unlv basketball:

Ewing rips Rebels to enter 2,000-point club

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Wyoming guard Brandon Ewing is guarded by UNLV guard Tre'Von Willis during Wednesday's game in Laramie, Wyo. The Rebels lost, 77-68.

The Rebel Room

WYOMING POSTGAME: Rebels get 'Stanky Legged'

Ryan Greene and Rob 'Wise Owl' Miech discuss the Rebels' 77-68 setback on Wednesday night in Laramie. The Cowboys' effort was sparked by the combination of a sluggish start from the Rebs, plus a memorable performance by the dance-happy Brandon Ewing. Plus, the guys take a look at Saturday's home contest with BYU.

Box score

Beyond the Sun

LARAMIE, Wyo. – Brandon Ewing did it near the end of the first half, when it was announced that he had become the third Cowboy to drop in 2,000 career points.

He did it again, for a few moments, in the layup line before the second half.

“The Stanky Leg.”

It’s one of the newest dance maneuvers – picture a gyrating Elvis to a hip-hop beat. Ewing and his teammates practiced it before a mirror in a weight room before Wednesday night’s game.

A few of the students among the crowd of 4,703 in the Arena-Auditorium followed Ewing’s cue, too.

“That’s the new dance out right now, with the new song,” said a beaming Ewing outside his locker room late Wednesday night after the Cowboys’ 77-68 victory over the Rebels.

“I don’t know who sings it. I just wanted to bring it out on The Mtn.”

That’s the television arm of the league Ewing landed in from Chicago, and the 6-foot-2, 190-pound guard hoped some coaches from Louisville, Marquette, Purdue and DePaul were watching Wednesday.

For the record, the GS Boyz sing about that leg. And, for the record, those aforementioned schools, in order, were Ewing’s priority list out of Julian High.

One by one, each filled its needs at the point and Ewing was left with his fifth choice.

So that’s what a kid from Chicago, wearing the No. 23 of that legendary Chicago Bulls star, is doing out here in Wyoming?

“Oh man, you’ve got to ask some Midwest schools and some Big East schools,” Ewing said. “That’s on them. I was a steal for Wyoming, and it paid off.”

Ewing pelted UNLV with 29 points, bumping his career total as a Cowboy to 2,021.

He joined Fennis Dembo (2,311) and Flynn Robinson (2,049) as the only Wyoming players in that club.

“We have some legends who played here,” Ewing said. “To be in the same sentence with those guys is big. Hopefully, they hang my jersey up on Senior Night.”

Again, Ewing hopes folks from four specific programs have been watching him.

“Oh yeah, I play with a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I always do that. It lets those teams know what they missed. Also, I’m thankful I came to Wyoming.

“Because I probably wouldn’t have 2,000 points if I went to one of those other schools. I’ve also never made first-team all-conference. I just go out and play.”

His hot hand against the Rebels produced one of his favorite plays of the game, which didn’t result in his basket.

Joe Darger had just cut UNLV’s deficit, which had been 17 points, to 3 when Ewing drew some attention at the other end of the court.

He found Sean Ogirri open on the perimeter, and Ogirri drained a 3-point shot to give Wyoming its game-clinching cushion.

“I was driving and I knew people would try to commit to me,” Ewing said. “I was hitting a lot of shots this game, but I saw him open. I trust my teammates, and he knocked it down.”

Ewing played all but a minute Wednesday, going 8-for-16 from the field, including 5-for-8 from 3-point range, and 8-for-9 at the line.

He had 16 points in the first half, and sinking a 3-pointer on UNLV freshman guard Oscar Bellfield put Ewing in the 2,000-point club.

“We have to give him a lot more attention than we did, no question,” said Rebels coach Lon Kruger. “He had a lot of good looks in the first half that we just can’t let a good player have.”

Ewing said he got into a groove early Wednesday, which might have been a reference to him and his teammates in front of that mirror in the weight room.

Then, he said, it just carries into the second half.

“I think we played them too early on the road in the conference,” Ewing said of that 83-66 defeat to UNLV on Jan. 17. “That surprised some of our young guys. They took advantage of that.

“But they’re a great team. Well-coached. But tonight was just our night.”

The best thing about Laramie?

“You’re a celebrity,” Ewing said. “Out here, everyone loves you. It’s a big family.”

The worst thing about Laramie?

“Everybody knows you,” said Ewing, smiling. “That’s the worst.”

Wednesday night, he became one of the unforgettable Wyoming basketball players.

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