Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 | noon
Updated Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 | 3:19 p.m.
- Justin Hutson’s coaching stint at San Diego State helps prepare Rebels for conference opener
- Don’t expect the good times to stop anytime soon for UNLV basketball
- Some important dates for the remainder of the UNLV season
- These five UNLV players could impact the rest of the season
- UNLV set for Mendenhall Center grand opening on Jan. 19
- Pittsburgh transfer forward Khem Birch commits to UNLV
- UNLV basketball moves up to No. 12 in both the AP and coaches’ polls
- 2011-12 UNLV Men's Basketball Schedule
- All UNLV Men's Basketball Coverage
SAN DIEGO — Brice Massamba tied the game at the free-throw line with 23.6 seconds left, but San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin, playing on a hobbled ankle, attacked the rim and hit the game-winning shot to give the Aztecs a 69-67 victory.
Officials reviewed the play and put 0.3 seconds back on the clock, but UNLV stepped on the line on the inbounds and never got up a shot.
Anthony Marshall led the Rebels with 26 points and also had eight rebounds. Mike Moser recorded nine points and 12 rebounds.
UNLV played one of its worst halves of the season in the first half, but trailed by only five points at the break. And in the second half, as they have all season, the Rebels stormed out of the gates and tied the game, seemingly capturing all the momentum.
But the Rebels' constant substitutions couldn't get the better of SDSU, which played only seven players, using primarily six.
Franklin led the Aztecs with 24 points, followed closely by James Rahon, who scored 22.
The Rebels finished 8-for-27 behind the three-poine line and 11-of-21 at the free-throw line.
The loss drops the Rebels to 16-3 overall and 0-1 in Mountain West play. The Aztecs are 15-2 overall and 1-0 in conference.UNLV trails at San Diego State 60-54 with 6:43 remaining in the game
San Diego State's Jamaal Franklin has the highlight of the game, a behind-the-back transition layup against Brice Massamba that helped the Aztecs take a 60-54 lead with 6:43 remaining.
The Rebels killed their own momentum with a flurry of missed shots, mostly from the outside, and sloppy ball-handling. Neither team is playing great basketball, so it will probably come down to who makes the fewest mistakes down the stretch.
That's good news, in that this game is still very much within the Rebels' grasp. The problem is, they can't really get out of their own way. Besides Anthony Marshall, nobody looks comfortable on offense and the Aztecs are only getting better at their end.UNLV storms out in the second half, ties San Diego State at 41
True to form, UNLV has come out in the second half with complete confidence and tied the game at 41 with 15:43 remaining. Mike Moser and Anthony Marshall are leading the charge, but everyone has the look in their eye like the first half, one of their worst all season, never even happened.
After a 3-pointer, the Rebels worked their offense inside-out and have knocked the Aztecs back on their heels. San Diego State isn't likely to go away easy, but UNLV has all the momentum.UNLV offense struggles in 1st half, but only trails SDSU 34-29 at halftime
Based on their offensive numbers in the first half, UNLV should be figuring out how to just get back in the game. Instead, the Rebels are down only two possessions, 34-29 at San Diego State.
UNLV shot less than 30 percent from the field and the 3-point line, and made only 5-of-10 at the free-throw line. It was altogether ugly. Yet, the Aztecs have committed 10 turnovers, a key to keeping the Rebels in the game.
Really, this isn't a bad situation for UNLV at all. The players know that they're better in the second half, and despite the disastrous 20 minutes they just played, they're only two shots from tying the game or even taking the lead.
To do that, the Rebels need to feed the ball inside, running the offense through Brice Massamba, Quintrell Thomas and Carlos Lopez instead of chucking up so many 3-pointers. If they do that, the defense will collapse and give them better looks around the perimeter.
UNLV has got to start on the inside.San Diego State leads UNLV 16-9 midway through the 1st half
Coach Dave Rice is searching for any lineup combination that will generate an offensive spark. UNLV trails 16-9 with 7:53 to go in the first half.
Every Rebel has been a liability at at least one end of the court and no one can make shots. UNLV is shooting just 13.6 percent from the field and is lucky to be down only seven.
However, the Rebels know that they're a better second-half team, so at this point the gameplan should be to weather the storm and regroup at the break. The only thing they can't afford to do is let the margin get too much bigger.Aztecs jump out to quick 10-3 lead against the Rebels
Brice Massamba's technical foul was the first big mistake UNLV, and the Rebels will have to make sure it's also the last as they've fallen behind 10-3 with 15:27 to go in the first half.
Anthony Marshall had just hit a 3-pointer when Massamba committed a foul on Xavier Thames at the basket, then stood over him and stared. It was dumb and ensured that the San Diego State student section, The Show, is going to be in attack mode for the foreseeable future.
The Rebels certainly don't need to panic. They're getting open shots. The key is to keep the game close until those shots start to fall.UNLV opens conference season with a clash at San Diego State
SAN DIEGO — Today is the day No. 12 UNLV has been waiting for.
The Rebels’ non-conference season was prepared to get them ready for Mountain West play, and that begins with an afternoon clash at No. 22 San Diego State (14-2). It doesn’t get much tougher for conference openers, especially when you consider that UNLV has lost five in a row against the Aztecs and hasn’t won in San Diego since 2008.
But this is a different Rebels team. A battle-tested team. One that knows living up to the conference-title expectations they put on themselves starts today.
San Diego State is a difficult road game even against subpar Aztec squads. But despite losing players to the NBA after the best season in school history, coach Steve Fisher has reloaded quite nicely. Guard Chase Tapley leads the team with 17.3 points per game while guard Jamaal Franklin averages 15.1 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
The frontcourt, an advantage for the Aztecs in recent matchups, now seems to favor the Rebels. Mike Moser is almost impossible to keep off the boards and if the trio of Brice Massamba, Quintrell Thomas and Carlos Lopez show up with the type of game they displayed against Illinois, then UNLV should be able to wear down San Diego State.
Another key to the Rebels’ recent losses to their rival has been poor 3-point shooting, especially from Chace Stanback. Well, that’s now a strength.
UNLV has faced a tougher schedule, proven itself in more hostile environments and shown an ability to win a few different ways.
As long as the Rebels rely on that experience and don’t get too flustered by the crowd, they should start the conference season 1-0.
Bern’s prediction: UNLV is ready for this. The players are sick of losing to their rival and coach Dave Rice will have them ready to change their recent fortunes. The crowd will spark a mini Aztec run midway through the first half, but for the most part this will be all Rebels from the start. UNLV 84, San Diego State 71.