Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010 | 5:59 p.m.
Freshman guard Anthony Marshall produced 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the floor and 6-of-8 efficiency at the free throw line in his second career start.
But with ice wrapped around a sore left hand, he left the Rebels locker room sharing the same sentiment as each of his sullen teammates.
"I felt like I came out, provided some energy," he said. "But I thought there was more I could do."
Marshall did exactly what coach Lon Kruger and his staff wanted the 6-foot-3 Mojave High product to do in replacing junior Kendall Wallace in the starting lineup.
Using his superior athleticism, he helped balance things out a bit as the Rebels took on quite possibly the most athletic team the Mountain West Conference has to offer.
He was a nuisance on defense, finishing with two steals, and provided a major spark early on when he swatted a driving shot attempt by fellow Vegas native Billy White underneath.
That block turned into an Oscar Bellfield 3-pointer on the other end, giving UNLV (19-6 overall, 7-4 MWC) an early 5-2 lead in a tough road environment.
Unfortunately for the Rebels, they couldn't build off of it, as after a 7-0 run, SDSU (18-7, 7-4) never trailed again.
"Second-chance points, they got a lot of hustle points, put-backs, knocking the ball out of our hands. Stuff like that that contributes in a big way," Marshall said. "We've got to fight through that and be aggressive on both ends."
Chances are Marshall will have the same opportunity to make his athletic presence felt in the starting lineup on Wednesday when UNLV attempts to snap a two-game skid at Utah in a 7 pm. contest.
But in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's loss, that chance for redemption felt far off.
"This long bus ride, it's going to be on everybody's minds," Marshall said. "We're a team that likes to joke and have fun, but I don't think anyone's gonna be like that on the way home tonight."
Inside the numbers
Some numbers of note after digging a bit into Saturday's box score ...
• While Billy White and Kawhi Leonard put up the biggest numbers in the front-court for San Diego State, running mate Malcolm Thomas was effective across the board. The lanky, athletic junior finished with four points, five rebounds, four assists, four blocks and four steals.
• Saturday marked only the third time this season Kendall Wallace was held to just one 3-point attempt. He was 0-for-1, snapping a four-game streak in which he'd made at least one from downtown.
• UNLV's 11 assists to 14 turnovers marked the first time in 11 conference games the Rebels have had more giveaways than helpers. The last time the Rebels did that was in their non-conference finale — a 67-56 loss to Southern Cal on Christmas Day in the championship game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.
What's on tap?
UNLV now faces a must-win in a trip to Salt Lake City on Wednesday to take on Utah, who knocked off the Rebels, 73-69, on Jan. 16 in Las Vegas.
The Utes are not in the same situation as the Rebels in terms of playing for positioning for a potential at-large NCAA tourney bid. Following Saturday's 68-65 overtime loss at home to New Mexico, Jim Boylen's club is 11-13 overall and 4-6 in the league.
At the time, the win over UNLV looked like it could change the tides of the season for the young Utes, who a year ago won the Mountain West tournament. Instead, they've gone 2-5 since.
The final word
SDSU forward Billy White on wanting revenge on UNLV after he was hobbled in a 76-66 loss to the Rebels on Jan. 13: "I kept it in the back of my mind that I needed to get my team a win. If it was scoring 30 points, 20 points or whatever to get my team a win, that's what I was gonna do."