UNLV basketball:

Blog: Rebels make it five in a row with hard-fought victory against Boise State

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall is fouled by Boise State gourd Igor Hadziomerovic during their game Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

Updated Tuesday, March 5, 2013 | 9:10 p.m.

UNLV vs. Boise State: March 5, 2013

Hey Reb walks off with UNLV guard Katin Reinhardt after the Rebels knocked off Boise State 68-64 Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

Breaking down the brackets

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CBSSports.com's Jeff Borzello joins Las Vegas Sun reporter Taylor Bern to discuss UNLV's seeding possibilities in Part One, and then at the 15:30 mark Taylor is joined by SI.com's Andy Glockner who offers his insight to the Mountain West's collective standing as we approach tournament time. All rights for the intro, outro and intermission music to alt-J, so go buy their album.

UNLV 68, Boise State 64

Game over

Katin Reinhardt's 3-point attempt with 20 seconds left bounced off the front rim, hit the backboard and dropped in to give the Rebels (23-7, 10-5) an insurmountable lead in a 68-64 victory against Boise State on Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The victory keeps the Rebels in second place in the league while it makes the Broncos' home game Saturday against San Diego State almost a must-win for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.

Bryce Dejean-Jones and Anthony Marshall both scored 16 points, the latter taking over the game in the second half when UNLV needed a spark. But after starting the game 0-for-7, Reinhardt was the hero, knocking down his final three 3-point attempts in big situations.

The Broncos did cool off a bit from long range in the second half, though Jeff Elorriaga nearly saved Boise with three straight 3-pointers to give it a six-point lead. UNLV quickly eliminated that and regained the lead once Anthony Drmic, who finished with 22 points, fouled out in the last two minutes.

UNLV stays home for Senior Night on Saturday afternoon against Fresno State. The Rebels will enter that contest on a five-game winning streak and with all the confidence in the world as they try to make it six straight heading into the Mountain West tournament the following week.

Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from the Rebels' victory.

Boise State 47, UNLV 41

7:35 remaining in the second half

UNLV had the lead for one possession. As soon as the Rebels moved in front, Anthony Drmic countered with a 3 that spurred a 10-2 run from Boise State that quieted a crowd that was ready to declare this one over.

The home team is now trying to make another push, and it's helped by the fact they're finally making open shots. The Rebels have created good looks for themselves but they haven't converted, shooting 31.6 percent from the floor in the second half. Katin Reinhardt and Justin Hawkins are a combined 1-for-13 while Mike Moser is 2-for-8.

UNLV has to actually start converting in order to make this a legitimate push to win this game.

Boise State 35, UNLV 33

15:51 remaining in the second half

The Rebels opened the second half on an 8-0 run, briefly taking the lead before Anthony Drmic got the Broncos on the board with a 3-pointer.

Drmic is one of three Broncos now saddled with three fouls. The others are both starters, too: Ryan Watikins and Derrick Marks. Drmic and Marks are both playing through their fouls right now. It will be interesting to see how the Broncos handle it if/when one or both pick up their fourth foul.

With the help of those fouls, the Rebels have really taken over the momentum and are forcing the issue more on offense. However, it's probably not a great sign that the one shot they gave up was another 3-pointer. We'll see how that battle develops the rest of the way.

Boise State 32, UNLV 25

Halftime

Boise State's Anthony Drmic has 10 points but four fouls as the Broncos ride their hot shooting into halftime with a 32-25 lead.

Anthony Bennett came of the bench and has scored nine points for UNLV, which has mostly played without Mike Moser after he picked up his second foul. The Rebels are playing good defense, it's just that the Broncos are playing even better offense. With few exceptions they've been very poised in the final 10 seconds of the shot clock and worked the ball around to eventually find a hole in UNLV's defense.

Boise State is hitting 50 percent overall and behind the three-point line (6-of-12). The Broncos also have a sizable lead in rebounds (19-12).

UNLV is 1-for-7 on 3-point attempts and on nearly every jump shot there hasn't been somebody in the paint trying to rebound. That's the result of the smaller lineup Dave Rice has employed to try to keep pressure on all of the perimeter shooters.

Boise is very unlikely to continue shooting this well from deep but UNLV can't just hope that's the case. They have to play defense for 30 and 35 seconds instead of just the first 25 in order to get some more opportunities to cut into the lead and take one of their own.

Boise State 25, UNLV 17

7:56 remaining in the first half

Boise State hasn't cooled down at all on offense, wearing down the UNLV defense until it fines a weakness and then exploiting it well. The Rebels' defense, for the most part, hasn't been bad, but the Broncos have been great.

The Broncos are 5-for-8 on 3s and 9-for-15 from the field. UNLV has had a much harder time finding its offensive rhythm and now it's trying to match the Broncos' shooters with a really small lineup. Justin Hawkins has been playing power forward, and so far Boise is still finding shots.

Boise State 12, UNLV 6

15:21 remaining in the first half

Most of UNLV's quick deficit is its own fault. However, one Broncos possession, the Rebels played really good perimeter defense, denying passing lanes and drives to the basket for 30 seconds and then still got beat by an extra pass to Anthony Drmic in the corner.

Drmic is 3-for-3 with 8 of Boise's points, and so far the road team has done a good job handling UNLV's pressure defense. Keep that up, though, and the Rebels are going to get more runouts and opportunities. The first two minutes weren't any good, but the third and fourth were big improvements.

With the regular season coming to a close and UNLV arguably playing its best basketball of the season, it’s time to see just how close the Rebels are to living up to that assertion.

There are two more regular season games, both at home, though Saturday’s finale against Fresno State ought to be a foregone conclusion. Tonight is the last chance for a real challenge before the Mountain West tournament, and it comes in the form of a Boise State team that could solidify its NCAA Tournament bid with a victory.

That’s the most important storyline of the game because whether a team is in or out is much more interesting to the community at large than a team playing for seeding. For the fans in the stands, though, and those watching on Time Warner Cable SportsNet, the Rebels’ chance to grab another quality victory outweighs the general desire to see five teams from the Mountain West in the NCAA Tournament. After all, they’re not mutually exclusive. The Broncos will have more chances.

For the Rebels to win their fifth in a row, they need to do some of the things that have led to success lately — get Mike Moser, who will start while Anthony Bennett comes off the bench, involved early and limit turnovers — while also fixing the mistakes of their loss in Boise. That game saw Moser get ejected in the first half and Bennett completely take over before taking a questionable last-minute shot, and in between UNLV gave up a lot of transition opportunities. That was a big problem as Jeff Elorriaga made the defense pay multiple times with quick 3-pointers when they didn’t get up and guard him closely.

Taking care of that as well as playing with the usual Mack confidence should be enough to keep the Rebels rolling tonight.

THE OTHER SIDE

Boise State projected lineup

G — Derrick Marks, 6-3, So, 16.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.9 apg

G — Anthony Drmic, 6-6, So, 18.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.9 apg

G — Jeff Elorriaga, 6-2, Jr, 9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 85.7 ft%

G — Igor Hadziomerovic, 6-4, So, 5 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.1 spg

F — Ryan Watkins, 6-9, Jr, 8.5 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 57.6 fg%

Sixth man — F, Mikey Thompson, 6-3, Fr, 8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 36.7 3fg%

*Stats from conference games only

Last meeting: The Broncos led wire-to-wire in an important game for spurring their NCAA Tournament hopes.

Kenpom line: UNLV -7

Vegas line: UNLV -7.5

Bern’s take: I don’t like Boise State’s chances if things get rolling early, but as a 3-point shooting team the Broncos are at least built to have a chance should that happen. Still, I’m not expecting it. UNLV 80, Boise State 69

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

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  1. I'm surprised that nobody commented during the game. Bryce Dejean-Jones had arguably his best game as a Runnin' Rebel. 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 5 assists, and ZERO turnovers.

    Katin Reinhardt continues to make clutch threes. He's going to be very good down the line.

    Anthony Marshall had 16 points, 7 assists, and ZERO turnovers. I think Marshall had his best game as a distributor.

    Those were the positives. The Rebels didn't play very good defense, and their offense wasn't great tonight. However, they'll be fine going forward because they have been battle tested.

  2. @phillips1990702: fedup2here had plenty of astute comments on the game, posted on the previous article to this one (very interesting read).