Kantowski: Hustle and (no) flow — Rebels lose at home

Aztecs Spear Rebels

After winning four straight, the Rebels fall to San Diego State in overtime 68-66 Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack. With the win the Aztecs take over sole possession of first place in the Mountain West Conference standings.

UNLV vs. San Diego State

The Rebels take on the Aztecs in the Thomas and Mack Center. San Diego St. beat UNLV in overtime, 68-66. Launch slideshow »

UNLV Fan Photos

Photos of fans from Tuesday's game against San Diego State Launch slideshow »
The Rebel Room

SDSU POSTGAME: Another forgettable mess

Ryan Greene and Rob Miech discuss UNLV's 68-66 overtime loss to San Diego State, a game which was marred by an abundance of foul calls and absent offensive flow. The guys talk about just what the Aztecs did to stymie UNLV's recently consistent offensive attack, plus just how hard it will be for the Rebels to bounce back in The Pit on Saturday night.

Beyond the Sun

They didn't shoot field goals well; they didn't shoot free throws well; they couldn't get Kendall Wallace one good look at the basket, much less five; they lost track of the other team's best player twice in overtime; and, with time running out and a chance to win in both regulation and in overtime, they settled for a couple of long and hurried 3-point attempts instead of taking the ball to the rim.

No, the referees did not cause the Rebels to lose to San Diego State in the battle for first place at the halfway juncture of the Mountain West Conference season Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center.

But they sure did make it difficult to watch.

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Officials David Hall, Tom O'Neill and Eric Curry blew their whistles 44 times as the teams combined to shoot 59 free throws, transforming what should have been an entertaining game between the Mountain West's two most athletic teams into a tedious affair.

San Diego State (16-5, 6-2) won 68-66 when Kyle Spain hit two clutch 3-pointers in overtime, Rene Rougeau missed a very makeable layup and the Rebels (17-5, 5-3) somehow failed to get to the free throw line during the final 1:58, which was pretty hard to do in this one.

But even had the Rebels been more aggressive and given the zebras a chance to blow their whistles a couple of more times, there was no guarantee they would have made the free throws. They made 21 but missed 10 and that's generally not going to get it done when the guys in the dark shirts can run as fast and jump as high as you can.

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"Every game is going to be a little different in regard to flow," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said afterward.

He's right about that. But this one flowed like oil sludge in the crankcase of an old Buick.

"In this game there were a lot of free throws shot, a lot of people on both sides attacking the rim. But that's the nature of some games, while others have a little better flow."

Neither team made more baskets than it did free throws. It was the first time this season you could say that about the Rebels.

"More than anything, you've just got to play through that. You can't worry about the refs," said Rougeau, whose right-handed layup from the left-hand side slid across the rim with the Rebels trailing by one with 46 seconds remaining in overtime. "We've just got to play smarter. You can't blame the refs at all."

Well, you can blame them if you paid good money hoping to watch the teams run up and down the court instead of stroll to the free throw line.

Actually, the foul fest didn't begin until early in the second half when the Rebels were whistled for six quick ones to the Aztecs' two.

Some of the Rebels started complaining. On UNLV's next possession, the Aztecs were whistled for three fouls. Squeaky wheel gets the grease, I guess. Not to mention the ticky-tack foul calls.

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It got so crazy that during one play late in the game, when one of the Rebels apparently breathed on him, San Diego State's Lorrenzo Wade, the former Cheyenne star, stopped playing as if he heard another whistle.

But as I said, Kruger said and Rougeau said, the fouls and the whistles and even the missed free throws were not what beat the Rebels, although the latter might receive an honorable mention in the final analysis.

Above and beyond all that, San Diego State's athleticism was really the difference in this game. For once, the other team got most of the good lucks on offense. Luckily for the Rebels, Wade couldn't hit a wide-open jump shot to save his life -- he was 3 for 16 -- or the game wouldn't have been close. Whereas Wallace came off the bench to knock down one uncontested 3-pointer after another at Air Force on Saturday, he tried only two and didn't make any against San Diego State, as the long-limbed Aztecs never let him square up.

"San Diego State's a good ballclub," Kruger said. "They're long, rangy and that length bothered us on a lot of shots."

And when it didn't?

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  1. I'm not gonna blame the refs for this one either, but, MY GOD! It kills me how Hall and his misfits are considered the best officials in the MWC. The get in the way of every single game they call. By far the worst officiated game all season. I loved the traveling call on Bellfield when he moved out his pivot foot late in the 2nd half. That was gold... I think Hall needs to be downsized in this economy.

  2. The Rebels lost to a very good San Diego State team.

    Fisher knew how to win a big game and I think he out coached Kruger

    quit pointing the finger on officiating they call them as they see them

  3. Guys, I was going to respond but Dave Hall just whistled me for my fifth personal. I'm out.

  4. The zebras where unbelievable!

    They wouldn't blow the whistle in the first and called everything in the second half.

    We'll see who out coaches who down the road.

  5. toomanybongs, for a worthless reno fan, you sure do read and post on Rebel sites quite often. Either you're seeing the light, you're a crazy schizophrenic or as per usual you've had toomanybongs. Probably a lot of the last two.

    In the tons of articles that I've read on this game that pertain to the officiating, I have yet to hear about the expiration of the 35 second clock, the goal tend that the Sun gives credit to Wade for on Bellfield and the slap foul that was committed on Rougeau when the officials gave SDSU credit for a steal near the end of the game (which by the way the aztecs scored off of).

    "San Diego State's athleticism was really the difference in this game."

    Blah blah blah.

    Bungling by UNLV was what caused us to lose to a team we shouldn't have, not hear or in San Diego.

    The Rebels bungled away their 5th game of the year and I don't agree with you Ron that the officiating wasn't a culprit. Go back and watch the film again for the love of all that's holy.

  6. Fast:

    I still think this was more a case of San Diego State winning the game, rather than the Rebels losing it. I thought Fisher's guys did a good job on defense. The Rebels didn't get nearly the wide-open looks they usually get.

    Yes, I remember that 35-second no call in the first half. Yes, I thought the refs blew that one, too.
    Can't say I disagree about the other two, either.

    But no, I still don't think the refs cost the Rebels the game. I think on this night, the team that deserved to win did.