unlv basketball:

UNLV basketball will try to play with a sense of urgency on quick turnaround at TCU

The Rebels don’t feel like they need to change too much to play better on the road, it’s more about enforcing their will sooner

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Sam Morris

UNLV forward Mike Moser reacts after a play during their Mountain West Conference game against San Diego State Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012 at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won the game 65-63.

Rebels in three-way tie

KSNV coverage of UNLV in three-way tie for top spot in Mountain West Conference, Feb. 13, 2012.

Mike Moser believes that the answers to No. 11 UNLV’s struggles on the road are somewhere within its own game. That’s why the Rebels don’t make any big changes or go searching for answers after disappointing road games.

They have the answers. It’s about executing.

“Trust that eventually the game will be there,” Moser said. “If we just keep playing harder and keep playing as a team, all that stuff will work itself out.”

Of course, if the Rebels all played as well as Moser, who just won his fourth Mountain West Player of the Week Award, there probably wouldn’t be any questions to answer.

As it is, the Rebels’ next chance to solve life on the road comes Tuesday night at 4:30 at TCU (14-10, 4-4). The game will be televised on The Mtn.

The quick turnaround from Saturday’s 65-63 victory against San Diego State presents a new challenge. Trouble at the airport presented a familiar one.

UNLV was supposed to take off for Dallas Monday afternoon. However, a fuel leak forced the Rebels’ flight to be canceled, so they spent several hours at the airport before getting on another flight at 8:30 p.m. That puts them on the ground at about 1:30 a.m. local time.

This comes just more than a week after snow and a GPS-less bus driver got them into Wyoming in the wee hours of the morning.

The silver lining, though, is that the extra time at the airport gave the players more time to get familiar with their opponent.

This is the shortest turnaround on the conference schedule after a weekend game. UNLV coach Dave Rice said he usually likes to give his players Sundays off, but this week he didn’t really have a choice.

“We brought them in (Sunday) afternoon and just simply watched film of TCU, just to get their personnel fresh in their minds and try to turn the page on San Diego State,” Rice said.

The Horned Frogs are 4-0 at home in the conference, but those victories are by a combined 15 points against the bottom half of the league. TCU has yet to host the trio of schools — No. 11 UNLV, No. 13 San Diego State and New Mexico — that are tied atop the league with 6-2 records.

“A lot of it is going to come down to our mindset,” TCU coach Jim Christian said. “You don’t beat those great teams unless your kids believe they have a chance to win the game.”

TCU will be playing with nothing to lose and UNLV will play with a target on its back. But one similarity is that both coaches put an emphasis on the first five minutes.

In the first matchup between these teams, a UNLV 101-78 victory on Jan. 18, the Rebels hit their first four 3-point attempts and cruised from there. Christian said he knows TCU can’t survive another onslaught like that.

As for Rice, he’s tired of the Rebels feeling their way through road games, as they did in losses at San Diego State and Wyoming and overtime victories at Boise State and Air Force.

“We will coach them with a greater sense of urgency because we need to play with a greater sense of urgency starting the game, particularly on the defensive end of the floor,” Rice said. “We found ourselves in all those games, but we don’t need to wait until halftime to start guarding.”

The conference road doesn’t get easier from here, with stops at New Mexico and Colorado State still on the docket. If the Rebels are going to look within themselves and figure it out, now is time to do it.

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

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  1. Come out strong, and wear TCU down early. They have to play strong from the 1st whistle.

  2. Averaging only 69 ppg in regulation in conference the last 6 games. Reminding me some of those Kruger teams that used to get into conference and go into prolonged scoring droughts. This team is not a good half court offensive team. The Rebs must play full speed and make other teams play our style. We have the numbers to press and force the tempo. Only way we have a chance to win/tie for 1st in conference is if we go 2-1 on the road against TCU, CSU, and New Mexico. Tough task. Lets get runnin again Rebels.

  3. UNLV needs to come out strong on both offense and defense. They need to push the inside game to open up the 3 point shots. That was working well against SDSU except the 3-pointers were off. The defense needs to work the entire court, be aggressive and force turn overs then follow through down court. TCU will melt after trying to hold both offensive and defensive pressure. The Rebels have depth and stamina (they are in great shape and can out last most teams). Use the bench to our advantage and be aggressive - that should push TCU off their game. Go Rebels!!

  4. I forgot who said this but one of my favorite quotes is,

    Only a fool does something the same but expects a different result.

    That is why it is scary to hear comments like the first two paragraphs of this story.

  5. This is the problem with conference games: come out strong first four minutes, than the guards have an atrocious 10 straight minutes. Bellfield and Marshall play so miserable on the road, it's frustrating to watch games. On the road, we need to go in the paint and feed them on a regular basis. No three point shots at less your chase (historically good against tcu)....it's frustrating watching away games because we are just so bad. Let's just hope we don't lose. 68-64 UNLV my prediction.

  6. I guess that strategy didn't work.

  7. This is what happens when you think "We don't need to change anything, we just need to force our will earlier"......YEAH RIGHT!!!

    It doesn't take a genius to realize that they need to CHANGE the way they prepare and get focused for road games......

    this pi$$e$ me off.