Published Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 | 6:19 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010 | 8:50 p.m.
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Final, UNLV wins 78-50
LARAMIE, Wyo. — Wyoming scored three seconds into the game, and from that point on, momentum would belong to the visitors, as UNLV blasted the Cowboys on their home floor, 78-50, on Wednesday night.
Junior forward Matt Shaw caught fire late for the Rebels, leading all scorers with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting, including a 2-of-2 performance from 3-point range. He also had five rebounds, as the Rebels owned the glass without their second-leading rebounder this season on the bench with a sprained left MCL.
Shaw was also huge right out of the half, scoring five points during a 10-1 run to open the second frame, expanding UNLV's 13-point halftime lead to an insurmountable margin. On the night, UNLV had 20 assists to only nine turnovers, while Wyoming had seven assists and 14 giveaways.
Elsewhere, Tre'Von Willis scored 15 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for the Rebels, who improve to 18-4 on the season and 6-2 in conference play at the mid-way point in their Mountain West schedule.
That means that if UNLV can overcome BYU at home on Saturday afternoon in a 1 p.m. showdown, Lon Kruger's club will be tied for first place in the league.
For full coverage of tonight's game, including stories, photos and stats, stay tuned to lasvegassun.com/rebels.
4:47, second half, UNLV leads 66-41
LARAMIE, Wyo. — Another positive to come out of UNLV's late-game blowout in Laramie: Anthony Marshall boosted his offensive confidence a bit.
The high-flying freshman guard hit a 10-foot jumper on the right elbow, then scored a tough layup inside while drawing harm. He's just one of several Rebels who have found a groove tonight as UNLV has played with confidence from start to finish.
The Rebels have answered the bell in the rebounding department with the absence of Derrick Jasper. They've out-boarded Wyoming so far, 37-31, led by Tre'Von Willis's eight caroms to go with his game-high 15 points.
Chalk this up as another instance of the Rebels not overlooking a non-marquee opponent, as they're en route to improving to 18-4 on the season and 6-2 in league play. That mean's Saturday's game with BYU will be for a tie atop the Mountain West standings.
11:36, second half, UNLV leads 52-37
LARAMIE, Wyo. — Wyoming has made a minor push with a pair of Ryan Dermody 3-pointers, but still, the Cowboys have a massive mountain to climb. UNLV made sure of that by opening the second half on a 10-1 run after holding a 13-point edge at the half.
The only area where UNLV is hurting a bit here early in the half is with foul trouble amongst the big men. Darris Santee picked up three fouls in the first 2:30 of the second half, while Brice Massamba was limited to just five minutes in the first half with three of his own.
Matt Shaw was big offensively in that early run, hitting a 3-pointer atop the key to go with a nice turnaround jumper inside.
Wyoming's chances of holding onto any momentum, however, were stunted by a Heath Schroyer technical foul from the bench. It sucked a decent amount of the cold air out of the A-A.
Halftime, UNLV leads 40-27
LARAMIE, Wyo. — Darris Santee hit an 8-foot jumper from the elbow as time expired in the first half, making him the 10th Rebel to score in the first half as UNLV headed to the locker room with a solid 40-27 lead on Wyoming.
The Rebels were 18-of-37 from the floor in the first 20 minutes, were strong on the boards and only had two turnovers.
It was as sound of a first half as UNLV has played during its Mountain West Conference schedule this season.
Here are some numbers of note from the first half ...
— Chace Stanback led the Rebels with nine points on 4-of-8 shooting. He also has three rebounds. Oscar Bellfield added eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers while UNLV was pulling away early on.
— UNLV has received a good combined contribution from its bench. Matt Shaw has four points, Santee has three rebounds, Steve Jones provided one of the first half's defensive highlights in taking a charge from Wyoming's 7-foot-2 Boubacar Sylla.
— Wyoming is all over the place offensively, going 8-of-23 from the floor so far. The Cowboys are also doing themselves no favors at the free throw line, going 8-of-13.
— The Rebels have only allowed four offensive rebounds. The biggest accomplishment inside, though, is the quieting of Adam Waddell, who had 22 rebounds in his last time out. The 6-foot-10 sophomore center has two points and one rebound in 16 minutes of play.
— While UNLV only has two turnovers, Wyoming has committed 10.
— The lone blemish on UNLV's stat line? A 3-for-14 showing from 3-point range. I must say, the rims here are pretty tight and unforgiving.
6:09, first half, UNLV leads 31-19
LARAMIE, Wyo. — UNLV continues to not allow Wyoming off the mat, and everyone is contributing as the Rebels hold a strong 31-19 lead over the Cowboys late in the first half.
Nine of the 10 Rebels to play so far have scored, with Matt Shaw most recently getting into the act with a pair of buckets inside.
Anthony Mashall and Kendall Wallace have both been effective so far filling in for Derrick Jasper. Wallace has two points, two rebounds and two assists, while Marshall recently fed Tre'Von Willis inside for an easy deuce.
On the defensive end, the Rebels are playing with attitude. The two biggest highlights so far have been a Chace Stanback block against Wyoming's 7-foot-2 Boubacar Sylla. Then, Sylla off of a spin move was called for a charge as Steve Jones took the impact.
The Rebels are an efficient 14-of-28 from the floor and have out-rebounded the Cowboys so far, 15-11.
This is a pretty dominating first half for the Rebels, as they've kept pretty good focus in a non-marquee matchup leading into a tough 3-game stretch beginning Saturday against BYU.
15:37, first half, UNLV leads 14-6
LARAMIE, Wyo. — It's safe to say that this is as well as UNLV has started a game all season, as the Rebels lead Wyoming in the early minutes, 14-6.
A crowd of maybe 2,000 hasn't had much reason to be excited since an A.J. Davis layup off the opening tip, which gave Wyoming its only lead so far.
Everyone's getting in on the action for the Rebels, as Lon Kruger has used nine of his 10 players in the first four minutes.
Chace Stanback picked up a foul just three seconds into the game, but responded with a bucket on the other end and also has two rebounds.
The big highlight so far for UNLV is a follow-up dunk by Brice Massamba in transition off of a missed shot by Oscar Bellfield. Massamba took off from about seven feet away from the hoop and threw it home with authority.
So far, UNLV is 6-of-11 from the floor, while Wyoming is just 2-of-4.
LARAMIE, Wyo. — Before UNLV can get to the fireworks which are the next two weeks in Mountain West Conference play, the Rebels first must test their new rotation sans Derrick Jasper tonight at Wyoming.
The Cowboys, who come in at 9-12 overall and 2-5 in the league, on paper are truly limping into tonight's contest.
Leading scorer Afam Muojeke is out for the year with a knee injury, and thought it appears that sophomore center Adam Waddell, who had 22 rebounds in his last time out, will play, the Cowboys are still looking for consistent scoring punch with the absence of their star.
Derrick Jasper, on the other hand, is not necessarily UNLV's star this season, but he's been beyond key towards the Rebels' 17-4 start to the season. The team's second-leading rebounder at 4.9 rpg is out for 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee, and this is the first time Lon Kruger's club will take the floor without him for a full game this season.
Everyone knows what Kendall Wallace, Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins are capable of in his place. The key for UNLV tonight, though, is focus. Plain and simple.
UNLV's two biggest home games of the non-conference season are — you guessed it — their next two, with BYU coming to town on Saturday afternoon and New Mexico making its presence felt at the Mack next Wednesday night. After that is an always-dangerous trip to San Diego State.
If UNLV has proven one thing this year, it's that Lon Kruger's club has matured from a year ago and has yet to really overlook anyone, either in the conference or out of it.
That shouldn't be an issue. As far as the physical aspect, here are tonight's three keys to UNLV victory.
1) Kendall Wallace hitting threes isn't necessarily a must, but the junior guard has to do more. He was aggressive in going after defensive rebounds in the second half last Tuesday against Air Force, and that has to be duplicated. As far as his offensive presence, he could serve himself well by putting the ball on the floor and going to the rack a couple of times early, just to give Wyoming something to think about.
2) Staying with the 'replacing Derrick Jasper' theme, it's time for Anthony Marshall to snap his offensive funk. He's dealt with some confidence issues of late and has hesitated to pull the trigger with his jump-shot which was deadly in high school and has looked improved in practice of late.
3) Tre'Von Willis simply needs to play how he has all year on the road. Last year, he was one of the few Rebels who wasn't awful offensively in a loss at Wyoming. UNLV's leading scorer on the season is averaging 19 points per game in true road contests.
BONUS 4) The big men need to help fill that rebounding void left by Jasper. That really needs no further explanation.
Prediction and 'Pick to Click'
I'm gonna take UNLV, 77-64. I bet it's close for a half, but the lack of depth for Wyoming due to injuries will hurt the Cowboys down the stretch. As for a 'Pick to Click', I'm going to take the obvious choice — Tre'Von Willis. With the way he's played on the road this year, what should lead anyone to believe he'll be anything short of solid?
Talk to you after tip-off at the Arena-Auditorium (yes, that's the name of this place. By the way, forgot what winter felt like. SHEESH!)