Erin Hull / The Coloradoan / AP
Published Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 | 5 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 | 8 p.m.
Colorado State 75, UNLV 57
Daniel Bejarano registered 24 points and and 10 rebounds as Colorado State bludgeoned UNLV in a near wire-to-wire 75-57 victory tonight at Moby Arena. The Rams finished the game shooting 50 percent from the field.
Khem Birch finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds as one of the few bright spots of an ugly night for the Rebels. Deville Smith scored 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting, while four Rams finished in double-figure scoring. And after trailing on the boards all game CSU came back to win the rebounding battle by one.
Colorado State consistently scored on simple cuts to the basket down the middle of the lane. The Rams would rotate guys around until Khem Birch was a little ways away from the basket, and then charge into the lane off a couple of picks. Sometimes the Rebels weren't even able to recover in time to contest the layup.
UNLV finished with only nine turnovers but that was a large problem in the first half, when it committed at least six of them. That helped stall an already sluggish offensive attack. UNLV finished the game shooting 35.6 percent from the field and 50 percent at the free-throw line.
The Rebels fall to 15-8 overall and 6-4 in conference play. Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from the Rebels' third straight loss at Moby Arena.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — The lasting image from UNLV’s last trip to Colorado State's Moby Arena was Anthony Bennett trudging up the court while the rest of the game played out before him. And that was in the first half.
The Rebels don’t have to worry about Bennett sucking wind again this year. He’s got a whole new set of issues with the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, for most of UNLV’s rotation this is the first trip here — and generally with it comes a learning curve.
The Rams and Rebels tip off at 6 p.m. Las Vegas time and will stream on ESPN3.com. The game originally was scheduled for 8 p.m. on ESPNU.
A key difference in this year’s matchup is the relative strength of Colorado State (12-10, 3-6). The team Tim Miles built and Larry Eustachy took to the NCAA Tournament has mostly graduated, leaving behind only a couple of contributors in Daniel Bejarano and Jon Octeus. And even that’s been an issue lately.
Bejarano was benched Saturday for most of the Rams’ home loss to San Diego State because during a team huddle he yelled at and charged toward Eustachy. Teammates had to hold Bejarno back. Eustachy, citing poor body language in his postgame comments, sat Bejarano for the remainder of the game.
Both guys downplayed the incident heading into this game and it may turn out to be nothing, but internal conflict that boils over in such a public manner is rarely good.
One big positive for the Rams is the play of Navy transfer J.J. Avila. Listed at 6-foot-7 and 246 pounds, he’s not going to impress too many people with his athleticism, but Avila is nothing if not productive. He’s averaging 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game overall, and in conference play he’s at a double-double (14.9 and 10).
In a conference full of transfers, Colorado State probably has relied on them more than any other team over the last few years. Bejarano, Octeus and Avila all started their careers elsewhere, as did two of the five starters last year. That number will only increase next season as the Rams have four guys sitting out due to transfer rules, including Chane Behanan, who helped Louisville win the 2013 NCAA Tournament title.
So the future is bright in Fort Collins. The present, less so. The Rams don’t shoot well and they’ve already lost four home games.
Today is their chance to attempt to get something out of this season and they’ll need everything, including the altitude, in their favor to do it.
Bern’s (super specific) prediction: The Rebels will foul up three and CSU will fall by two after hitting the first free throw and failing to get the rebound on the second miss. UNLV 64, Colorado State 62
Season: ATS 15-7, O/U 14-6-2