Monday, Feb. 4, 2013 | 1:19 a.m.
- Rebels trail the whole way in disappointing setback at Boise State
- Rice wants Rebels to score in transition no matter what Boise State does
- Rebel senior speaks at middle school in between games
- UNLV Extras: Breaking down Marshall’s minutes and Moser’s role
- Birch bounces off the bench to lead Rebels in 12-point victory against Wolf Pack
- Cook’s development gives Rebels more potential lineup options vs. UNR
- UNLV Extras: Backup freshman enjoys possible breakthrough game
- Rebels find the right combination for satisfying victory against Wyoming
- All UNLV men's basketball coverage
The road is an unkind place in the Mountain West Conference, especially when you don’t treat it with respect.
And by that I mean things such as effort, which UNLV clearly lacked as a team at the beginning of Saturday’s 77-72 loss to Boise State at Taco Bell Arena. The game ended up close because with one exception (last year at New Mexico), these road games are always close, but that doesn’t excuse the way the Rebels played early on.
You could make the case UNLV (17-5, 4-3) doesn’t take its opponents seriously enough, something freshman forward Anthony Bennett seemed to suggest after the defeat.
“Before the game we came out laughing and stuff, so I think we need to stop that,” Bennett said.
Bennett added that fixing it requires more focus — essentially treating these games like business trips. That would help, though winning away from home takes a combination of effort and execution that UNLV has shown only a few times in the past two years.
The Rebels turn around for another road game Wednesday at Fresno State (7-13, 1-6), the league’s last-place team. But for its own sake, UNLV should treat the Bulldogs like the Lobos or Aztecs. In fact, they should just treat everyone that way.
I was genuinely surprised when the Boise State PA announcer turned on his mic and said Mike Moser was ejected from the game.
Then after reading the description of a flagrant-two foul on NCAA.org, I could see both sides. Here’s the example the site offers:
“An example of a Flagrant 2 foul would be when a player swings an elbow excessively and makes contact with an opponent above the shoulders. In this case, the player who threw the elbow would be ejected from the game, and the other team would receive two free throws and the ball.”
Moser didn’t throw an elbow at Boise’s Anthony Drmic, but as he ran toward a streaking Drmic going to the hoop, Moser didn’t make a play on the ball, according to the refs. As Drmic was attempting to lay it in, Moser caught him in the face with his open right hand, sending Drmic to the ground.
This part is just a guess, but I think that if Moser had looked concerned that he hit Drmic so hard and tried to help him up, the refs may have given him the benefit of the doubt and kept it as an intentional foul. However, Moser strolled away toward UNLV’s bench and his teammates. The play didn’t appear to be malicious, but there didn’t seem to be any remorse, either.
That said, I don’t like seeing guys get tossed from a game, and I’d like to think that refs are hesitant to do so.
Sidenote: Drmic, who finished with 22 points and four assists, is a great example of a guy you hate to play against but love to have on your team. He’s chippy and he may flop a bit, but Drmic hustles all the time and he’s great at frustrating opponents.
Guards’ missed opportunities
With so much focus on Bennett's final shot, it was easy to forget some of UNLV’s other miscues.
For instance, Katin Reinhardt, who was 3-for-5 for nine points in the first half, missed all three of his shots in the second half. And senior guard Justin Hawkins finished 0-for-5, including 0-for-4 in the second half. Hawkins had some really good looks at 3-pointers that could have propelled UNLV into the lead, but he couldn’t get any of them to fall.
And Anthony Marshall, who had 18 points, 12 assists, two turnovers and five rebounds, wasn’t without fault on offense. Though Bennett’s miss and Boise’s subsequent rebound basically sealed the Rebels’ fate, Marshall did have a chance to extend the game with a pair of free throws. UNLV was down three with 5.4 seconds left, and Marshall missed both of them.
All three guards were also beat on backdoor cuts, part of UNLV’s larger defensive problem that overshadowed what was actually a pretty good offensive performance. The Rebels shot 50 percent and finished with 24 assists on 27 made baskets. That’s UNLV coach Dave Rice’s favorite stat, though it also shows the Rebels didn’t get out like Rice wanted to in transition, where assists are fewer. UNLV finished with no fast-break points and just six points off turnovers compared with the Broncos’ 11.