unlv basketball:

Oscar Bellfield and a pair of bench guards lead UNLV to 82-63 victory against Colorado State

Bellfield ties his season-high with 16 points while Reggie Smith and Justin Hawkins each provide a lift during crucial stretches of Wednesday’s home game

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Justin Hawkins stares down Colorado State guard Jesse Carr during their Mountain West Conference game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 82-63.

UNLV vs. Colorado State

KSNV coverage of UNLV Rebels taking on Colorado State, Feb. 1, 2012.

UNLV vs. Colorado State: Feb. 1, 2012

UNLV forward Quintrell Thomas drives in for a layup against Colorado State during their Mountain West Conference game Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 82-63. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

Rebels win again, beating Colorado State

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Las Vegas Sun reporters Taylor Bern and Ray Brewer break down the UNLV basketball team's victory against Colorado State on Feb. 1, 2012.

None of Oscar Bellfield's shots in Wednesday’s 82-63 victory against Colorado State were as important as the ones he buried in overtime last week. Yet, the fact that he hit so many and poured in 16 points — his highest total since Nov. 26 — was a big step forward as UNLV’s senior point guard continues to put a slump behind him.

“Oscar needed it for Oscar,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said. “As his coach, I didn’t need it because I’ve never lost confidence in Oscar. That’s why I continue to play him the minutes that I play him because I know how important he is to our team.”

Bellfield and senior small forward Chace Stanback each scored 16 and combined for nine assists. Sophomore forward Mike Moser and junior guard Anthony Marshall each scored 13 points, with Moser adding eight rebounds and Marshall dishing out seven assists.

The final score wasn’t close but Colorado State (14-7, 3-3) challenged No. 11 UNLV (21-1, 5-1) at several points in the game.

The Rams led by as much as seven in the first half, and they started the second half on an 11-0 run, cutting a 13-point deficit to two.

UNLV’s four leading scorers will get most of the credit for the team’s counters, but two guards off the bench deserve it as much as anybody.

About seven minutes into the first half, sophomore Reggie Smith entered the game with UNLV trailing by seven and made the play that Rice said turned the game around.

“We’re down 19-12, he goes in the game, he makes a dribble-penetration move and he finds Chace Stanback in the corner for a 3,” Rice said. “It seemed like that gave us confidence.”

Starting with that bucket, UNLV outscored Colorado State 36-16 leading into halftime. Considering the Rebels’ second-half prowess, it seemed that that 13-point lead may as well have been 30.

The Rams had other plans, hitting 4-of-8 to open the half and cutting their deficit to 48-46. Less than two minutes into the half, Rice called a timeout.

“We really came out flat in the second half,” junior guard Justin Hawkins said. “When Coach called that timeout he really said it’s time for us to turn it on because we didn’t want to make this a game.”

A couple of minutes later, Rice put Hawkins in the lineup, and for the rest of the game Colorado State shot just 30.4 percent from the field.

Hawkins capped UNLV’s responding 11-0 run with a circus reverse layup that he said he was just trying to put close to the rim. Consider it a reward for the hustle he put into his defense and diving after every loose ball.

“My teammates have really been on me for the past five, six games, saying I’m not really the same person on the defensive end,” Hawkins said. “Especially Mike, who’s like ‘You haven’t really been getting steals, haven’t been getting stops on defense.’ ”

Hawkins’ rose to Moser’s challenge Wednesday. Even though he finished with just two steals, Hawkins affected countless Colorado State possessions.

Hawkins and Smith combined for just nine points, four rebounds and three assists. But in crucial stretches they were as important as anyone on the court.

“Justin and Reggie came off the bench and brought a lot of energy,” Bellfield said. “That turned us up and helped us get on their level.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise in Wednesday’s game was the Rams’ willingness to run. Colorado State attempted seven more shots than its season average and played into UNLV’s strength rather than trying to keep the pace slow.

Moser said the Rebels are pleasantly surprised anytime an opponent tries to keep up with them.

“They pushed it probably just as much as we did,” Moser said. “I feel like if teams want to really do that, then they’re going to be in for a long night.”

Bellfield is familiar with those, a 1-for-12 shooting performance at San Diego State being chief among them.

His role will never be in jeopardy, but it doesn’t hurt to have a 6-for-13 night to put an extra bounce in Bellfield’s step.

“I know Oscar has been a little bit frustrated there for a stretch with the way he shot the ball, but no one put more time in and Oscar remained confident,” Rice said. “He was so big in our success last week and he continued it this week.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. Great job Rebels! Coach Rice is doing an excellent job, I love how he is always so positive with his players, that gets much better results than a load of negativity. I was glad to see Justin and Reggie do so well, Justin seemed to be back to himself, and Reggie is showing his potential. Bellfield has been solid for 4 years, it was only a matter of time before he got his shot back. Keep it up Rebs, tough trip coming up, but play your game and you'll come out with a W. Let's run!

  2. God bless our favorite team!

  3. Noticed Kendall Wallace didn't play at all? Is he injured? Looked like he turned down a chance to go into the game late. Good kid hope all is ok!

  4. Loved the transition game against CSU. An acquaintance from Boston was at the game last night. It was his first time watching the Rebels and, of course, first time at the T&M. He said he has seen alot of college basketball games in his life but none more exciting than the Rebels last night. He wanted to know if all of the Rebel home games are like that (incredibly energized crowd and high level, exciting style of play). Good job Rebels and Rebel fans (with much credit to the Rebelion)! You earned a new fan last night.

  5. two things:

    1. Reggie Smith shows the potential to be a zone buster for the Rebels. He's so quick he can collapse the zone then it's drive and dish or take it to the rack. Good thing to have in addition to Anthony Marshall.

    2. If Hawkins had been able to finish that crazy no look pass from Oscar Bellfield, it would have been on Sportscenter. That pass was a thing of beauty.

  6. Man o' man, this team is extremely quick. I got a little dizzy watching them last night.

  7. Great game. I hate to say it, but I've had some doubts about Bellfield this year. He was an animal on defense. That actually impressed me more than anything. I've also doubted Hawkins in the past...he definitely impressed me, too. His vertical and hang time is really incredible. I love that they played Thomas a bit more last night. He really provides some much needed muscle down low.

    I hate to even mention a negative after last night, but some guys really need to work on their free throws. Massamba, Smith, etc. That's going to eventually cost them a game.

    All in all, a great game. Great energy at Thomas & Mack last night.

  8. Great game, Rebels. Love that intensity on defense.

  9. @ improveLV: I would agree it was a great game and Quintrell played a good game. UNLV's only weakness last night was their free throw shooting. I would agree that eventually, poor free throw shooting may cost them a game. I'm not a big fan of Brice Massamba, but other than his consistent poor free throw shooting he played a decent game last night. Conference play is getting tougher, the Rebels have to look at each team seriously and step up their game. Great Job Rebels... Keep it up...

  10. I would have been pissed if I was Mashour as well....Coach Rice trying to put him in with the scrubs....at a minimum he could have put him in with 3 minutes or so.

    As predicted Mashour will be the first out...feel bad for he guy...hes good. Id play him over Wallace, even though i uderstand the loyalty thing.

  11. CSU just doesen't match up. We will beat them again in Colorado.

  12. Speaking of Shabazz and Bennett, does anyone know when they will make their selections for schools. OR when is the deadline??? When should we expect an answer.

  13. @RebelJedi. I believe the signing deadline is sometime in April/May, after the season is over.

  14. The final signing date is May 14th, but athletes can sign as early as March 1st.

  15. Mashour may be a good guy and maybe even a decent player, but on this team he's a scrub. The talent-level has passed him by. Should he be taking minutes from Moser? or Chase? Perhaps you didn't notice but Wallace didn't play last night either.

    Kruger told him to redshirt but he knew better. Now he refuses to go in? He needs to take his game to a lower-level school where he'll get some minutes. His scholarship could be useful for Coach Rice.

    I don't wish him any ill will. He just needs to transfer for everyone's benefit.