Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010 | 8:01 p.m.
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Ryan Greene and Ray Brewer discuss UNLV's 70-39 victory over Colorado State on Saturday, which snapped a 3-game skid. Plenty of fans decided to stay home, but those who showed up at the Mack saw a well-rounded performance, highlighted by Anthony Marshall's first career triple-double. With a further thinned-out rotation, can the Rebels keep it up throughout the rest of their stretch run?
Consider Oscar Bellfield the least surprised person in the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday afternoon.
Asked about freshman guard Anthony Marshall's 12-point, 10-rebound performance in a 70-39 victory against Colorado State, Bellfield let out a wide grin.
Bellfield knew it was coming.
"I see it every day in practice," he said. "He can compete, score baskets, knock down mid-range, stop people defensively and grab defensive rebounds like he's a big man."
And most importantly against the Rams, Marshall sparked the Rebels, losers of three straight heading into the game, early.
UNLV's coaches stressed putting an emphasis on driving to the basket instead of settling for jump shots against Colorado State. Marshall took that to heart.
He beat his defender off the dribble on UNLV's second possession and tossed in an easy layup. He didn't stop for the rest of the game.
Marshall either zipped his way to the basket to rack up points for himself or initiated the offense with his fearless penetration.
"I was just trying to go in there aggressive," Marshall said. "I knew it was going to help this ballclub."
As much as Marshall's scoring and rebounding contributed to the victory, UNLV coach Lon Kruger commended another aspect of his game — defense.
It was an efficient all-around game for Marshall and arguably the best of his young UNLV career.
"He's just developing his game with each week," Kruger said. "You are going to see that continue for the next three and a half years."
Marshall said he already felt like a totally different player from the beginning of the season. It didn't take Marshall long to showcase his talents in practice, but he sometimes regressed in games.
At times, he felt overwhelmed with the speed of the college game, but not anymore.
"Earlier in the season, I thought everything was fast-paced," Marshall said. "Now that the season has gone on, I feel more comfortable and see how things are slowing down. I'm able to read the defense better and make plays for my teammates."
This is the way UNLV needs Marshall to play as Derrick Jasper continues to miss time with a sprained knee ligament. When Jasper went down earlier this month, Kruger knew he would have to rely more on Marshall.
Although Marshall wasn't a major factor immediately after Jasper's injury, he's progressed in each of the last three games. He scored 12 points in last weekend's loss to San Diego State and grabbed nine rebounds in Wednesday's defeat at Utah.
It all came together against Colorado State.
"You'll take this for sure," Kruger said, "a guy getting a double-double."
UNLV will need Marshall at his best for the rest of the season as it fights for a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Does Bellfield think Marshall can keep it up? Certainly.
"Anthony is athletic and capable of doing that each night," Bellfield said. "That's what we need from him. He can get better each game."