Rebels basketball:

Blog: Rebels’ 5-game winning streak ends with surprising setback vs. Fresno State

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall waits to congratulate Fresno State players after their game Saturday, March 9, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Fresno State, a 14-point underdog, upset UNLV 61-52.

Updated Saturday, March 9, 2013 | 5:07 p.m.

UNLV vs. Fresno State: March 9, 2013

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall waits to congratulate Fresno State after their game Saturday, March 9, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Fresno State, a 14-point underdog, upset UNLV 61-52. Launch slideshow »

Fresno State 61, UNLV 52

Game over

Kevin Foster scored 25 points and Fresno State never gave up its lead in the second half before pulling out a 61-52 victory as a 14-point underdog Saturday afternoon in the Thomas & Mack Center.

With the victory, the Bulldogs clinch the seventh seed in next week's Mountain West tournament in this same building. UNLV likely falls the the 3 seed, though, it could still get the 2 if UNR upsets Colorado State. This is just UNLV's second regular season defeat in this building in the past two seasons.

In the first half UNLV played well on offense but the Bulldogs, after starting the game 1-for-13 from the field, were hitting every 3-pointer in sight. In the second half the Rebels weren't giving up 3s, though the defense was entirely fixed. The problem was the offense got a lot worse.

In the second half the Rebels shot under 30 percent from the field and made only one 3-pointer in 12 attempts. They rarely worked the ball inside and both Justin Hawkins and Mike Moser got in Katin Reinhardt's face for various errors. No one on the team really had a right to yell at anybody else, though. They were all part of the same problem.

This snaps a five-game winning streak and ends the good vibes both from that streak and surrounding Senior Day for Hawkins, Quintrell Thomas and Anthony Marshall. The Rebels made a few attempts at the comeback in the second half but nothing that seriously threatened the outcome.

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

Fresno State 50, UNLV 45

7:00 remaining in the second half

Justin Hawkins got right up in Katin Reinhardt's face on the first dead ball after Reinhardt had committed a turnover on a fast break. It was the most I've seen any two Rebels really get into each other outside of practice, and it also speaks to what type of day the Rebels are having.

On Senior Day against the team they'll likely meet again in this building in four days, the Rebels haven't been good enough, especially on defense. In the second half their offense has dropped off significantly, too, making this a very dangerous time for UNLV. A loss here would snap all the momentum that was building into the conference tournament.

Fresno State 43, UNLV 36

15:23 remaining in the second half

Kevin Foster is still hot in the second half, hitting an off-balanced 3-pointer on Fresno State's first possession. He now has 22 points.

Like I said at halftime, defense is the key for UNLV. While the offense actually looks a bit worse than it did in the first half I'm still confident the team will score enough to win this game. That is, of course, that they get enough stops along the way.

Fresno State 36, UNLV 31

Halftime

Kevin Foster has 19 points, Cimarron grad Kevin Olekaibe has scored 11 and Fresno State shook off a terrible start (1-for-13) from the field to lead by as much as 11 before taking a five-point lead into halftime.

Mike Moser is leading the UNLV with seven points while Justin Hawkins has six, all of them in the final couple of minutes. Hawkins hit a corner 3-pointer, his first make from deep since Jan. 19, and then followed up a missed 3 with a steal that led to an and-one layup. He converted the free throw.

The Rebels are still leading rebounding by a decent margin (20-15) but they haven't done nearly enough to slow down the Bulldogs' 3-point shooting. The Bulldogs are 8-for-12, even better than the pace Boise State set when it was 6-for-12 the other night at halftime.

Defense is what UNLV is really going to have to focus on in the second half. The Rebels are playing well enough to win on offense and I have a feeling that may get even better, but that's not going to matter if they don't start stopping the Bulldogs.

Fresno State 19, UNLV 18

7:57 remaining in the first half

After starting the game 1-for-13 from the field, Fresno has come alive from behind the three-point line. Kevin Foster has nine points and Cimarron grad Kevin Olekaibe has scored eight. Overall the Bulldogs are 5-for-8 from deep.

UNLV is shooting 50 percent overall and is dominating on the glass with a 14-8 advantage. Closing out on shooters is really the only thing holding the Rebels back at this point.

UNLV 10, Fresno State 4

12:31 remaining in the first half

Quintrell Thomas, getting the start on Senior Day, scored the Rebels' first bucket of the game after a problem with the clock delayed the start of today's game.

Thomas, Justin Hawkins and Anthony Marshall were all honored on the court before the game, and so far both Thomas and Marshall have scored. Hawkins had a 3 rim out.

On the first substitution, Anthony Bennett, who's likely also playing his last regular season game, entered wearing a wrap on his left shoulder. I haven't seen him practice with it before and I'm not sure exactly how it helps with the possible nerve damage he's dealing with, but I also know little to nothing about medical treatment.

Since the regular title doesn’t really cover it all, I would suggest thinking of this afternoon’s game against Fresno State on Time Warner Cable SportsNet as Senior (and Bennett and probably Moser) Day.

After all, UNLV coach Dave Rice said back in the preseason they were treating this as Mike Moser’s last year. Obviously the elbow injury and production may have changed that, but I’d advise a betting man to say UNLV will only keep one of its five starters from today’s game: Bryce Dejean-Jones.

The others will be seniors Anthony Marshall, Justin Hawkins and Quintrell Thomas, plus Moser. It’s not clear where Moser’s NBA draft stock is at right now, but like I said, I think it’s likely he tests those waters after nearly leaving last offseason.

And Anthony Bennett, who Saturday was named one of 15 finalists for the Wooden Award despite the fact he’ll struggle to make first-team all-Mountain West, is going to be a lottery pick.

That’s the undercurrent for today’s game, which is more about the three actual seniors and UNLV’s bid to finish second in the league. All it takes is a victory, something the Rebels couldn’t accomplish at Fresno State, but they shouldn’t have much trouble with it today. Not with so many guys potentially playing their last career home regular season game.

There are plenty of other Senior (and then some) Days around the league today, and every game could potentially alter the tournament seeding. For reference, here are the three other Mountain West games being played today:

San Diego State (21-8, 9-6) at Boise State (20-9, 8-7) at 12:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Network

New Mexico (26-4, 13-2) at Air Force (16-12, 7-8) at 3 p.m.

UNR (12-17, 3-12) at Colorado State (23-7, 10-5) at 5:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network

Current Mountain West standings

Team MW record (Overall)

  • New Mexico 13-2 (26-4)
  • UNLV 10-5 (23-7)
  • Colorado St. 10-5 (23-7)
  • San Diego St. 9-6 (21-8)
  • Boise St. 8-7 (20-9)
  • Air Force 7-8 (16-12)
  • Fresno St. 4-11 (10-18)
  • Wyoming 4-12 (18-12)
  • UNR 3-12 (12-17)

UNLV gets the 2 seed if …

The Rebels win OR the Rebels and Rams both lose. UNLV owns the tiebreaker because of its home victory against New Mexico. CSU would take the 2 seed with a victory and a UNLV loss.

San Diego State gets the 3 seed if …

The Aztecs win and the Rams lose. SDSU owns the tiebreaker because of its home victory against New Mexico. The Aztecs would get the 4 seed if they and the Rams both win OR if the Aztecs lose to the Broncos.

Boise State gets the 5 seed if …

The Broncos win OR the Broncos and Falcons both lose. Air Force would own the tiebreaker with a victory against New Mexico, so a win and a Boise State loss would put the Falcons at the 5 and the Broncos at the 6.

Fresno State gets the 7 seed if …

The Bulldogs win OR the Wolf Pack loses. Fresno owns the two-way tiebreaker with Wyoming, so if both finish at 4-12, the best seed, which means avoiding the Tuesday night play-in game, goes to the Bulldogs. However, a Fresno loss and a UNR upset would create a three-way tie that changes the tiebreaking criteria and actually gives the advantage to the idle Cowboys.

As complicated as all that seems, I predict the order of finish by the end of the night will actually be the same as it is at the beginning (see right).

THE OTHER SIDE

Fresno State projected lineup

G — Allen Huddleston, 6-2, Jr, 9.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.6 apg

G — Tyler Johnson, 6-2, Jr, 13.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.1 apg

G — Kevin Olekaibe, 6-2, Jr, 8.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1 spg

F — Braeden Anderson, 6-9, Fr, 4.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 29 fg%

F — Tanner Giddings, 6-10, Fr, 2.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 38.9 fg%

Sixth man — G, Marvelle Harris, 6-4, Fr, 7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.8 apg

*Stats from conference games only

Last meeting: UNLV trailed by 16 in the second half and eventually lost by nine in arguably its worst game of the season.

Kenpom line: UNLV -12

Vegas line: UNLV -14

Bern’s take: Senior games are kind of like homecoming. It’s more about everything around the game than the matchup itself, something UNLV shouldn’t have to worry about after halftime as long as it handles its business. UNLV 71, Fresno State 58

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

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  1. Are you kidding me right now...?

  2. When a 35% shooter is shooting 80% from three-point range, that's the way it goes. We'll see how the second half develops.

  3. What a complete letdown. That effort was appalling. If this is peaking at the right time, I'd hate to see backing into the tournament. Senior leadership was severely lacking, how many free throws did AM miss in the second half? What is wrong with J-Hawk? He has looked lost the entire conference schedule and has gone to a shut down defender to someone watching people make shots.
    This team seems to play with a sense of entitlement and has played like they expect to win against teams with lesser talent. I hope they wake up before they blink and say "What happened to our season".

  4. Taylor-
    Do you think the players, like many fans, are sick of Rice's bro-mance with Katin? If he's not making shots he is absolutely worthless. Huge defensive liability.
    As for Moser...get off the freakin 3 point line man. 1-6? That's ridiculous.
    Marshall...4-8 free throws. Come on!
    Have you seen any work in practice on offensive sets where they work the ball inside? Or any sort of perimeter defense drills? Not sure if Rice thinks the 3 point defense is an issue but it sure has looked that way the last 2 games.

  5. This is part of the learning curve with a young and inexperienced team. I don't want to hear about Kentucky of last year. They are the RARE exception. Texas is the youngest team in Division I, and they lost to a Division II team. Steve Lavin is the greatest recruiter in the Big East, and St. John's probably won't make the tournament. His team is mainly freshmen and sophomores. Finally, Kentucky is playing mainly freshmen, and they will be lucky to make the tournament.

    If losses like this happen next year, then it's a cause for concern.

  6. Ohhh thank you greast one almighty magi phillips. It's not next year to be concerned about it's now. Do you really think it's about about a young team? EHHHHH, WRONG , it's about a coaching staff that couldn't poor beer out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel.You can expect nothing better for next year either, the Running Rebels are a thing of the past.

  7. @fedup2here (Kenny Rogers) - Do you have a time machine? Did you fast forward to the 2013-14 season already?

  8. You dont need a time machine to see the future of the Rebels as long as you have the same coach. Looks like they hired a boy to do a mans job and he won't be grown up enough to coach next year either. R.I.P. Runnin Rebels rest in peace, and Livingood can conduct the service since he's the one who hired the plague of a coach.

  9. Phillips, I agree that this is a young team but by this point in the season they should be playing better than this. They've had 31 games now to play together and mature. Plus, while there are a lot of freshman and sophomores on this team there are still some upper classman. Marshall, and Hawkins are both seniors who've been through the rigors of the regular season, MWC, and 3 NCAA tournament appearance. Thomas is senior and Moser and Sosa are both juniors. Plus Moser, Thomas and Sosa are all redshirts. Even Birch and Dejean Jones bring some experience with them from their last teams. So this team should have enough leadership and experience to make up for the inexperience on the team.

  10. Jut when you think UNLV is peaking, this happens.

    I'm tired of this team is too young excuse. We are not expecting to win a national title, we just want to win an NCAA tourney game. but, with that said, I think those who are calling for Rice's head are doing so in frustration. Can CDR do it? Yes. But why are we don't have the patience for his development. He really should be coaching in the Big West right now where they have the patience for stuff like that. Not at this stupid program. And no, Reggie Theus is not the answer, he is like Rice, really.

    To be honest, UNLV may be okay from here on in. I just think they were a bit complacent, and overlooked this team, and neither to be shaken up.

    If CDR every reads this, my advice to him. Work on in-game management more and be more vocal on the sidelines.