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April 26, 2015

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Rebels basketball:

UNLV Leftovers: Season could hinge on results of next two games


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall defends Air Force guard Tre’ Coggins during their game Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV won in overtime, 76-71.

UNLV vs. Air Force: Jan. 12, 2013

UNLV forward Mike Moser dunks on Air Force during the first half of their game Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 at the Thomas & Mack. Launch slideshow »

The next two games — Wednesday at San Diego State and Saturday at Colorado State — have the chance to define UNLV’s season.

It’s more likely that this week won’t be the be-all and end-all for this team, but just the thought that it could be is interesting. For instance, if the Rebels were to break through and win both games, it could propel them to a league title. And if they lose both, especially if they’re not close in either, it could weigh on a team that never figured things out on the road last year.

No matter what happens, there’s enough time for the team to trend either way after these contests. But considering the stakes on these games and what it could mean to steal one or two road games, as well as what it would mean to start league play 1-3, it could be a very interesting week for the Rebels.

Marshall lets game speak

After UNLV lost to New Mexico — actually, at 10:03 p.m. to be precise — Anthony Marshall sent a tweet suggesting he wouldn’t return to Twitter until after the season.

“Done with this .. see y'all March/April!,” Marshall tweeted.

On Saturday, he didn’t take a shot for the entire first half, finishing 0-for-1 from the floor with 12 assists and two turnovers. This season, he has a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio, but that clearly wasn’t good enough for him.

“I had some games where I had a high number of assists, but I had some games where I took a lot of shots also,” Marshall said. “For us to be successful, I don’t need to do that.”

Marshall is having the best shooting season of his career with a higher percentage on fewer shots, but the senior seems to be aware of what a lot of people say about him. Marshall said the impetus to change his offense came from his own dissatisfaction rather than outside voices.

There’s certainly some truth to that, but for a guy who’s so aware of all that’s said and written about him and a Twitter fiend who just quit cold turkey, I have to believe his reduction in shots was in part a reaction to things he’s heard.

“Before this game, I really didn’t do a good job of running this team as a point guard,” Marshall said. “I’m so used to playing the two. From here on out, I just want to put guys into position to be successful.”


Senior forward Quintrell Thomas didn’t play a single minute for UNLV on Saturday against Air Force. It's the first time this season he didn't play.

His numbers figured to go down once Khem Birch made his way to the starting lineup, but to go from starting one game to not playing at all because of a coach’s decision two games later was a little surprising.

I don’t think this will become Thomas’ norm, but it still may happen again. With the trio last year of Brice Massamba, Carlos Lopez-Sosa and Thomas, the latter two often had to settle for inconsistent court time. This year may very well be the same for those two, with a different guy getting most or all of the minutes one night and someone else doing it the next time out.

Speaking of the rotation, freshman Savon Goodman appears to be the odd man out. He has sat out the past two games, and considering the talent ahead of him at the three and four spots, it’s hard to find time for him on the court.

In conference play, the rotation should always get shorter. Against Air Force, the Rebels played nine guys with seven getting at least 21 minutes. That seems about right.

Free throws

Once again, free throws played a major factor in a UNLV game. In the loss to New Mexico, it was about the Rebels’ inability to get to the line — 4-for-5 — while the Lobos had 29 attempts.

“I thought we did a good job shooting 80 percent from the line,” Rice said with dry wit Wednesday. “… Anytime you can shoot 80 percent from the line, you’ve got to be happy with your percentage.”

Against the Falcons, the Rebels didn’t have any trouble getting to the line; they just couldn’t do anything once they got there.

After shooting 9-for-10 on free throws in the first half, UNLV went 5-for-17 in the second half, which was a big reason it needed overtime to get the win. The Rebels were 4-for-4 in the extra session.

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

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  1. Desert your correct, the only thing that matters right now and the top priority should be to improve.

    They are a good team, and on their best night they can hang with North Carolina, and New Mexico(They didn't get blown out)

    Also, Bennett did have the flu bug thats going around. He should be ready for SDSU.

  2. Anthony Marshall, great that you are taking a pass on Twitter for the rest of the season. Nothing positive can be taken from reading the hate from those who could never do what you do. Armchair point guards at best, frustrated ballers in most cases and completely inadequate in their basketball knowledge to criticize your play in almost all of their posts. Keep playing hard and thanks for all you dedication to the Rebels, UNLV and Las Vegas. I appreciate all your hard work...

  3. Anthony... I had you projected to be the assist leader in the MWC. So far, seemingly unbeknownst to our fan base, that's been accurate. Cool thing is... looks like you're just getting warmed up. 12 against AF??? Go Get'em! We'll be there to raise the roof for ya'!!!

  4. BTW... Dave Rice is the winningest 1st year coach in UNLV history. Oh... and he had possibly the best recruiting year ever.

    Coach K is the winningest active coach (with time under belt) @ 76.7%

    Dave Rice's winning % is 78.4%.

    Let's FIRE him now before he gets really good. There are so many other coaches that will come to UNLV amidst a budget crisis, tell the President that he doesn't care how much he's paid, and go 40-12 in 1.5 yrs.

    We have a young talented team, and a young talented coaching staff, and we've not had anything close to a cupcake schedule. Nor are we going to. The team that wins the MWC will be lucky to go 12-4 this year, US INCLUDED.

    So brace yourselves, count blessings, and enjoy the growth. We're like, 12 years old and 6'7"... gonna take a little time to put one foot in front of the other... but in the mean time, keep up the imperfect, but incredibly good work Rebels!!!

    If I was a player, I'd stop listening to this c&#$ too!