Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 | 6 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013 | 9:25 p.m.
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UNLV 61, Colorado State 59
Anthony Marshall hit a 15-foot jumper with nine seconds left to lift UNLV past No. 22 Colorado State for a 61-59 victory Wednesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.
The Rebels missed a couple of chances to take the lead late in the game when Khem Birch and Bryce Dejean-Jones each missed a free throw. With the game tied at 59, Marshall dribbled out the clock and started his move with about 13 seconds left. He drove right and stopped for a pull-up, off-balance jumper against a defender who had fallen back on his heels.
Daniel Bejarano got a good look at a potential game-winning 3-pointer as time expired but it fell harmlessly to the floor. UNLV finished with more rebounds than Colorado State (38-31), the first time the Rams have lost that battle all season.
Marshall finished with 11 points while Bryce Dejean-Jones and Katin Reinhardt both scored 15. Anthony Bennett had eight points and seven rebounds.
Birch played as big a role as any of those guys, denying most everything int he paint the entire time he was on the court. CSU made its big run when Birch went to the bench, and after that the teams played each other mostly even the rest of the way.
CSU's Colton Iverson had 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Bejarano had 12 points and five rebounds.
UNLV moves to 20-7 overall and 7-5 in conference play. The Rebels hit the road again this weekend at Wyoming, so while they feel good about these wins at home they know their challenge of figuring out the road is still in front of them
Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from the UNLV victory.
UNLV 51, Colorado State 47
7:04 remaining in the second half
The amount of pushing and shoving these guys are getting away with in the paint is astounding. Depending on your viewpoint (personally I like a physical game) that can be good or bad, but the good news is it's at least been mostly consistent.
The foul numbers are about even and I'm seeing stuff that would be called in most games go without a whistle on both sides. That's all I ask for out of refs, really. Keep it as even as possible.
Amidst that physical play, UNLV has bounced back from CSU's initial charge that tied the game. A catalysts has been freshman Savon Goodman, who's had at least one key bucket and a really nice rebound that was wiped out because of a foul. The effort was there, though.
UNLV 38, Colorado State 33
15:10 remaining in the second half
Khem Birch picked up his third foul about 13 seconds into the second half, and as soon as he went to the bench the Rams started to make their move.
CSU hasn't been able to finish anything in front of Birch, but with him out they made a lot of good passes inside the interior and found holes that weren't previously there. Now that Birch is back in it's going to be interesting to see both how he plays with three fouls and how CSU tries to attack him.
UNLV 32, Colorado State 21
Bryce Dejean-Jones has 13 points, Katin Reinhardt has scored 10 and UNLV goes into halftime with a solid 32-21 lead against Colorado State.
More impressive is the fact the Rebels lead the rebounding tally 20-11. CSU hasn't lost a rebounding battle in 25 games so far this season, to have an advantage like that at halftime is very impressive.
Anthony Bennett hit a shot with about 3:25 left, which was the first field goal from someone other than Dejean-Jones or Reinhardt for the Rebels. Overall UNLV is shooting 47.8 percent compared to the Rams' 30.8.
If UNLV rebounds like this for the rest of the game, it's going to be nearly impossible for the Rams to come back. While that's very unlikely, that should be the goal. Other than staying strong on the boards, the Rebels need to keep giving the same effort on defense. Khem Birch is wiping away everything inside and the Rebels' perimeter players are guarding well, too. With an 11-point advantage, keeping the Rams quiet will be just as important as the Rebels picking up their scoring.
UNLV 18, Colorado State 12
7:50 remaining in the first half
UNLV guards Bryce Dejean-Jones and Katin Reinhardt have taken a lot of criticism this season for their shot selection. Tonight both have earned green lights with their play.
Dejean-Jones scored 13 of UNLV's first 15 points, including a pair of 3s off assists from Reinhardt. While Reinhardt is only 1-for-4 overall, his most recent shot was a good-looking 3 and at least one of his earlier attempts was wide open. Those two are playing together well so far, which is a big reason the Rebels have kept the Rams at a distance.
Colorado State 5, UNLV 4
15:50 remaining in the first half
UNLV's gameplan early on is a good one, with the Rebels moving the ball inside and nearly every possession and attacking the Rams' defense. That's resulted in good looks and a foul on Colton Iverson, CSU's best interior player.
What it hasn't produced quite yet is a whole lot of points. UNLV has missed most of its attempts, but the important thing for the rest of the game is the fact that they're open looks. If they keep getting shots like that, enough of them are going to fall. But it's going to take the same inside-out mentality on offense and more solid effort on defense.
It’s easy to forget No. 22 Colorado State does more than just rebound. That’s because the Rams (21-4, 8-2) are putting up historic numbers by dominating the glass at both ends of the floor.
But they’re also just plain good at playing basketball. CSU ranks eighth in the nation in offensive efficiency and in conference games it leads the Mountain West in both points per game and scoring margin. The Rams’ two league losses are at San Diego State in overtime and at New Mexico by five, a game they can avenge Saturday at home.
Before they get there, though, the Rams have to come to the Thomas & Mack Center tonight at 7:15 on CBS Sports Network. And as everyone knows, this isn’t exactly an easy place for opponents to play.
While the environment won’t likely touch that of Saturday’s victory against San Diego State, it should still be pretty good. And UNLV (19-7, 6-5) may need the help, because on paper CSU is a better team than SDSU and arguably it’s the best team in the league.
What makes the Rams so dangerous in a spot like this is that they do the things a team needs to do to win on the road: play defense and rebound. As the Rebels are well aware, it’s harder to score away from home, especially when you tack on the additional home-court advantage of fouls called.
To survive that it’s great if you can maximize the potential of every possession, like, for instance, grabbing an offensive rebound to give you another shot. And while CSU is among the nation’s worst at creating turnovers or blocks, it does contest most every shot and play consistently good defense.
If UNLV plays with the urgency it showed in the second half against SDSU, none of this should be a problem. But if the Rebels don’t come prepared, they will be in trouble.
THE OTHER SIDE
Colorado State projected lineup
G — Dorian Green, 6-2, Sr, 13.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.6 apg
G — Wes Eikmeier, 6-3, Sr, 13.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 97 ft%
F — Greg Smith, 6-6, Sr, 11.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 40 3fg%
F — Pierce Hornung, 6-5, Sr, 10.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.6 apg
F — Colton Iverson, 6-10, Sr, 11.9 ppg, 10.5 rpg, 54.7 fg%
Sixth man — G, Daniel Bejarano, 6-4, So, 5.9 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 20.7 3fg%
*Stats from conference games only
Extra storyline: As pointed out in Luke Winn’s Power Rankings at SI.com last week, CSU and UNLV have two of the nation’s top 10 biggest swings between the number of fouls they get at home versus on the road. That could be a big factor again, because the last time out…
Last meeting: The Rams scored their final 10 points at the free-throw line and grabbed a key offensive rebound to fend off the Rebels.
Kenpom line: Colorado State -1
Vegas line: UNLV -3.5
Bern’s take: I always thought two straight years of undefeated regular season conference games at home was unlikely for UNLV. The last real challenge to that streak comes tonight, and I think the Rams will get it done. This is the best team in the league right now. Colorado State 71, UNLV 70