Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 | 3 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 | 6:05 p.m.
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Colorado State 66, UNLV 61
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Dorian Green scored 24 points and Colorado State weathered UNLV's late charge to pull out a 66-61 victory against the Rebels in Moby Arena on Saturday evening.
Anthony Marshall took over for UNLV (15-4, 2-2) in the final 10 minutes, but when he picked up his fourth foul with about 3:50 left he lost a lot of the aggressiveness that had helped him push the Rebels into the lead. Marshall finished with 21 points and six rebounds.
For Colorado State, Greg Smith scored 16 points and, predictably, it was Pierce Hornung who swooped in in the final 40 seconds to grab a key offensive rebound that allowed the Rams to ice the game at the free-throw line.
The Rams were the better team overall but UNLV had some big stretches in the second half that made this a great game down the stretch. The Rebels led by three with 3:23 remaining and then got outscored 10-2 the rest of the way.
Of concern for UNLV was Anthony Bennett's performance, during which he was limited because it appeared he was tired. If it was because of the altitude here, he'll have to get used to that at Wyoming and Air Force, too. Mike Moser didn't play much down the stretch and it's not clear if that was a coach's decision or if getting hit in the elbow earlier in the game really affected him.
Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from this game and what lies ahead for the Rebels return home to host Wyoming on Thursday.
Colorado State 50, UNLV 50
6:30 remaining in the second half
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Whenever UNLV needs a basket, it's going to Anthony Marshall for a drive into the lane. It's worked more often than it hasn't today, but the Rebels will need more than that to pull out a victory.
UNLV led by three when Marshall went to the bench. At that point the Rams went on an 8-0 run to regain the lead as the Rebels lacked an offensive counter to CSU's attack. Once he came back in the Rebels got back into the game, with almost all of their points coming either from Marshall or plays he set up by getting into the lane.
Marshall has 14 points while Katin Reinhardt has 11. Anthony Bennett has been in and out of the game against int he second half as he deals with what appear to be conditioning issues. He just looks really tired.
Down the stretch you can expect Marshall to key almost all of the Rebels' possessions, but UNLV will need someone else (Brcyce Dejean-Jones? Mike Moser?) to step up and hit a few big baskets. Maybe it could be Khem Birch, who has been in good position to get offensive rebounds off misses most of the night.
Colorado State 36, UNLV 36
15:57 remaining in the second half
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Katin Reinhardt has caught fire a little bit in the second half, and CSU has to regret not holding onto its 10-point lead late in the first half as UNLV briefly took the lead just 1:20 into the second half.
In addition to Reinhardt, Bennett, Moser and Birch have looked pretty good in the opening minutes. Bennett may have to play in spurts because of how tired he has been getting today, but when he's got his energy he's controlling the paint at both ends.
Colorado State 31, UNLV 26
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — UNLV is shooting less than 30 percent from the field and it has two more turnovers than assists at halftime. Really, the Rebels are lucky to only trail by five at the half considering the deficit was 10 with less than 2 minutes to play.
CSU's Dorian Green is leading all scorers with 11 points, most of them coming behind the three-point line. Anthony Marshall leads the Rebels with six points while Katin Reinhardt and Anthony Bennett each have five. Bennett played only 14 minutes and often looked gassed in the first half. Perhaps it's the altitude, but whatever it is it's definitely hurting UNLV's offense.
Mike Moser had his elbow bent back while grabbing a rebound earlier, and after briefly leaving the court he came back with a little extra support on that right arm. He's not the Rebels' problem. What really hurts is that Reinhardt and Justin Hawkins are a combined 2-for-8 on 3s, a percentage that has helped negate the Rebels' solid efforts on the boards. They trail the Rams by just one in rebounds and actually have one more offensive rebound than does CSU.
Overall the Rebels are 8-for-29 from the field and they have just four assists to six turnovers. That plus only six points in the paint are big reasons UNLV faces this deficit.
Like I said, though, the score could be a lot worse. UNLV is lucky to be this close, and because of that it has a chance to wipe away the first-half struggles — including a nearly eight-minute scoring drought — with a couple of quick baskets. The Rebels need to get something going in the paint, where Bennett's struggles haven't helped anything.
Colorado State 21, UNLV 17
7:54 remaining in the first half
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The pace has slowed down and the action's getting a little sloppy, but so far CSU is doing a better job fighting through it. Dorian Green has 11 points and while UNLV is getting good shots it hasn't been able to knock them down yet.
The Rebels are shooting 33 percent compared to the Rams' 44 percent. UNLV is leading in rebounds, though, 13-8. I still think that's the most important stat long term in this game, so if the Rebels keep that up they'll have a chance.
Colorado State 10, UNLV 7
15:49 remaining in the first half
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The main thing UNLV can't afford to do today is give up offensive rebounds. Colorado State scored its first two baskets by doing just that, and Dave Rice quickly pulled Mike Moser, who gave up at least one of the boards.
The Rams also have a pair of 3-pointers, though one was kind of fluky so UNLV is more OK giving that up. But inside, CSU is one of the best teams in the nation at winning 50/50 balls and getting to the glass. That's how the Rams win games, and the Rebles know it. So above all else, preventing that from happening has to be UNLV's primary focus.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — This is it for Colorado State. Glance down at those starters and you can see that next season, the Rams must replace all five of them. And with Larry Eustachy now in charge after five years of Tim Miles, it’s unclear which direction the program will go.
So this is the year for CSU. It’s not exactly now or never, because it’s possible that Eustachy could find even better consistency or success in the coming years. The point is the future is very much an unknown in Fort Collins, whereas the current team is arguably the best in school history.
The Rams are riding a 23-game winning streak at Moby Arena into today’s game against UNLV at 4 p.m. Las Vegas time on NBC Sports Network. They nearly won at San Diego State last week, something the Rebels pulled off a few days later.
That may seem like it gives UNLV a bit of an advantage, but I think that would be a mistake. The Aztecs were great offensively in that game, hitting eight 3-pointers in the first half. That’s hard for anyone to overcome, yet the Rams still went to overtime before bowing out.
Although UNLV had, at least on paper, an advantage inside against the Aztecs, the Rams match up much better in the front court. As I wrote yesterday, they’re arguably the best rebounding team in the country thanks largely to forward Pierce Hornung, who had 17 rebounds in CSU’s NCAA Tournament loss to Murray State last season, and Colton Iverson, a Minnesota transfer who has helped take CSU to the next level from pleasant surprise to serious Sweet Sixteen contender.
The Rams crushed Air Force by 39 in their most recent game, which also was at home. So while UNLV flew from San Diego to Las Vegas on Thursday, then from Las Vegas to Denver with a bus ride up to Fort Collins on Friday, the Rams have been sitting at home waiting for what is likely the biggest game of their season thus far.
It’s a difficult trip against a tough team that is putting everything it has into this season. If the Rebels come out on top, I’d consider it more impressive than the victory in San Diego.
THE OTHER SIDE
Colorado State projected lineup
G — Dorian Green, 6-2, Sr, 11.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 3.8 apg
G — Wes Eikmeier, 6-3, Sr, 11.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 85 ft%
F — Greg Smith, 6-6, Sr, 11.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 40 3fg%
F — Pierce Hornung, 6-5, Sr, 9.6 ppg, 10.3 rpg, 2.2 apg
F — Colton Iverson, 6-10, Sr, 14.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 58.9 fg%
Sixth man — G, Daniel Bejarano, 6-4, So, 7.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 78.9 ft%
Best name: Jon Octeus, G, 6-4, So
Extra storyline: Just sort of an interesting note: The starting lineups will feature nearly half transfer players. UNLV will likely start two (Mike Moser and Khem Birch) with Bryce Dejean-Jones coming off the bench, and Colorado State has Eikmeier (Iowa State) and Iverson (Minnesota) starting, with Bejarano (Arizona) the first guy off the bench.
Kenpom line: Colorado State -6
Vegas line: Colorado State -4
Bern’s take: I had a feeling UNLV would win at San Diego State. I have the same feeling the Rebels aren’t going to make it two in a row today. There’s just too much going against them in a tough spot against a really, really good team. Colorado State 73, UNLV 65