Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009 | 2:28 a.m.
Ryan Greene and Christine Killimayer delve into what was No. 18 UNLV's 95-80 loss to Kansas State on Saturday at the Orleans Arena. The Wildcats shot the lights out, while the Rebels had a hard time doing much of anything in their first loss of the 2009-10 season. Plus, a look ahead at a week which favors a UNLV team with wounds to lick.
It sure appeared that way, though. The same holds true for his Kansas State teammates.
Kelly, who picked the Manhattan, Kan., school over UNLV in the summer of 2008 when transferring from Connecticut, had 13 points in 33 minutes and helped lead the Wildcats to a 95-80 victory against the No. 17 Rebels at the Orleans Arena.
The 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward from Bronx, N.Y., added two blocked shots and was a force inside, helping Kansas State (9-1) to its sixth straight victory and what likely should be a spot in the top 25 when the polls are released Monday.
"I was pretty relaxed and just played my game," Kelly said. "I didn't think of going after them. There was no personal motivation."
The Wildcats connected on 10 of their initial 12 shots of the second half in building their advantage to more than 20 points. They had led 42-34 at halftime.
Part of the outburst included Kelly converting a 3-point play — and showing some emotion in the process.
He dribbled through the lane and made a layup while being fouled, then proceeded to hit his chest twice while yelling in the direction of the nearby UNLV student section in celebration.
Still, he says there is no animosity toward UNLV.
"Jacob and Denis got hot. Too hot if you ask me," Kelly said. "That was (the game) in a nut shell."
Kansas State shot 67 percent in the second half and the duo of Pullen and Clemente seemingly scored at will. Pullen described a conversation with UNLV's Oscar Bellfield mid-game when the Rebels' guard commented on how Pullen and Clemente couldn't miss a shot.
"But I would have said the same thing if No. 0 (Bellfield) was doing that to me," he jokingly said.
It was the type of performance that has become commonplace for the Wildcats. They were equally impressive in an 86-69 win against Washington State on Dec. 5 and a 71-56 victory against Xavier on Tuesday.
"They are pretty good, especially when you make as many shots as they did," UNLV's Tre'Von Willis said.
Kansas State hopes the effort will be rewarded when the polls are released. The Wildcats received 59 votes this week in the Associated Press rankings — four spots shy of No. 25.
"This should be the game that puts us in the rankings," Kelly said. "At least, I hope so."
The Orleans Arena, a Boyd Gaming facility located just west of the Las Vegas Strip, is one of the nation’s leading mid-sized arenas, and was recently ranked No. 1 in the United States and No. 5 internationally among venues of similar size by Venues Today Magazine.
The Arena hosts more than 200 events each year, including concerts by top names like Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Van Halen, Brooks & Dunn, Black Eyed Peas, Akon and Rihanna; family favorites like The Harlem Globetrotters and Circus Spectacular; and a wide variety of sporting events, including NCAA basketball tournaments, the West Coast Conference and Western Athletic Conference Basketball Championships, mixed martial arts with Superior Cage Combat, and major motorsports events.
The arena serves as home to the Las Vegas Wranglers professional ECHL hockey team, the Las Vegas Legends professional indoor soccer team, and the Lingerie Football League’s Las Vegas Sin. Stay connected to the Orleans Arena on Facebook (www.facebook.com/orleansarena) and on Twitter (@orleansarena).