NCAA Tournament:

UNLV’s four seniors end their careers with another early NCAA exit despite big rally

Terrible start puts the Rebels in too big of a hole to come back from as 11-seed Colorado pulls off 68-64 upset

Image

Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Mike Moser, left, and Chace Stanback collect their thoughts in the locker room after being upset by Colorado 68-64 in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament Thursday, March 15, 2012 in Albuquerque.

Updated Thursday, March 15, 2012 | 11:42 p.m.

2012 NCAA Tournament - UNLV vs. Colorado

UNLV forward Quintrell Thomas grabs his own rebound against Colorado during their second round NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game Thursday, March 15, 2012 at The Pit in Albuquerque. Launch slideshow »

UNLV vs. Colorado State

KSNV coverage of UNLV taking on Colorado in New Mexico during the NCAA Tournament, March 15, 2012.

ALBUQUERQUE — Chace Stanback sat in his locker, an NCAA towel draped over his head. He didn’t move for several minutes, the realization that his collegiate career is over slowly settling into his consciousness.

UNLV lost to Colorado 68-64 because the Rebels played awful for most of the game. They came out limp, falling behind by as much as 13 in the first half. Things got worse before they got better, and only a miracle rally gave them any chance.

They never led and lost their first NCAA Tournament game for the third straight year and dropped their fourth in a row overall, a first for the program.

“We came out and played terribly, shot horribly, and they played some of their best basketball,” senior guard Kendall Wallace said.

Stanback, Wallace, Oscar Bellfield and Brice Massamba will never again wear UNLV uniforms.

Stanback took the ball off the dribble more than he had over the last two months, trying to will himself to be the dynamic player he once was. He finished 3-for-12, including 2-for-8 behind the three-point line, and scored eight points in 29 minutes. Bellfield shot 4-for-12, including 2-for-6 from deep, and finished with 10 points, eight assists and no turnovers.

Wallace missed all six of his shots, all 3-pointers, and Massamba scored five points in 18 minutes.

Wallace, a fifth-year senior, is the only one of the group to win a tournament game at UNLV, back in 2008 against Kent State. The Rebels haven’t won a tournament game since, dropping the next game to Kansas then following with first-game exits to Northern Iowa in 2010 and Illinois last year.

“I think I’m more hurtful for our seniors, not getting them out of the first round,” junior guard Anthony Marshall said. “They laid the foundation for us.”

UNLV shot 9-for-36 behind the three-point line (25 percent) and hit 32.4 percent overall from the field. The Rebels were outrebounded 46-33, a key to Colorado’s initial charge. Andre Roberson finished with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

The Buffaloes had nine first-half offensive rebounds, the same total they finished with.

The damage was done, though.

UNLV had been forcing turnovers the entire game, but only during that stretch from about 8 minutes left to 4:19 were they able to turn those into points.

Marshall scored a team-high 15, while junior guard Justin Hawkins had 11. Bellfield and sophomore forward Mike Moser each scored 10.

The rally gave them hope. Everything before that signified that the team’s struggles down the stretch of the season were symptomatic of a problem you can’t fix on the fly. A large chunk of the rotation has the off-season to consider what that is and how they can find it.

The four seniors were left sitting in their lockers, looking either at the ground or off into space toward something unattainable: the past. They don’t need to be ashamed. But every one of them is disappointed.

“We left everything out there,” Wallace said.

UNLV storms back with 12-0 run, now trails Colorado 57-55 with 3:51 to play

Proving just how little I know, UNLV has stormed back behind a full-court press, tight defense and a passion that had been missing the entire game. There's still a ways to go, but UNLV is playing out of its mind right now and deserves recognition for not giving up.

Justin Hawkins hit a 3-pointer that cut the deficit to 57-55 with 3:51 remaining, and Colorado hasn't scored in more than four minutes. UNLV is on a 12-0 run.

Throw everything out the window. This is a game. UNLV has all the momentum, and the pressure is now on the Buffs to come up with an answer. This is what March Madness is all about. Unbelievable.

UNLV down to its final, remote, chances, facing 57-43 deficit with 7:55 to play

If you believe in miracles, then you may believe UNLV still has a chance, down 57-43 with 7:55 remaining. Those who have been watching the game will have a considerably less sunny outlook on the final minutes, as the Rebels appear to be headed for their fourth straight NCAA tournament loss for the first time in program history.

Anthony Marshall is playing hard. Carlos Lopez and Justin Hawkins, too. Really, it's not like the rest of the guys have just slacked off, but Chace Stanback's defensive lapses have been costly, and quick 3s from everyone have further buried UNLV in this mess.

There's little left to do but just hope that UNLV can make a run to get it to single digits. If that happens, the possibility, however minute, exists. Even that is a stretch, and basically it's time to count down the last minutes in UNLV's 2011-12 season.

UNLV grasping for life, down 49-33 to Colorado in the second life

UNLV has attempted, and missed, four more 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half. While the Rebels' shots clanged off the iron, Colorado has hit 3-of-4 behind the three-poine line, including a pair from big man Austin Dufault.

With 14:00 remaining in someone's season, the Rebels trail Colorado 49-33, a beatdown that has UNLV fans planted in their seats.

UNLV finally put the ball inside and got a couple of baskets, but there's so much ground to make up and they're running out of time. The defense needs to force turnovers. The offense has to stop settling. The players need to believe that they're still in this.

Will any of that happen? I don't know. I just know this looks like another disappointing March for UNLV.

UNLV is in serious trouble in Albuquerque, down 11 to Colorado at halftime

UNLV is getting beat in every way, shape and form through 20 minutes. Forget what I said about not panicking and just hope that the Rebels left some magic in the locker room.

Colorado leads 36-25. The Buffaloes are outrebounding the Rebels 27-12, outscoring them 16-6 in the paint and despite committing six more turnovers, they have also scored two more points off turnovers. Colorado guard Askia Booker came off the bench with 12 points and Andre Roberson has eight points and nine rebounds in 19 minutes.

The Rebels don't have anybody with more than six points (Mike Moser) and he needed six shots to get there. Chace Stanback and Brice Massamba each have five points and the team is shooting 27.6 percent from the floor. Their body language is bad, teammates have been yelling each other and slumping on the court. This doesn't look like a team that's going to battle through adversity today.

With that said, there are 20 minutes left for them to figure it out. Colorado is shooting 50 percent from the floor, a pace they shouldn't be able to keep up if UNLV plays a bit more physical. And the Rebels have shown an ability to improve on giving up offensive rebounds (nine so far) as the game goes on. That's where it has to start, because second-chance points will only push Colorado's lead further.

UNLV also needs to take fewer 3s (4-for-16) and make more free throws (5-for-11). That's an awfully long list, and more than a few bounces would have to go their way to make it happen.

It's not impossible, but UNLV can't wait even a minute to change things up in the second half. It's now or never for this season.

UNLV getting dominated on the glass and trailing Colorado 19-10

UNLV coach Dave Rice has already trotted out some very different lineups, trying to find a spark that will ignite UNLV's stagnant attack midway through the first half.

Kendall Wallace, Chace Stanback and Carlos Lopez were all out there together, and now all three are watching from the bench as Reggie Smith has come into the game for the first time. It hasn't done much to correct UNLV's woes as the Rebels trail Colorado 19-10 with 7:29 left in the first half.

Mike Moser hit a 3, but Anthony Marshall is 1-for-5 and Stanback is 0-4 as UNLV's shot selection has deteriorated a bit in the last stretch. Overall they're shooting 20 percent while the Buffaloes are at 42 percent. The Rebels have forced five turnovers but they haven't really turned into run-outs, which would give them the easy buckets they need to get a roll.

Their biggest problem right now, though, is on the glass. Colorado leads rebounding 20-8, a staggering number that will destroy UNLV's chances if it keeps up.

UNLV's defense needs to be more physical after falling in a 14-4 hole

Any panic you're feeling is premature.

UNLV hasn't stormed out of the gates as they would have liked, but the offense is actually playing well — getting open shots within the offense — and just hasn't been able to get their good looks to fall. Their defense is another story.

Carlon Brown, who crushed the Rebels during his time at Utah, is off to a good start, and Andre Roberson is winning his battle against Mike Moser so far as Colorado leads 14-4 with 13:20 left in the first half.

The Rebels have struggled a bit when attacking the rim and that's got to change. They also need to get more physical on defense, bodying up their man before he can get into position and get where he's trying to go on the court.

There's still a lot of basketball left, but for a team that has been fading in the second half, this isn't the kind of start UNLV fans needed to see.

UNLV's season comes down to tonight's game against Colorado

ALBUQUERQUE — This is it.

The bitterness of two straight first-game exits. The ups and downs of a season that included a win against North Carolina and no road victories in the month of February. The challenges of having success as a first-year coach.

All of those factors have shaped and molded UNLV into the team that will take the court tonight at around 7:21 p.m. for a second-round game against Colorado.

A victory would be the first UNLV win in an NCAA Tournament for all but one Rebel (Kendall Wallace). It would be a validation of what UNLV has done this season in order to earn a 6 seed, the highest since the 1990-91 season.

Conversely, a loss would indicate the Rebels are much closer to the team that got blown out by New Mexico in this same arena nearly a month ago than the one that climbed as high as No. 11 in the AP poll.

That can be a very frustrating thing for a coach and a team that have worked all year, and even before that, to come to terms with. An entire year’s legacy boiled down to how you perform against one particular team on one particular night.

That’s something UNLV coach Dave Rice understands but doesn’t necessarily agree with. It’s a lot harder to win over an extended stretch, like a 14-game conference schedule, than it is in a single-elimination tournament where anything can happen. But that’s the hand college coaches are dealt, and tonight it’s Rice’s turn to try his luck.

The draw is good: Colorado needed four victories in four nights just to get here, a stretch that could leave their legs a bit wobbly.

The location is good: UNLV has played here before, and with the local fans on their side instead of against them the environment should be more to their liking.

The biggest question that remains is just how much the fading play down the stretch, especially in high-altitude environments, will affect UNLV going forward. Do they have enough left in the tank to not only get a lead, but actually keep it?

Last year’s blowout loss to Illinois saw UNLV get blitzed from the opening tip. I expect the Rebels to be ready to go this time around, but can that translate to the second half, when they’ve allowed teams to chip away at leads?

Colorado is not an experience tournament team, so UNLV’s lack of postseason success doesn’t mean as much as it would if they were playing a March Madness regular. In the end, this is going to come down to the same type of execution questions that UNLV has been dealing with since February.

The Rebels are the more talented team, and the excitement of this moment should help them get out and running to a first-half lead. What happens then will determine not only this game, but how far UNLV is likely to go in the tournament.

Bern’s prediction: The Rebels will, at some point, get popped in the mouth. The Buffaloes were snubbed from last year’s tournament and needed a miracle run to make it this year. They’re out to prove they belong and they don’t particularly care who gets in their way. That mentality may serve them well against a team that has wilted under pressure at times, but Colorado is not going to have enough firepower to take down the Rebels.

Mike Moser and Oscar Bellfield will have stellar games, and if Chace Stanback is hitting shots this one may not even be close. That’s a big if, though, and I think Colorado will be within shouting distance with five minutes to go. But it won’t get any closer than that. UNLV 71, Colorado 63.

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

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 123 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy.

  1. I'm about to puke - seriously.

  2. Unless UNLV gets on the stick......this will be their 3rd first game exit. No defense, all outside shots, not gonna win that way.....

  3. Has anyone noticed that we don't seem to have anyone who can actually finish inside? We get there (at least when we are not gunning away), but very seldom finish. Moser perhaps the worst. He gets hustle points and follows on the break, but he has no go-to shot when he drives. Marshall no better.

  4. Any by the way, Rebels, it is a 35-second clock, not a 28-second clock. Play defense until the very end.

  5. At least we don't have to worry about blowing a big lead :)

  6. Return of the Rebels my ass! Look more like the Walking Rebels to me. Better yet, the Heartless Rebels! If they don't pull their heads out of their asses quick this is going to be a repeat of last year except instead of getting blown out by a team that was comparable to us we are going to get blown out by a worse team. Time for Dave Rice to show if he can really coach.

  7. This team has really changed since the beginning of the year. Moser needs to quit camping on the 3pt stripe and hit the boards. Third year in a row that we look like we don't belong.

  8. This team has gotten worse since the begining of the year. Never seen a team regress as much as this one.

  9. Cant waig til massamba grads. Its like posting up on a soft pillow.

  10. No. Its like posting up air

  11. We're in a zone AND getting beat up and down the court?!!? What team am I watching?

  12. Ant stand it. Switching to house wives of orange county

  13. Work on free throws! U have all summer

  14. The Rebels did not deserve to be in the tournament, they were falling apart as the season went on. They are being outplayed in every way. They have no inside game, can't hit free throws. I'm just glad after the rebels lose tonight, that I don't have to see that worthless Brice Massamba next year. Just plain shameful.

  15. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. WTF...

  17. Bad basketball. Way too many 3's, way too little hustle. CU wants it more. We are playing soft. The fresh group of Rice recruits are looking pretty good right about now. Need some guys who play with heart instead of wilting under pressure.

  18. The only thing that's uglier than that 1st half is Baylor's uniforms.

  19. Clearly UNLV has chosen not to show up for the game. Maybe they can try and play basketball in the second half. I am not sure what game they were playing in the first half. Disturbing. I thought that after the back half of this season they could try and put together 40 minutes of basketball. I am begining to wonder if the first half of the season was the Kruger Rebels and what we are seeing now is the Rice Rebels.

    Come on Rebels get in the game and prove me wrong.

    Go Rebels!!!!!!!!!

  20. No half court offense. Live n die by the 3. Rebs look like they want to go home already from the tunnel.

  21. No resilliance. Foul the rebs and they will not make the free points

  22. Did they seriously play the whole season to get to the NCAA tournament so the could chuck up wild 3's and stand flat-footed on defense? SERIOUSLY?!? what a joke! What is the NCAA record for missed 3's in a game? We own it after tonight!

  23. Game over folks.

  24. GTFO...I'M DONE

  25. Ok. Not Rice's recruits . Give him we two years and see what happens.

  26. May not be Rice's recruits but he is still the coach. He's had a year to work with these kids now and get them ready. His inexperience has shown this year. He hasn't been able to get this team to improve all year on the road, he is bad at making in game adjustments, and when things start going wrong for this team he doesn't know how to settle them down and get them back in to the game. It's like as soon as the other team starts making some baskets this team collapses and Rice has no answer for it.

  27. I am tired of this garbage. Coach Rice has created a lazy team. The team hardly plays defense and settles for 3's on offense. We don't have the players to shoot the lights out. This team is suited to play defense and cause havoc. I would much prefer Coach Kruger. This team is mentally WEAK!

  28. What happened to UNLV playing pressure defense? Sorry but you are down and waiting for Colorado to cool off - of course their shots are mostly all coming from inside the paint vs. UNLV behind the 3 point line all night. If shooting 3 pointers was suppose to open up the lane for easy shots it just does not happen when they are not falling. Stanbeck a ghost just like in the New Mexico game. The Marquette recruit - what is really bringing to the table? How many one shots and out? How many dumb fouls? This is not the signs of a really well coached team - sad to say.

  29. Should have hired Theus. RICE SUCKS

  30. wow.....what a coaching job the second half of the season! seriously, are there major issues that the media (that's be you guys) has failed to unearth? talk about underachieving...

  31. Well these players made Vegas look pathetic again. I thought something was going to change post season, but it would have been better if we just stayed out of the NCAA tournament. No heart and I am now ready for the new recruits to see if this is Rices fault or just pathetic players. Terrible, I am very disappointed as a fan. Good night everyone and Rebels you just idk.

  32. Coach Rice didn't "create a lazy team" - he inherited one. From your buddy Coach Kruger, the one single handedly responsible for a team that rises to the middle. Why don't some of you get out there, earn a degree, and play 40 minutes of basketball?

    Rebels!

  33. Dave - you dont have Jimmer! You should at least have a team hitting their free throws and with the ability to cut into the lead - the team goes bombing from the outside instead of taking easier shots? Colorado got the lead by taking high percentage shots and because UNLV has never solved this problem with half court basketball. Too bad, because Baylor plays down to their competition and is ripe to be beat after watching them today. BYU showed more heart the other night. Another missed free throw.

  34. I still feel like we're a mid-major team. Nothing like having your worst game of the year in the first round.
    HoosierBoy - agreed, they were falling apart towards the end of the year and never got back in rhythm.

  35. The CU players also earn degrees and play basketball.

  36. But do you?

  37. Wow, we are 5 for 26 from the 3 pt line but somehow we keep shooting them.

  38. Wish we never beat North Carolina. !! Katin and Shabazz, I hope u can shoot on the road and are mentally tough.

  39. It isn't over until it's over.

  40. Thank god for O

  41. Defense picks up and here comes the UNLV run. Just shoot high percentage shots! Please!

  42. Uh oh, here come the rebels. Let's just hope it isn't too little too late. 5 min to go, 5 pts -- its anyone's game. Lets go rebels!

  43. Rebs changed system and instead of up 20, be down 20.

  44. Where the haters at now?

  45. Omg! F yeah! Confidence

  46. Riza. The Rebs should never be in this situation. We had so many turnovers and did not convert on most of them

  47. CONVERT ON THE TURNOVERS!

  48. Btw. UNR SUKS!

  49. Who is "Riza"?

    #spelllcheck

  50. eek -- losing momentum and jacking up bad shots. I'm so nervous I could puke.

  51. Offense suks. Set proper picks!

  52. slip slidin' away ...

  53. slip slidin' away ...

  54. Birch you better become the eraser

  55. Good job Stanback. 2-11 in your last game as a Rebel. Similar to Tre'von Willis' last game in the tournament last year. What a way to choke to finish out the season. Boo hoo, his knee hurt. Hit the road Stanback, you won't be missed. You too Massamba. Now if we could just get rid of the rest of the Kruger recruits maybe this team could dig their way out of mediocrity.

  56. What is up with Wallace tonight. Cold as ice.

  57. Wallace? Tonight? All season he was not consistent

  58. Wallace is cold every night. He makes one or two 3 pointers in a game and everybody thinks he's Regiie Miller.

  59. Where you at James P Reza? Let's hear you spin this loss homer!

  60. It is amazing what the shadow of Internet anonymity will embolden people to say that they would never otherwise.

    Nice season, Rebels. Looking forward to next year!

  61. Dammit UNLV, WTF!!!

  62. Well, oh well

  63. At least we put up a fight at the end. Disappointed that we didn't play the entire game with that kind of fire. As exciting as that comeback was, it is fitting that we lost--we didn't deserve to win that game. Disapppointing end to a disappointing second half of the season. Now we wait 7.5 months to start the torture all over again. Hopefully next year we will play some better D, have some better shooters, and will play with a bit more heart and passion.

  64. Reza is going to go cry himself to sleep on his UNLV pillow right next to his picture of Dave Rice on his nightstand.

  65. $##$^^%#$#@$%@^!!!!!

    Offensive Rebounds. Learn it, live it, love it!!!!

  66. I don't care...If these are Lon's kids...Dave's kids...or even JERRY'S kids...We should have won this game. Moving on ...NEXT YEAR!!!GO REBS!!!

  67. Go Rebels! Great season!

  68. I agree, Wallace isn't great, but as you said, he usually at least hits 1 or 2 threes. He had several open looks tonight and wasn't close on any of them.

  69. Not to mention Defensive Rebounds, Half Court Offense. Learn it, live it, love it!!!!

  70. A great push at the end but way to little to late. Bad coaching, Rice should have grabbed control of his team and stopped the 3 pt turnovers and started the full press much sooner. UNLV had a chance to bring Las Vegas back on board the university and they blew it. A month ago after their loss to TCU I said they would be fourth in the Mt. West (OK so I was off by one) and a one and out in the NCAA tournament (right on that one). Rice better regroup and hope his recruits for next year can pick this team up and play 40 minutes of backetball.

    Go Rebels - next year.

  71. Well there went our chances of Bennett or Shabazz, oh well another disappointing second season.

  72. Thank you, Coaches Rice and Augmon, for doing great things with a squad hampered by Kruger's "rise to the middle" mentality. Looking forward to next year!

    Re-bels!

  73. Truth is Moser is more interested in shooting 3's than rebounding or defense anymore. His two missed 3's set the tone for the hole game. They would have been better without him.

  74. Time for all the haters to brag about how right they were that we suck. I would rather be optimistic, support out players, and think we are going to do well and then be disappointed than to always bad mouth our guys and revel in our team's defeat. It is one thing to be critical, it is another to be a hater.

  75. Kendall Wallace officially a BUM! 0-8 2pt FG and 0-8 3pt FG???!!! and you call that our shooter? geez!

    Stanback, Massamba and Bellfield just wasted their senior years. This team really showed how mentally weak they are. I don't know how the recruits view UNLV now but they must be thinking twice coming over here.

  76. Exactly, J Dinz. And those haters are usually hiding behind pseudonyms. If UNLV would have won tonight's game by one, they would have said it should have been 10. And if UNLV would have won by 10, they would have demanded 20. Nothing makes miserable people happy except rolling in the mud.

  77. I agree, Moser needs to work on developing his inside game. Or if it does exist, he needs to put it on display more. It is a bonus that he can hit threes, but as the year wore on he seemed to live on the three point line. All of our guys need to spend a couple of hours every day over the summer shooting free throws. Of course there are many "ifs" that could have changed the game, but missing free throws is like giving free points away.

  78. Shabazz- if u want to challenge yourself. Go to UNLV and prove u are mentally tough. Going to UK is the easy rout

  79. I think Massamba gets ragged on too much. Is he an elite interior player? Of course not. He did improve each year he was here though, and this year he showed that if given the ball when posting up, he was pretty efficient at converting (60+% fg percentage, which I think the announcers said was 2nd in the nation). I agree with the critics who say that going to him in the post at the end of games is not good because he is a terrible free throw shooter. And yes, for his size, his rebounding is less than stellar. I think he was underutilized though on the offensive end all year. We relied way too much on threes all year, and without a consistent shooter, it came back to bite us one too many times.

  80. LMAO @ the homers...

    The realists didn't get sucked into the hype of an inexperienced Coach. I hope we do the right thing and correct it before it's too late...get rid of him and find a real coach. I can't wait to hear his post game excuses....and Ray Brewer and Taylor Bern soften the blow by writing a fluff piece "looking forward to next year" and the "6 seed" and the Rebels "return to prominence"....blah blah blah

    We proved nothing....we finished the same way we finished last season. And if I hear "It's Lon's recruits" one more time....well, it's Lon's recruits that beat Carolina and Lon's recruits that earned the #6 seed...but for some reason only the positive things get linked to Rice, but when we lose...it's Kruger's fault....LMFAO That's the insanity of a homer...

  81. Still waiting for all those commenters who were talking about getting revenge on Duke to admit they were talking about football, not basketball. Y'all really thought you were going deep into the second week, didn't ya?

  82. LIVENGOOD... YOU better take good look at this, because I'm taking a good look at my Foundation Donations.

  83. Weird that when we ran a full court press we got turnovers and made a run... but running our half court defense was practically worthless. When will we learn?

  84. I had the Rebels going to the Sweet 16 and losing to Duke. I'm not ashamed of that pick. Disappointed? Yes, but not ashamed.

    Rice needs to control the 3-point shots and get more offensive rebounds. That's my opinion.

  85. One thing I don't understand about our team this year is how we regressed on defense. As many people point out, these are Kruger's guys, and when playing Kruger ball we were very defensively sound. Coming from Tark's system, Coach Rice knows that the up-tempo system is predicated on pressure defense, getting turnovers, etc., and with Coach Augmon on the bench as well, I would have thought our D would either stay the same as under Kruger or improve, not regress.

  86. The city wants to buy into this team being back, anyone not fully bought in gets to hear silly songs, how the #1 recruit in the Nation should play for UNLV, how this team who could not win on the road should be taken as seriously as a true #6 seed. Ranked higher than Gonzaga, Kansas State and Florida - they are not there yet. Everyone, haters even - actually would like to drink the kool aid. UNLV shoots 26% from the 3 point line - they take 23 more shots than Colorado! Hate on Seth Davis, but the UNLV shot selection was horrible. Moser gets a steal is 3 feet from the basket and decides to kick it out to a fallen down Bellfield at the 3 point line? They are not the Phoenix Suns! Power up and take the deuce Moser! People want to believe in this team - but didn't Dave Rice seem more vocal and animated as an Assistant Coach last year at BYU - while as a Head Coach -no emotion? I understand keeping your cool, but when you blow through 3 timeouts in the first 5 minutes of the 2nd Half - barking out some instructions might be a better tact next year. People want to believe, but UNLV has to earn it and be objective when it looks back on a loss like tonite. A game where the door was left open for them to come back but past mistakes were too much.

  87. I knew UNLV was a one and done team. I can't believe many of you were actually talking about UNLV being an elite 8 or final four team, come on... Wake Up out of that rebel fantasy dream you were in. Go Hoosiers.... and Go Lobos.

  88. When you start the year 16-2 with a win over the #1 team in the nation, I wouldn't say that expecting us to contend for a conference title and make some sort of run in the NCAA tourney is "getting sucked into the hype of an inexperienced coach." At the beginning of the year no one expected much from this team, but finishing the non-conference part of the schedule as strongly as we did raised the bar for what was to be expected the rest of the year. And if anyone thinks that canning Coach Rice after 1 year in which we won 25 games is going to make us better, I would whole heartedly disagree with you.

  89. I don't know what the official line on this game was, but at least seeding wise we should have been favored. Yet announcers in the post game show just said that VCU over Wichita State was the only upset of the day.

  90. Okay, "Anthony Sinatra," I'll bite:

    The problem is Kruger's recruits. They do a great job when they are leading, but fall apart when they fall behind. They rise to the middle and have a tough time handling a gut check. They can't put together 30 solid minutes of team ball, let alone 40. And I'm not talking just about this season, I'm talking about every season Kruger was at UNLV.

    That Rice and Augmon were able to accomplish what they did this season was impressive -- especially since many of the Kruger recruits don't "get" Runnin' Rebel Basketball the way they need to, having been indoctrinated under another coach who, while he may have taught methodical, slow burn defense, did not teach intense, 90-foot pressure defense or fast-break basketball. Part of what's missing is mental toughness, part of it is physical conditioning, neither of which results from Kruger's brand of basketball.

    Augmon said it himself in an interview with Seven: The NCAA destroyed a college hoops dynasty at UNLV. It's been a long road back, and these guys deserve a chance to reinvent themselves and the team. When switching systems, there will always be a transition period. If this was UNLV's "sacrificed season" in order to get back to a Runnin' Rebel team, then I'd say it was a nice sacrifice.

  91. "James Reza"...what exactly did they (Rice/Augmon) "accomplish" this year? We finished with virtually the same record as last year....and one and done in the Tourney...so, we beat a few Top 25 teams, we did last year and the year before too...more of the same. Again, what did we accomplish? "Bringing back the Runnin' Rebels?"...who cares about "Runnin' Rebels" style basketball, I want to win! If we played a slow, half-court game and won a championship, I wouldn't care!

    You can continue with the "Kruger recruits" excuse...but you only reap praise on Rice when the "Kruger recruits" win?!....but when they lose, they're Kruger's fault?!

    That's the funny thing about homer arguments...you can't see straight, therefore it's everyone else's fault except the people who are actually responsible. The same homers that are crucifying Kruger today were viciously defending him a year ago...if he didn't bolt for a greener pasture, you'd still be defending him. So it's a joke that he's now the problem...jeez, be consistent in your arguments.

    Instead of demanding the best, you settle for less and hope that a rookie coach that can't motivate players. Rice was a pansy...as pointed out by others besides me, he has no control of the game...blowing timeouts early in a critical 2nd half...I don't make this up, it's reality! We've handed our program over to an unproven guy...it's a fact, not an opinion!

    LMAO

  92. Reza you mention Krueger's recruits but fail to mention Rice's team & mental toughness. The team takes the identity of the head coach. Maybe Rice is soft & mentally weak. How can a team have 23 more shots than the other & still lose? Maybe they didn't shoot enough 3's.

  93. I don't think any of the "homers" have only credited Rice and blamed Kruger. Coach Rice can definitely make some better in game adjustments, put a little more fire under out guys rear ends, and he himself can afford to show a little more emotion and passion on the sidelines. I understand that his personality is more laid back, but saying he needs to get more animated doesn't mean he has to turn adopt the maniacal scowl of K-State's Frank Martin. Something in between would be perfectly fine.

    I also don't think it is "insanity" to acknowledge that these are Kruger's recruits. Yes, it was Kruger's recruits who beat UNC and got a #6 seed, but it was also Kruger's recruits playing in a brand new system. They seemed to pick it up much faster than we all expected, and we had some unexpected early season success. But just because they picked up the system doesn't mean they were able to run it to perfection. Our mental toughness I think was our real undoing this year. Once we experienced some adversity and our road woes got into our heads, our guys didn't seem able to push past it. Both within games and over the course of the second half of the season, we had some real mental breakdowns / roadblocks that I believe kept us from reaching our true potential.

    For the haters, I don't think it would matter who our coach is. Kruger was not good enough. Rice is not good enough. If Reggie Theus had gotten the job and we finished exactly the way we did, Theus would not be good enough. No team wins it all every year. Rebuilding takes time, and I believe we are on the right track. Coach Rice will get better, our players will improve, and our program will continue to improve. We all just need to have a little patience.

  94. Patience?! LMAO...we had a golden opportunity to go out and find an experienced coach...instead, we hand the keys over to a rookie coach. Do I want to deal with his growing pains? Hell no!

    We've been jacking around for too long....it's always good to recognize a mistake early on and correct it before it becomes a bigger problem. We made a mistake with Rice...can him. I wasn't a Theus supporter either...we need a big name. Someone with pedigree, experience, and the ability to recruit. I don't want a coach who can't even land his brother's top player....LMFAO!!! Again, that's truth, not opinion....

  95. The Rebel Athletic Fund may have accomplished one of the worst strategic and timing moves ever. On the day this pathetic performance was given, a letter arrives telling us season ticket holders that not only are the season ticket prices being raised again but now we have to pay extra just to keep the seats we've had for years. Nice planning. Did it ever occur to someone that maybe it'd be better to wait a couple of weeks before the inevitable loss (whatever round it was to come) and let the fan frustration die down first?

  96. @Sinatra: all you want to do is win? I think that is what we all want. I think the "homers" just realize that rebuilding takes time and that we can't win it all every year. We also don't consider any outcome other than a championship a failure.

    Personally, I think a 26 win season is pretty decent for Rice's first year. Yes, this season mirrored our last few, so if Kruger was still our coach I would say more criticism would be in order because we aren't progressing. But for a new coach taking over without any of his players, to match the achievements of the past few years, I think that is pretty good. Will I expect more from next year's team? Absolutely. But even if we don't win a national championship next year, I won't consider the season a failure. Winning it all is the final goal, but no one can win it all every year. I just want us to be a perennial contender each year, and I am confident that Coach Rice is the right guy for the job and that he has us on the right track.

  97. Sinatra, we're broke. UNLV can't afford to pay a coach.

  98. "who cares about "Runnin' Rebels" style basketball"

    A lot of people do. As a fan of the "style" since I started watching the Rebels (yup, in 1976 - now attack me for saying it), I'm not interested in slow, methodical paint-drying basketball.

    "be consistent in your arguments"

    It takes very little effort (although evidently more than you are willing to expend) to look at my comment history and see that I was never a Kruger supporter. My arguments are wholly consistent. I was happy to see him go. If we can keep him around for season after season, then it's pretty weak to call for Rice's head after one (winning) season.

    Thanks for all your opinions, though.

  99. ~golf clap~ Good for you Dinz....I'm glad you're satisfied with Rice, his coaching/recruiting abilities, and our mediocre finish. Even though winning it all every year is impossible, we should demand it from our coaches and not settle for anything less...or in Rice's case the lackadaisical attitude when we started our road slump, by the time he realized it was serious it was too late...why? Because he's inexperienced!

    Watching a coach get experienced is for mediocre/mid-level teams...if we want to be a big-time program, we better start demanding immediate results and hold our coaches accountable. And winning a National Championship over 20 yrs ago as a benchwarmer does not mean you'll make a good coach....LMAO

  100. Reza - You can have your Runnin' Rebels style basketball and worthless coach....I'd rather have championships. I could care less how long you've been watching the Rebels....age doesn't matter to me. I graduated from UNLV and suffered through many awful teams....I wasn't lucky enough to attend during any of the great years. That's where my passion for winning comes from...I want to start a new dynasty, not hold on to the past...it's time to move forward and win now...not years from now when we figure out Rice was wrong for the program and go out and find a real coach....LMAO

  101. J Dinz, you made several perfectly reasonable points that, of course, go unaddressed. For some people, nothing short of a zero-loss season spells success. Makes me wonder what the hidden agenda of some commenters might be.

  102. Anyone who ends every post with "LMAO" deserves no more time. Enjoy your anger, dude.

  103. Reza/Dinz - Ask the '91 team if they were satisfied with their perfect record during the season....ask them if they were satisfied with their deep run in the NCAA tourney....ask them if they wish they could go back and play that last game all over again....

    ...you know that gut-wrenching feeling they have when you bring that up? That's what we should be feeling right now....one of disappointment...one of "how did we let this opportunity slip out of our hands"....

    ...not "Hey, we exceeded expectations this year!"...."Not bad for a rookie coach!"..."Hey, Runnin' Rebels style basketball is back!"..."We didn't do too bad for learning a new system"..."Hey, we were ranked in the Top 25 a lot this year"....LMFAO

  104. I can't help if you guys make me laugh Reza...I get mad at the coach and players...you're not playing on the court. If you mad a difference, I wouldn't laugh at you...

  105. I would say Rice's recruiting has been pretty successful thus far. Yes, I know we haven't seen any of them play yet, but he has at least landed more high-quality recruits than Kruger ever did.

    Would it have been great to hire an elite coach with experience? Of course. But I don't remember any elite coaches being available last year or any who seemed interested in the UNLV job, especially given the university's financial situation.

    And okay, so you weren't a fan of Theus either. He had head coaching experience though. How experienced does your guy have to be? Bruce Webber is available. He took Illinois to the national championship game and has had several winning seasons. Yet they imploded worse than UNLV did this year. Coach Calhoun has 3 championships and yet they had a similar second half swoon to their season. I'm sure neither of them would be good enough for you either.

    Coach Rice is who we have now, and rather than calling for his head, I prefer to support him and hope that his recruits are as good as expected, that his system will run better next year and in years to follow, and yes, that he will learn from this season and improve as a coach.

    Also, I do think the system matters. Wisconsin is a very good basketball team, but they are boring as hell to watch. I think trying to restore "runnin' rebel" basketball is a good thing--it is exciting to watch, and when played well, is a pretty effective method of winning games. While we may disagree on how to get there, we all want UNLV to be successful. I also would like us to be fun to watch. I think the up-tempo style will accomplish both. And I am willing to accept the ups and downs of this season and look forward to what lies ahead.

  106. I would take Webber or Calhoun in a second over Rice...I think you're crazy if you think otherwise. As far as boring basketball....I'd rather win boring than lose interesting...

  107. @Sinatra: I think everyone on here is disappointed. You act like those of us who try to take some positives out of this season wanted us to lose this game. We all want UNLV to win, and we are all disappointed that we lost. I have just as much passion as you do for UNLV basketball. It is fine to be critical, but if I were to consider anything less than perfection a failure, I think I would feel pretty miserable most of the time.

  108. I'm not saying Webber or Calhoun are bad coaches. Just that even "experienced," "winning" coaches don't win all the time.

    Again, I just think your definition of winning is too rigid and unrealistic. I would of course take winning a championship with a boring style over losing with an interesting style, but if either style is going to give you a chance, I would go with the interesting style, for its at least fun to watch. Part of the reason we love sports (or at least the reason I love it) is the experience, not just the final outcome. I doubt Wisconsin will win it all this year, so to you their season will be a failure as well. So when choosing between two "losers" like UNLV or Wisconsin, I would rather watch an up-tempo UNLV team win 25+ games than a mind-numbing Wisconsin team win 25+ games.

  109. Well it has been fun, but I do have a life outside of the Sun's message boards, so I am going to go live it--disappointed that our guys lost tonight, but grateful for an exciting (and yes, at times, frustrating) year, and hopeful that next year's squad will be even better.

  110. Considering.....CU shot 45% from the field vs 32% for the Rebels, 58% from 3 vs 25% for the Rebels, and 63% from the line vs 52% for the Rebels. Plus UNLV forced 23 TOs compared to CU's 8 and had 14 steals vs CU's 4. UNLV took 71 shots vs 48 for CU. Both teams had 8 off rebounds.

    And some morons on here are calling for Rice's head? Newsflash: Rice cant shoot the ball for them. Players have to make plays. We took 23 more shots than they did and forced 15 more TOs than they did...and still lost. That isnt coaching...the vast majority of our shots werent forced or bad shots, they just werent falling.

    CU's post defense is/has been excellent all yr. So going in you knew they'd rebound well and protect the rim from penetration....which they did. That leaves shooting the perimeter shot. We had to shoot it well to beat them. It's Rice's job to generate those possessions & shots....which his off & def systems did...and its the players job to execute & produce...which they didnt. Hence the final score. This one's on the players....not the coaching staff.

  111. Sinatra711, Reza loves to point out what year he became a Rebel fan. This is not the first time he has done it. He just likes to prove how much of a bigger Rebel fan he is than everyone else because he's been a fan since 1976.

  112. @Sinatra711 sounds like you should be a badger fan then.

    I agree with Reza, anyone who ends 9/10 posts with "LMAO" has lost any credibility in their arguments they might have had.

    Before we slay Rice, let him have a year with HIS recruits. Yes, his inexperience showed down the stretch this year. That being said... he wasn't HORRIBLE, he just wasn't GREAT.

    When we ran the press, we were good (all 15 minutes of it). When we didn't we couldn't stop anyone. Our offensive sets were HORRID.

    Looking back, I'm glad I wasn't able to make the drive to NM to watch the rebels do nothing for 25 minutes.

  113. @Matt Philips - Anyone who's willing to hand over our program to an inexperienced coach and make excuses for his bad management of games....not just the last one, but all year long. And support of someone who can't even land his brother's top player....had no credibility in my book. But what does that mean? Your credibility or my credibility doesn't win championships....that's why I think the homer way is funny and why I LMFAO at you guys...

    Who cares what other people think?! It's the coaches & players who should be called out for their terrible performance! But somehow you've lost that in your mind....I don't want to waste any more time with HIS recruits...just to watch him blow games as he "learns" how to be a head coach.

  114. James Reza. My name is Larry Ramsey and you are a fool. Maybe you should go anonymous because you are completely blinded by your false "loyalty." Ignoring the faults and failing to identify the serious need for improvement DOES NOT MAKE YOU A TRUE FAN!

    There is never an excuse for the way that Colorado drove right up the middle of the Rebel defense time after time. We made a mediocre team from a horrible conference look like a threat to win it all.

    I could not give a care in the world about our comeback. Same "comeback" as last year against Illinois. Same result. We lose in the first round and watch everyone else move on.

    Can someone please tell Moser that he can officially stop reading his press clippings?

    Another player that falls apart in their senior season. Wink Adams, Tre Willis, now Chace. So much for senior leadership.

  115. Not wanting to be entirely negative, just greatly disappointed. That being said:

    Dave Rice. I still am happy you are here. I think there is great potential with what you and the staff bring to the table.

    Hopefully next year's group brings us some pure scoring ability (aka Katin).

    Get Moser in the gym all summer to work on his inside finishing and post-up ability.

    With all due respect, please work on your in-game adjustments as well, especially defensively. When you see something is not working, toss in a zone briefly, mix it up, do something to break up the momentum. The switching man-to-man left much to be desired in key moments. If someone slacks off defensively, put their butt on the bench and put someone who is hungry in there.

  116. Give the Rebel credit, they played over their ability the entire season. Many of us did not expect the Rebel to do as well as they did this season. The Rebel had a hard schedule, they were worn down in end.

    What is telling, the Rebel in the past 6 years seem to expect losing in game they should win. It seems the UNLV coaches (Kuger included) lack the "extra" the players need in situations the players cannot see, but the coaches should see. It's call making adjustments during the game. You know, like stopping a player that beating you from the outside. A player you can stop, but for so reason the Rebels never make obvious adjustments. Remember the Wichita State game, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and several other games if you followed Rebel basketball this season.

    High hopes, then the huge let down. Rice and Company need to establish in the next team and in themselves, a confidence winning. If you were watching this Rebel team and the coaches this season, you saw "I quit" in this team when they were challenged. If we saw it, the opposing coaches saw it, and they went after the Rebels knowing they would not respond. In many games the other coaches were smiling knowning all that is needed is to push the Rebels several times and they would break.

    Rice and Company will not get quality recruits to come to UNLV if a recruits see what many of us see, that basketball at UNLV is mediocre and losing is acceptable. UNLV will attract players with the same mindset, that losing when you should be winning is acceptable in basketball UNLV. Hard assessment, but actions speak volumes on court, and on the bench.

  117. Alright Coach Rice, I hope this season was a wakeup call. I never believed that you were frustrated or motivated whenever I heard you speak, but that could simply be your media personality.

    Off season...PLEASE focus on mastering the basics. Free throws. Don't let the guys leave practice until they've all hit 10 (or even 20!) in a row. Rebounding. It's extremely frustrating to see 6-0 guards consistently grab rebounds because our "big" men don't box out. I personally think that Quintrell could have been a great asset to the team if he got more playing time. Tough for him to find his groove when he plays 2 minutes a game. Yeah, he does some stupid things (comes outside to guard the perimeter, like the other big men), but at least he adds some muscle inside, something we needed last night.

    We can't write Rice off, but he definitely finished the season on a negative note, and never really got me excited with his brilliant coaching. Maybe he's just a positive reinforcement kind of guy, but sometimes athletes need to have their butts kicked.

  118. Time to move on!The ups and downs of this season were worse the the rollercoaster at 6 flags.As many have said,we need a "go to" crunch time player,this team didn't have it.They lost their mojo in January and never got it back.Lack of leadership on the court was evident as much as the sidelines. Rice seems to be too "academic" in his approach to coaching, always making excuses and "we will learn from this" attitude. The only thing you learn from repeated demoralizig losses is how to continue lose. Come'on lets see some fire from the coaches,Rice said he hates to lose,show it, maybe the team wil"learn from your example. Tark hated to lose so bad that he was literally sick and depressed for days.

    Coahing staff needs to prove they can recruit now, get us some palyers with some heart and desire to demolish every opponet they face,not the promise of we will learn from the loss or their is stil a lot of basketball to play. It's over! GO RECRUIT SHABAZZ AND BENNETT.

  119. Go "choking" Rebels Go...

  120. "Daniel Jackson": You are a negative weirdo, plain and simple.

  121. By the way, my "Daddy" died of cancer after giving his service to this country and the Nevada Test Site. Loser.

  122. Pure comedy....I love it.