Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012 | 2 a.m.
- Rebels ranked No. 11 in both polls following weekend victory against No. 13 San Diego State
- UNLV’s Moser again honored as the Mountain West Player of the Week
- UNLV can move forward without the burden of losing streak to San Diego State
- Jerry Tarkanian: Mike Moser continues to impress, make a difference
- UNLV makes the key plays down the stretch to hold off San Diego State 65-63
- Instant Analysis: In the wake of an exciting finish, debating whether UNLV should continue series with San Diego State
- 2011-12 UNLV Men's Basketball Schedule
- All UNLV Men's Basketball Coverage
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.