Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Published Thursday, March 21, 2013 | 3 p.m.
Updated Thursday, March 21, 2013 | 7:15 p.m.
- Bennett the key to Rebels’ bid to finally move on in NCAA Tournament
- Tourney Treats: Stories and trends to watch for in the Syracuse-Montana game
- Tourney Treats: Mountain West officially back in the ESPN family
- Tourney Treats: Special prop bets available for UNLV-Cal game
- Tourney Treats: Upsets in the 12 vs. 5 games a March Madness tradition
- Rebels’ newcomers eager to live their dreams in NCAA Tournament
- Tourney Treats: UNLV-Cal rematch was ‘best we could do,’ committee chair says
- Ray Brewer: Making four straight tournaments is nice for UNLV duo, but there is more to achieve
- Cal’s Crabbe on UNLV matchup: ‘It’s like a home game for us’
- Rebels ready to get down to business in NCAA Tournament rematch
- NCAA Tournament opening lines: UNLV a 2.5-point favorite against Cal
- All UNLV men's basketball coverage
- NCAA Tournament bracket
- All the Sun's NCAA Tournament coverage
Cal 64, UNLV 61
UNLV is out of the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 64 for the fourth consecutive season after losing 64-61 to Cal on Thursday evening in the HP Pavilion. The Rebels finished the year 25-10.
Cal's Allen Crabbe scored 19 points in a dominant performance that was nearly as hard as it should have been. The UNLV defense didn't challenge him coming off of screens, instead trailing him as he went straight to the basket. And Golden Bears big man Robert Thurman went 6-for-7 from the field, all of them dunks. UNLV's apparent advantage inside was nowhere to be found against Cal's zone.
Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins end their careers 0-4 in NCAA Tournaments, after the Rebels went more than 11 minutes without scoring a field goal against Cal. First-time tournament participants Katin Reinhardt and Bryce Dejean-Jones were a combined 9-for-29.
The Rebels never really challenged for the game in the second half despite Cal giving them every opportunity. Legitimate gripes aside — the should have been called foul with 6 seconds left that wasn't called until there were less than two — UNLV has only itself to blame. The Rebels didn't play well enough to win.
The Mountain West is now 0-2 in this year's tournament and No. 5 seeds are 0-2 in San Jose alone as Oregon picked off Oklahoma State earlier in the day.
Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full recap from tonight's season-ending loss.
Cal 50, UNLV 43
7:33 remaining in the second half
This is it, for the Rebels. There's enough time left in the game for it to go either way, but there won't be for long. If UNLV is going to have any chance to advance out of the Round of 64 for the first time since 2008, it has to do something right now.
The Rebels can't wait. They can't hope Cal gives it away, because it doesn't look like the Golden Bears will. This is on UNLV and how much its players are willing to do to actually win this game. Because so far, it hasn't been nearly enough.
UNLV hasn't scored in more than nine minutes, going 0-for-12 during that stretch. This is the season, right here, and we're going to find out how much the Rebels seem to care about that.
Cal 41, UNLV 37
15:49 remaining in the second half
UNLV didn't learn from its bad start in the first half and again came out flat to start the second half. Cal went on a 9-3 run this time before UNLV coach Dave Rice's timeout to stop the run.
Cal's Allen Crabbe already has 10 points this half and he hasn't had to work particularly hard to get them. His first two buckets were off identical plays where he came from the baseline off one screen and made a play in the lane. With Bryce Dejean-Jones only trailing it was an easy path to the rim for Crabbe. Now that he's hot, UNLV could be in some big trouble.
UNLV 28, Cal 28
Bryce Dejean-Jones has 10 points and UNLV overcame a quick 7-0 deficit to lead most of the first half before going into halftime tied at 28 with Cal in the HP Pavilion.
Dejean-Jones and Katin Reinhardt attempted 19 of the team's 32 shot attempts. Reinhardt is 3-for-10 and Anthony Bennett has three points. Khem Birch, who wasn't yet eligible in the first game, has four blocks.
Depite having a clear advantage in the front court, UNLV trails points in the paint 16-10. Against Cal's zone the Rebels have attempted 11 3-pointers, eight of them from Dejean-Jones/Reinhardt, while attacking drives to the rim have been few and far between.
It's a tie game so everything is still out there for the Rebels to take. And they're shooting well enough from 3 — 5-for-11 — to justify some more shots out there. The problem is that if they don't fall and the Rebels fall behind, their MO says they'll just shoot more and more of them to try to dig themselves out of a hole. That's what Cal's counting on.
In order to avoid that situation UNLV needs to up its percentage of drives to the basket (looking at you, Anthony Marshall) and try to get Bennett going. He showed in the Mountain West tournament that when he's on, points come easy. Why he hasn't been more assertive is something the Rebels need to figure out at halftime.
UNLV 17, Cal 14
7:41 remaining in the first half
The Rebels have recovered nicely since starting the game down 7-0, but it's important to note nearly every point has come off an isolation play. With a couple of exceptions, UNLV's offense is getting the ball to the wing and clearing out.
If Bryce Dejean-Jones (10 points) keeps shooting jumpers like he has so far that could be enough. After all, it's not like that hasn't been a predominant part of UNLV's offense all season. It just seems more excessive today, probably because Cal has played exclusively zone defense.
Also of note: Cal's Allen Crabbe is back in the game with two fouls.
Cal 9, UNLV 8
15:25 remaining in the first half
I'll never say a team or its fans should panic after only the first few minutes of a game, but there's a lot to be worried about in the way UNLV is playing thus far.
Now, the Rebels are only down one, but early on they seem content to shoot over Cal's zone defense instead of trying to pick it apart inside. They Rebels have hit a couple of 3s but I guarantee you Cal coach Mike Montgomery would be OK taking that trade-off. If UNLV hits them, great, but Cal is betting they won't.
After one deep 3 fell for UNLV, the Golden Bears countered with an alley-oop dunk. The point is one is a much higher percentage shot and shows that you know how to move the defense away from where you want them. The other is a 3.
There are a lot of similarities between the point guards in today’s Round of 64 game. In fact, both UNLV’s Anthony Marshall and Cal’s Justin Cobbs are probably miscast with that title.
Combo guard is closer and in an ideal world both probably would have spent this season playing primarily shooting guard. That’s not what their teams needed, though, so when the teams tip-off today at 4:27 p.m. on truTV both guys will bring the ball up the court — one of them for the last time this season — and try to once more lead their team to a victory. They may not be exactly fit for the role but both guys have played very well this season as they searched for the right balance between passing and scoring.
If things go UNLV’s way the game should be decided in the paint. If Cal controls the pace it could be a more guard-oriented battle, making the Cobbs-Marshall back and forth all the more important.
I don’t need to tell you Marshall is 0-3 in NCAA Tournament games (though I guess I just did, didn’t I). Cobbs is winless, too, though the junior’s losses are split between two schools. When he was a freshman at Minnesota the Golden Gophers lost to Xavier and last year Cal lost to South Florida.
By virtue of their positions, one of them is likely going to have the ball in their hands when the final seconds tick off. It will be a big moment in their lives made possible by what they do in the 40 minutes leading up to it.
Like I said, UNLV has a chance to run away with the game because of its inside play. But after watching another year of road struggles after the neutral no-show in the first half of last year’s NCAA Tournament, would anyone really be surprised if this comes down to the wire?
The answer is no. And with his habit of taking the final shot would anyone be surprised to see UNLV’s season come down to Marshall’s decision-making? That’s very possible, and how comfortable you are with that says a lot about how enjoyable or frustrating this season has been for you.
THE OTHER SIDE
Cal projected lineup
G — Justin Cobbs, 6-3, Jr, 15.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.8 apg
G — Tyrone Wallace, 6-4, Fr, 7.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 22.5 3fg%
G — Allen Crabbe, 6-6, Jr, 18.7 ppg, 6 rpg, 1.1 spg
F — David Kravish, 6-9, So, 8.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.7 bpg
F — Richard Solomon, 6-10, Jr, 8.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.7 topg
Sixth man — G, Ricky Kreklow, 6-6, So, 4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2 apg
Last meeting: Quintrell Thomas grabbed an offensive rebound and converted an and-one layup in the final seconds for a 76-75 victory on Dec. 9.
NCAA Tournament results
Cal — 19-17, won title in 1959
UNLV — 33-18, won title in 1990
Kenpom line: UNLV -3
Vegas line: UNLV -3.5
Bern’s pick: UNLV 69, Cal 66