion with 90-77 rout of Wyoming

Chace Stanback’s 19 points lead five Rebels in double-figures; Kruger’s club takes sole possession of third place in MWC

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Chace Stanback reaches for a ball over the top of Wyoming guard Djibril Thiam during their Mountain West Conference game Saturday, February 26, 2011 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV closed out their home season with a 90-77 win.

UNLV vs. Wyoming

UNLV forward Brice Massamba fouls Wyoming center Adam Waddell during their Mountain West Conference game Saturday, February 26, 2011 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Launch slideshow »

UNLV vs. Wyoming

KSNV coverage of UNLV vs. Wyoming basketball, Feb. 26, 2011.

The Rebel Room

WYOMING POSTGAME: UNLV scores 54 in first half on Senior Day

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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.

Like Willis, Quintrell Thomas and Oscar Bellfield each scored 15 points, while Anthony Marshall threw home a couple of crowd-pleasing dunks en route to 10 points of his own.

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.

Notes

• 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).

• Wyoming's Amath M'Baye led all scorers with 24 points, while sophomore gunner Desmar Jackson scored 19 points off of the bench for the Pokes.

• Saturday's announced attendance was 15,398.

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  1. I just wanted to point out now that UNLV has beaten Wisconsin, Virgina Tech, and Kansas St. who all beat #1 Teams this year! Lets go Rebels Keep up the great playing!! Get it!

  2. 90 points and even offensive production throughout the line-up, gotta love that. Would have liked to see more defense from the Rebels on a bottom dweller. Good job Rebels!

    Arzent
    http://rebelsunlv.blogspot.com/

  3. More points in the 1st half than some of the games we have played total. Keep up the great play Rebs!

  4. Is the difference right now Oscar's healthy right wrist? He's knocking down shots like he did early and the season, and it's having a positive effect overall on the team. Chace is shooting better, Willis is shooting better...if only the team would stick to driving to the basket and kicking it out to the open shooter instead of passing it around the perimeter, then we would be in really good shape.

    Anyway, glad to see the team play well last night, and see Tyler and Martinez get into the game. I wish Martinez would have shot the ball, but it was a classy move dribbling out the clock.

    Keep up the good work Rebels! I've never lost faith you in.

  5. Just very proud these guys have fought through the tough stretch and are looking good again. Personally I have been critical only because I thought the results were way below what this team deserves based on how hard they play. Say what you want about Krueger but you can rarely criticize his UNLV teams about their effort because they usually play their butts off. Can't wait for March!

  6. Does anyone know how this MWC bracket is looking. I'm assuming UNLV is a 3 spot. The all-session tickets are sold out by the way.

  7. UNLV is a 3 seed, playing 6 seed (looks like UTAH) on Thursday night at 8:30. Winner most likely gets SDSU (2 seed) Friday at 8:30. Championship is Saturday at 4:00.

    Gotta get those tickets early Wade! I'm in section 110! Go Rebs!

  8. I know! I was gonna get tickets super early, and thre were some good ones but had to wait for friends to confirm! I'm in some nosebleeders (section 215) but hey, at least I can fly in and make the tournament!

  9. No way, Rebel Ben. I'm in 110, too! Represent!

  10. Ryan,
    Do you know the details about Brandon Davies being released from BYU? Is this just for the season or for good?

  11. @ Ben, ESPN says dismissed from team. It sounds like not a suspension, but a complete dismissal altogether. Doesn't even say if he can come back at all.