Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 | 5:30 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 | 9:29 p.m.
Final, CSU wins 78-63
Well, Saturday's first of two clashes between UNLV and New Mexico lost a lot of luster tonight.
The Lobos dropped to 1-3 in the league with a loss at Utah, while UNLV is now 2-3 following a shocking 78-63 loss at the Mack to upstart Colorado State.
The Rams are now 13-5 overall and 3-1 in the league, putting them in the early driver's seat for the league's potential third NCAA tournament bid.
Travis Franklin and Andy Ogide combined for 42 points in the paint for CSU, who now hosts No. 9 BYU on Saturday. They led the effort in helping CSU out-rebound UNLV, 34-29, with most of the damage coming on the offensive glass
UNLV was led by Chace Stanback and Anthony Marshall, who scored 16 and 14, respectively. UNLV is now just 14-5 overall and is quickly placing itself firmly on the tourney bubble.
For full postgame coverage, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.
3:32, Second Half, CSU leads 68-54
UNLV isn't just losing tonight to Colorado State. The Rebels are on the verge of being run out of their own gym in double-digit fashion.
Travis Franklin, who had a forgetful 3-of-14 free throw performance in last year's 80-72 win over CSU in Fort Collins, has 20 points tonight. That's combined with fellow forward Andy Ogide's 16.
That tells the story for CSU, as the Rams are murdering UNLV underneath, out-hustling them on the offensive glass and getting several key buckets as a result.
It's a bad night for the Mountain West as a whole, as UNLV and New Mexico, it appears, will both head into Saturday's meeting with losing records in league play.
11:53, Second Half, CSU leads 47-37
UNLV opened the second half on a 6-1 run, tying the game up at 31-31 and finally bringing the crowd to its feet.
But just that fast, it slipped away again, and Colorado State now holds a 47-37 lead mid-way through the second half.
A big blow for UNLV came when Anthony Marshall was whistled for his fourth foul with just over 13 minutes left to play. He picked up his second and third in the first 30 seconds of the half.
Marshall leads all scorers tonight with 14 points, and Lon Kruger is now digging deep into his bench for a spark of some kind. Freshman Karam Mashour is playing his first meaningful minutes of the season, while Quintrell Thomas is getting extended run and earning it with five points and five rebounds so far.
Halftime, CSU leads 30-25
Thanks to a late 8-0 run before two Adam Nigon free throws, UNLV got itself within closer range of Colorado State at the end of what was an overall ugly half for the Rebels.
Nigon was fouled on a rebound try with 0.1 seconds remaining and got two uncontested charity tries on the other end in the bonus, but UNLV should consider itself fortunate to be down only five at the break, considering how well the Rams played for much of the opening stanza.
CSU is 13-of-26 from the floor, but committed several turnovers down the stretch after only having four in the game's first 16 minutes. UNLV has given up on relying so heavily on the outside shot, and Anthony Marshall is leading the effort on attacking the hoop.
Marshall leads UNLV with nine points, including a trio of free throws, while Chace Stanback has eight. He's found the touch with his mid-range shot, and the Rebels as a team only attempted four 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes.
Colorado State's Andy Ogide leads all scorers with 10 points.
UNLV's big men as a group weren't great in the first half, but Quintrell Thomas, despite picking up two bad fouls away from the hoop, was strong on the glass in six minutes. He has three boards to go with four minutes.
The Rebels knew they were in for a fight against Colorado State, who badly wants a win against one of the Mountain West's top teams. If the first half here has been this tight, it's hard to imagine how up for UNLV the Rams will be in Fort Collins, Colo., in a few weeks.
3:56, First Half, CSU leads 28-17
As Colorado State clearly grows more and more confident in the first half at the Mack, UNLV is lacking in ways to respond.
The Rebels look confused and trigger-shy on the offensive end, and trail the Rams just before halftime, 28-17.
CSU is efficient, going 13-of-24 from the floor to this point, and has forced eight UNLV turnovers.
The Rebels have committed eight giveaways, and outside of Anthony Marshall and Chace Stanback, have been shy with the ball. Marshall has seven points, including a huge and-one dunk out of the game's second TV break. Stanback has six points, hitting three nice mid-range jumpers.
The offensive difference-maker for CSU is Andy Ogide, who is now 5-of-5 from the floor with 10 points.
The Rebels don't have much to feed off of from the crowd, which is sparse and has been pretty quiet to this point.
11:42, First Half, CSU leads 14-10
Colorado State just might be ready to join the big guys atop the Mountain West Conference.
The Rams are looking the part early, leading UNLV 14-10 at the Mack. They're playing in front of the smallest looking home crowd the Rebels have had all year.
CSU is 7-of-13 from the floor and has turned the defensive tables on UNLV, forcing four turnovers so far while committing only one of its own.
The Rams are also hanging tough under the bucket. Senior forward Andy Ogide has a game-high eight points on 4-of-4 shooting so far to go with two rebounds.
UNLV is just 5-of-12 and 0-for-2 from deep.
Well, what do you think: Does Colorado State belong in the same mention as the Mountain West's basketball power brokers?
The 12-5 overall record this season is strong and the 2-1 start in league play is, too.
But, as Tim Miles said in today's UNLV-CSU preview, respect has to be earned.
The Rams in the last couple of seasons have played the likes of UNLV, San Diego State, New Mexico and BYU close, but success is defined in wins by most observers.
Last season, Miles' team was 0-8 against the four league foes who went on to the NCAA tournament. They lost those games by an average margin of 18 points, including a 70-39 embarrassment at the hands of the Rebels.
They played New Mexico close last week, getting to within a point late before losing by seven in Albuquerque. Now comes their second chance at a signature league win.
Here are three things to watch for tonight between UNLV and CSU, who tip off at 7:30 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center …
1) One of the more painful performances I watched all of last season was Travis Franklin's 3-of-14 showing from the free throw line last season in UNLV's 80-72 win in Fort Collins. This season, Franklin has improved his free throw percentage from 54.5 to 72, and is scoring an impressive 14.2 points per game. If he's as aggressive tonight, can he make UNLV pay this time?
2) UNLV got off to a slow, um, first 30 minutes against Air Force on Saturday, and the improved Falcons made them sweat before the Rebels unleashed a 19-2 run to close things out. UNLV took an 18-2 lead to start the game last season at the Mack, rolling with ease to the 31-point win. CSU is coming in talking about handling UNLV's defensive pressure, but the Rebels have seemed to dial the pressure down a bit as of late. Is tonight the night they turn it back up?
3) Anthony Marshall is playing like a First Team All-Mountain West guard right now in league play, averaging 15 points in the four games while shooting 59.5 percent from the floor. I'm expecting UNLV to be without Tre'Von Willis again tonight, and again, it's not such a bad thing. The Rebels seem to be rallying around and putting more trust in Marshall of late on the offensive end as his shot selection and discipline has matured big-time as the season's progressed. Expect another big one from him tonight.
For a prediction, I'm taking UNLV, but not in a laugher like last year's game in Vegas. I'll say 75-64 is your final. My Pick to Click will be Chace Stanback. He's risen to the occasion on offense when Willis has been sidelined for various reasons this year, and he torched Colorado State twice last year. I'd expect more of the same. It's a good match-up for him.
Don't forget, add the #unlvmbb tag to your in-game tweets to join the conversation below. Or, for constant updates, give me a follow at twitter.com/ryanmgreene.
Talk to you again after the tip.