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Rebels don’t have any answers after another disappointing road loss

UNLV falls out of first place in the league after blowing a 16-point second-half lead and falling 66-59 at Colorado State


Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

UNLV guard Anthony Marshall watches as Colorado State fans storm the court after the Rams dropped the Rebels 66-59 at Moby Arena in Ft. Collins Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012.

Rebels vs. Colorado State

KSNV coverage of UNLV basketball playing against Colorado State, Feb. 29, 2012.

UNLV vs. Colorado State: Feb. 29, 2012

Colorado State fans rush the court after upsetting UNLV 66-59 Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 at Moby Arena in Ft. Collins. Launch slideshow »

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — No. 17 UNLV had an extra day to get a road victory in February, one more chance to answer the most confounding question of its otherwise stellar season. But Wednesday night ended just like all the rest.

Court stormed. Heads down. Another step back, this one a 66-59 loss to Colorado State that saw the Rebels blow a 16-point lead.

"I don’t have the words to express what just happened," junior guard Anthony Marshall said.

After the final buzzer, Marshall made his way through the crowd and took a seat on the scorer’s table while about a thousand green-and-gold clad fans, mostly students, partied on the court in front of him. It’s the fourth consecutive time a team has stormed its court against UNLV.

“I felt that feeling at TCU and it happened again tonight and that’s something I’m going to remember,” Marshall said. “I just sat there to take it all in, just use it as motivation as I do everything else and try not to let it happen again.”

The victory puts the Rams (18-10, 8-6) firmly in the NCAA Tournament conversation — a possible fourth bid for the league — and assures that UNLV (24-7, 8-5) can’t finish any higher than the third seed in the Mountain West tournament.

San Diego State and New Mexico are tied for first, one game ahead of UNLV, and no matter what those three teams do, the tiebreaker would come down to Wyoming, which favors the Aztecs and Lobos. A three-way tie for the conference regular-season title is still possible, but it’s very unlikely and also would ring a bit hollow after all of these disappointments.

The Rebels now are 6-7 in games played outside of Las Vegas. This was their last chance to prove to themselves that they’re capable of pulling out a victory in a hostile environment. The NCAA Tournament won’t be that bad, but it’s not in Vegas, either.

Instead of improving their psyche, UNLV saw a 16-point lead vanish over a 10-minute span in the second half, and once that happened it couldn’t muster a response.

“The focus tonight was simply competing for a regular-season conference title,” UNLV coach Dave Rice said. “I think the byproduct would have been confidence in March, I have no doubt about that, but that was not our focus.”

Senior guard Oscar Bellfield led UNLV with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting, including 5-for-8 behind the three-point line, and five assists. Marshall added 11 points, six rebounds, three assists and two highlight-worthy blocks, and senior center Brice Massamba, limited a bit by foul trouble, was solid in his minutes.

That wasn’t enough to balance the scales, though. Senior small forward Chace Stanback was a man possessed in the opening minutes, but then he finished 4-of-12 shooting. Sophomore forward Mike Moser grabbed two rebounds and shot 1-for-10, an ugly exclamation on a four-game stretch that saw him average 5.2 rebounds and 5.2 points on 8-for-34 shooting.

Shortly after the game, guards Justin Hawkins and Reggie Smith shot off expletives on Twitter. Marshall was somber and put the blame on his shoulders.

“Certainly our guys will take this one very hard, as we all should,” Rice said. “It’s one that was right there for us.”

That’s true, but the outcome was also inevitable because the Rebels showed that they still haven’t fixed any of the problems that have plagued their road losses.

Giving up offensive rebounds: From 3:11 to 1:01 in the second half, Colorado State forward Pierce Hornung grabbed three offensive rebounds that led to six points. His final board and basket, which was the 13th second-chance points the team scored in the second half, put the Rams up 63-59 and the Rebels wouldn’t score again.

“It was a recurring theme for us of not being able to get a timely defensive rebound,” Rice said.

Perimeter defense: The Rebels actually fulfilled one goal as Rams guards Wes Eikmeier and Dorian Green combined to shoot 1-for-11 behind the three-point line. Trouble is, perimeter defense also includes the dribble-drive, and on that measure Green laid waste to UNLV’s defense. He split every double-team and constantly found room to get his shot off on the way to a team-high 16 points.

“They played more minutes tonight than we did,” Rice said.

Mental toughness: UNLV committed just two turnovers the entire first half. In the first five minutes of the second half, it already had four. When the pressure rose and the crowd got loud, the Rebels shrunk and relied on jump shots, Marshall said, instead of attacking the rim.

UNLV was outscored in the second half 40-18, just more than a week after New Mexico did nearly the same thing, 39-18.

“In the second half they played harder than us,” Marshall said.

The script was too familiar. It was basically a combination of the blown lead at TCU and the second-half no-show at New Mexico. Without progress, it’s hard to believe that UNLV can excel outside of Vegas. Yet that’s exactly what Rice will tell his team that they’ll do, because he has to.

Rice put Wednesday’s loss at the top of the list and fans probably won’t argue. The Rebels fell in the same fashion once again, and all they can try to do now is get back up.

“We’ve got to rise above it,” Rice said. “We can’t get this game back.”

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]com. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. We don't make adjustments. It's easy to figure out. Bellfield's hot in the first half. CSU makes an adjustment and plays harder. These kids don't play with heart or commitment. And look at the stats. Brice had ONE, as ONE, rebound! Really?! That's just embarrassing. And what's more is watching in the last two minutes we gave up easy rebounds for CSU putbacks. We do nothing but stand around throwing up three pointers and then we stand around on defense and just watch. Amazing how uncommitted this team is to playing a full 40. Coaching really needs to step up...

  2. "It's the fourth consecutive time a team has stormed its court against UNLV"

    Fans usually do that when their team has won a game as the underdog. UNLV has been playing with a target on its back all season, and that's no easy task.

    Hard to make excuses tonight; UNLV owned CSU and controlled this game for 20 minutes. Then, as a home team will do, CSU came back, and UNLV failed to crash the boards. There seems to be a Rebel disconnect between "the run" and the rest of the game; when "the run" isn't on, there is defense to be played and rebounds to grab. I'm certain that coaches Rice and Augmon get that, given the UNLV squad they played on, I'm just not sure that the current team is ready, physically or mentally, to play 40 minutes of run-and-gun, high intensity basketball on both ends of the court.

    That's easy to say from the couch, though. One cannot discount the emotional impact of that blatant, criminal no-call when Marshall stole the ball and drove the open court for a sure bucket, but instead was deliberately fouled and tripped from the rear, with no call. CBS commentators couldn't believe it, and neither could I. The ref who failed to make that call should be investigated and suspended by the NCAA. In the old days, guys were allowed to get angry at such poor calls; today, with all the new technical foul rules emasculating the game, you just sort of have to sit there, on the hardwood, and shake your head, like Marshall did. I can see how that kind of poor officiating might get into one's head.

    Still, it isn't over until it's over -- and, ironically, that's the lesson the Rebels seem to be missing this season. If UNLV plays every minute like tonight's first twenty, they are a Final Four team. There were flashes of complete domination and brilliance in that 20 minutes. Here's hoping it all comes together in March.

    See you Saturday, Rebels!

  3. "hard to make excuses,"James? Then you make excuses.

  4. I like Coach Rice but I have to ask....wtf???

    When a team goes colder than a well diggers @ss why does he allow the depth of the bench to just sit on the bench?

  5. I think we've all figured out that this is just a lack of heart. They simply don't have it. Maybe they've bought into the hype about how good they are and forgot about the hard work it took to get that hype. They're not that good of a team to just show up and beat people. They have to work and put in that extra pass and fight for that extra rebound or steal to get out on the break. They need to go back and watch the tape against UNC and see how they fought for a full 40 minutes in that game and how they never quit on either end of the court. This has become a mental block they just can't seem to get over and is a big concern come tourney time.

  6. The key was the lack of rebounding. Every team has periods where the ball doesn't go in the basket, but you have to dig deep and play the rest of the game with extra effort. That did not happen. If they would have rebounded, the third opportunities for CSU would not have happened and the Rebels would have hung on. Athletes of this caliber should be able to play an entire game without being that fatigued that they have to stand around and watch the opposition grab rebounds that could have easily been theirs.

  7. Disclaimer: I like Dave Rice. I'm glad he is here. I don't want him fired.
    That being said, this is the crap that must come from hiring a coach with NO head coaching experience. If the guys are tired, which they were, use the f-ing bench. You used the whole bench in the first half= 14 point lead. You only used a six man rotation for the last 12 mins.= lost a 16 point lead and lost by an additional 7 points. Hey Dave, stop with the coach speak at the end of games ( we have to learn from this and get better as a team). You are the one who actually needs to get better. The last two road games have produced double digit leads that fell and they lost, in the second half, when you can see that the guys have no more gas.

  8. no killer instinct? dont expect much in the playoffs.

  9. Outscored 40-18 in the second half? I thought Dave Rice said that he only knows one way to play and that is to push the basketball as fast as you can. We walked the ball up almost every possesion and stood around waiting for someone to take a forced shot. Then on the other end CSU got any open look they wanted. Why does it seem like every game in conference we are forced to play the other teams style? I think that it is only fair to question Coach Rice and his staff. Watching us play with a good lead is like slow torture. You know we are going to blow it and you just have to sit there and watch us unravel. Pathetic.

  10. Is there wonder why the Rebels come out flat on the road when the coach talks like this.

    -"The focus tonight was simply competing for a regular-season conference title," UNLV coach Dave Rice said. "I think the byproduct would have been confidence in March, I have no doubt about that, but that was not our focus."
    Really? How about saying, "Our goal was to come in tonight and WIN and put ourselves in position to WIN the regular season title and gain momentum and confindence going into March."

    -"We've certainly had some difficult losses this year and this is absolutely right at the top," Runnin' Rebels coach Dave Rice said. "I was so proud of the way we came out against a very good Colorado State team and had our way in the first half, and then in the second half we ran out of gas."
    How about, "There was absolutely no excuse for the way we played in the second half and I was extremely dissapointed with how this team failed respond to the push that Colorado St gave us."

    -"I give Colorado State a ton of credit for how good they've been at home and their perseverance in this game. Give Colorado State credit. It's a lot harder to run when you're taking the ball out of bounds," Rice said. "They shot 48 percent in the second half."
    How about saying, "We had an opportunity to put this one away and we didn't.I put this loss on me because it's my job as coach to get these guys prepared to come out and play in a tough road environment and I didn't do that. I've failed to find a solution to our road woes all year and that is something we absolutely have to figure out going into the tournament in March."

    -"Certainly our guys will take this one very hard, as we all should," Rice said. "It's one that was right there for us."
    How about, "This is one that was right there for us again and we blew it."

    Coach Rice needs to find some balls and light a fire under this team instead of playing Mr. Nice Guy all the time and trying to say the right thing. I think the lack of leadership on the court when things get tough reflects his "Ho-hum" even-keeled attitude. I'd like to see some intensity and even a little bit of anger from Rice. After Marshall got tripped on that play that the refs failed to call Rice should have been right there in the refs face yelling for an explanation. Not sure if a tech would have helped UNLV at that moment but maybe it would have inspired the players to get behind their coach and sparked some momentum. It seemed to work the other night at the T&M against Air Force after Masamba got a tech late in the game. The team responded by puting Air Force away and winning the game.

  11. Im going to repeat one thing: IT seems as though in crunch time or when the Rebs need a basket, that there is NO DESIGNED plays. No GO TO player. The team doesnt know. And the Rebs CONTINUE to postup Massambe in crunch time, as in 1:46 left, and down 4 . HELLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO he cant hit free throws. Id much rather them post stanback and get him to the line. its UNBELIEVABLE.

  12. Rebels dont ahve anyone who can draw a foul and get to the line in crunch time. Say what you want about Tre Willis( I did), but he knew how to get to the line in crunch time. Am i the only one that has noticed this doesnt happen with direction. MArshall...Im talking to you...stop trying to MAKE the high flying layup and learn to get the FOULD. ( then of course hit some throws).

  13. mj20 - EXACTLY!!!!!

    That's what I've been saying all season long....Coach Rice is not the right coach for our team. He's being exposed right now. We've made a huge mistake in hiring the guy and need to correct ourselves as soon as possible. His lack of experience and inability to view and adjust to his flaws are damaging to our team.

    We need to stop with the excuses and work toward making adjustments and getting better.

  14. When is Rice gonna take the blame.Same excuse as always. Theus in two years.

  15. Where is Jerry and Mikey with their pom poms?? Agree- HOW can you post up Massamba who either turns it over or missed lay ups and free throws? THAT is bad coaching. And why does Q Thomas EVER get off the bench? Guy has ZERO talent. None, na da. Lopez needs more PT because he can't possibly be worse than Massamba and Thomas. And Moser picked a fine time to play a game with no effort or heart. That is the one thing the guy has brought all year- 100% effort- but for some reason last night he played with none. Wish we had a guy like Hornung on our team...8-9 seed coming up.

  16. Anthony has nothing to be ashamed of, he was one of the few Rebels who were fighting to the end. As for Rice, let's keep in mind that this is a first year coach, and true there is a pretty decent amount of talent on this team, it's impossible to coach heart, you either have it or you don't. As for posting up Massamba late, I''m in 100% agreement w my fellow Rebel fans in saying...wtf??! He's a decent low post option but a miserable foul shooter (the whole team is pretty weak in this area, adding to the growing list of flaws on this team). But even the staunchest Rice supporters (like myself) are starting to wonder, why doesn't this team play defense? Why is the offense breaking down in the 2nd half on a regular basis in the most crucial time of the season. Why did CBS choose us and become a major distraction?
    All in all, feels like time for a shakeup. I know it's late in the season now, but something has to be done, maybe a lineuo change, bench Moser, use Lopez at the 4, but what do I know

  17. RebelJedi,

    I agree. No one steps up with any leadership or clutchness to stop the other teams momentum. Since when did Massamba become our go to guy in crunch time? Rice usually calls a time out and runs a set play to get the ball to Massamba in the post. Really? Massamba? And where is Stanback in late game situations? He is suppose to be a senior leader and teams best outside shooter but he disappears in big moments on the road.

  18. Hello everyone, this is what I have been telling you all season. You yelled & told me to get lost, yet everything I have been saying all season is right here said by all you folks, amazing how that works out.

  19. Well that sucked. This team has run out of gas for some reason and coach does not seem to have the answers.

  20. A huge problem is that we attack and force tempo to get big leads then we decide to be conservative, hold the ball and work the clock. The reason the UNC game was so fun to watch is that we attacked the entire game. We were up by 7-8 in the last couple of minutes, UNC was pressing, and we were pushing the ball up and busting threes and jumpers on them. That is Runnin Rebel basketball. Team and Coaching staff are completely lost right now. Outscored 40-18???? Ridiculous.

  21. I have a hard time blaming Dave Rice because these aren't his players. I'll only put the blame on him when he starts coaching his own players.

  22. Rebel fans have to chill. This is Dave Rice's 1st season. He has UNLV in 2nd place of a 4 bid MWC. Colorado State is a great team. Undefeated at home. They killed San Diego State right after they came off of wins against UNLV and New Mexico. CSU also just beat New Mexico just a week ago.

    Dave Rice has surpassed all preseason expectations. He's got UNLV to one of their greatest seasons in 20 years and you guys want to fire him? He's a coach of the year candidate...

  23. To quote an earlier article:

    "Coaching debuts aren't supposed to be this good.

    A basketball coach's first season at a new program is traditionally filled with stumbling blocks, small improvements and moral victories, not top-15 rankings, marquee wins and Final Four dreams."

  24. Not to mention Dave Rice landed UNLV their best recruit in 20 years, McDonald's All-American Khem Birch.

  25. Rebels showed up to play 20 hard minutes only (1st half). The second half was a joke. Out rebounded and out played. Chunking up 3s (not shooting 3s) cost them in the end. Play hard from tip-off to final buzzer.

  26. anatomyapple,

    First off, UNLV is in 3rd place now behind San Diego St and New Mexico. Second, Colorado St is not a great team. Great teams usually aren't sitting on the bubble of the NCAA tournament and have no road wins in conference play. Third, Rice's coaching debut has been so great because he took over a winning team with talent already there. Most new coaches who are hired to a program come in because the last coach failed and was fired. Most new coaches have to rebuild a program much like Kruger did when he was hired on back in 04. Rice was fortunate enough that Kruger did not leave him a bad team and just left because the money and coaching opportunity was greater. Coach of the year is a big time stretch. If he inherited a bad team and had this record I would say coach of the year would be more likely. Fourth, UNLV is no longer a top 15 team and will drop even further in the polls next week after this loss. And finally, I don't think too many Rebel fans had Final Four asspirations this season. I'd say Sweet 16 or Elite 8 was probably more like it. But it is begining to look less likely with the way this team is playing and closing out the season. Especially on the road where UNLV will have to play when they reach the tournament.

  27. James_P_Reza I just am amazed that anyone could use the verbiage like you do to complain about a foul.I am sure you have filed a complaint with the DA over this and a firing squad is being formed at this moment. You need to get a life and don't expect any thing good to come out of a NCAA invite, this team has been exposed.

  28. Clearly the weakness and inexperience of the coaching staff is mainly the cause of the close games UNLV has had this year. Dave Rice has not made the proper adjustments when needed, and clearly the opposing coaches have figured out how to beat UNLV by out coaching Dave Rice and has staff. The players are following coach Rice instructions, the instructions are not the right instructions.

    This coaching staff sort of reminds us of how Jerry Tarkanian's teams (with all the talent)leading in a game, and coach Tark would find a way for them to lose by slowing the pace and holding the ball. Remember that? Yeah, we all remember. The best UNLV teams won when coach Tark let talented players play and do what they do best. We all saw in full display how coach Tark failed in the game against Duke in the NCAA final. No way UNLV should have lost that game with all that talent. Coach Tark blow that game in the eye of many observers.

    Coach Rice is learning, but it seems the other UNLV coaches are not being heard. What is up with the Rebel defense? Stacy, what is that all about? The Rebel coaches are being out coached, and in some cases they are being laughed at by the other coaches. It is time for the Rebel to pull up their straps, play man-to-man, with more particpation from "all" the coaches and play real Rebel basketball. Coach Rice you said you would bring back the Running Rebels! Do it! Get 'er done!

  29. Please bench Massamba, I can't take it anymore.

    I will probably miss the final home game this Saturday due to health issues....the Rebels are making me sick.

  30. The no call emotionally crushed the Rebels.

    Watch Massamba when someone shoots the ball. He's standing up straight just watching. Body somebody up and box out and you'll get more than one rebound per game.

  31. Nice to see GoBruins pops up when the basketball team is losing too. How about you go talk about how UCLA is in shambles?

  32. It amazes me that people would be calling for the head of a coaching staff that has led the team to such a great season. It's season one for Rice and Augmon, and the Rebels haven't had this good a season since the NCAA dismantled the program and ran Tark off campus..

    Further, the season isn't even over yet. I applaud what Rice and team have been able to accomplish this year, and, as I said earlier, hopefully they can figure out the lapses before the NCAA tourney.

    As for Colorado State not being that good a team, I agree. But CSU are undefeated in MWC conference play at home, so that means something. Records don't lie. In fact, many pundits had the Rebels losing this one before it started. That UNLV came out so strong in the first 25 minutes was a beautiful thing to watch; that they lost their grip in between 16:00 and 10:00 was not.

    Coaches Rice and Augmon haven't even finished a single season yet and some of you want them fired. Please. A business usually loses money for five years before it breaks even or turns a profit; if UNLV could hold on to Kruger for three years after he hit his ceiling, we should be able to support Rice and Augmon as they build this program back into what some of us remember.

    Go Rebels!

  33. This one was a tough one to swallow I thought the boys were set on seeing it through. With time to cool down I see some of our weaknesses are exploited. Nothing against Coach Rice or the players they have a certain skill set and style that lead to big runs and when the game slows down and it becomes a possession by possession we are vulnerable.
    I have had season tickets since Kruger's Sweet 16 run. I realize how good that team was Wink, Kruger, Umeh, Wendall White, Gaston, Joel and company. Tre and Jasper followed.
    We rely heavily on the three and transition and we don't shoot well from the line. Even at home we get big leads and hit a dry spell allowing teams to get back in it.
    It's who we are this year we will evolve as Rice recruits his players in the meantime I support the regime and the players win or lose its REBEL BASKETBALL!

  34. James - I agree that people who are asking for the staff to be fired are way over the top and I admire the fact that you are trying to stay positive. But you cannot turn a blind eye to the way the team is heading. This team is playing its worst bball when it matters most. They have now lost double digit leads in conference games against SDSU, CSU(twice), Air Force, Boise St and TCU. This team is cratering and has taken what was a pretty sure 4-5 seed and turned it into a possible 7-10 seed in a matter of a month. Tell me how Coach Rice and his staff are not largely at fault for this. Just because this is his first year does not automatically give him a pass for poor performance. We call out the players when they play poorly or don't improve. Time for Coach Rice and his staff to get the same scrutiny.

  35. As far as UCLA that's what happens when the coach doesn't police his players. As far as UNLV just pointing out that the rest of the fans agree with me. Took some time, but now were all on the same page.

  36. Great Season? The only two road wins in OT in conference? It started out great, but it's been a long time since I have a seen a team actually not improve one bit during an entire season. Throw out the non conference and were going to end up 10-6 for our last 16 games. Mediocre at best.

    CSU is not going to get a tourney bid. They are going to lose again and they have zero quality wins outside the conference. If they do get in they will lose their first round game by double digits and you will see how poor UNLV has played in conference. Rice has not done a good coaching job. Every game we have lost is the same pattern. His bench disappears in the 2nd half and the last 5 minutes the starters quit. At some point when all 5 of your guys are standing around on offense, you have to have a set play to get them moving. The go to guy issue is right on the money. Every top 20 team in the country has one. UNLV does not. There is no one to go to when you have to have bucket. Massamba, Stanback, Moser, name one player that hit a jumper or a 3 pointer in the last minute when the team needed it.

    Kruger left Dave very good players and I would bet he would have ended up with a better record than this. Rice is lost. When a coach says generic coach speak it's because he doesn't know what to do. He sounds just like Bobby Hauck. We have to get better is not an answer. Do it and quit talking about it. he hasn't adjusted the line-up, he hasn't changed anything, he does the same thing every loss and responds the same way.

  37. Spot on RicoVegas and James_P_Reza. There's no need to panic. The team has had a great year so far with a coaching transition and a new system, and the season isn't even over yet.

  38. What is frustrating to many fans is, there were 4 games UNLV should not have lost. Coach Rice and staff have done a good job being this their first season, but the loses that should have been wins are hard to swallow. Lose because your beaten, not because of poor decisions and a lack of focus. Still a Rebel fan, but these stupid loses must end. The other coaches are laughing at us. Team Pride must take over at some point.

  39. @Longtimevegan

    Ok, I'll bite....which coach with what proof is laughing at our coaching staff? And I don't want to hear any hear say. Actual proof.

  40. I don't disagree one bit that when an organization suffers poor performance, one looks immediately to those in positions of leadership. But I don't consider this season a "poor performance," nor do I think they are "cratering." I think they have been well-scouted and are having a hard time adjusting. You can't win them all, and I'd wager that if every Top 25 team went into CSU's home court, the record would end up something like 14-12 (they already have a 3-0 head start).

    Further, by definition, there are a lot of things going on in a team that we, as outsiders, cannot possibly be aware of, which may be impacting the team's performance. And there are things that are public knowledge that seem to get overlooked when fans are couch coaching. Only one team wins the NCAA title every year, and it seems like people were expecting that from UNLV for much of this season. It's frustrating watching games like last night's, but it is just one game and these guys are students, not full-time basketball stars. It cannot be overlooked that on a professional team, players can be fired and replaced,

    Kruger's squads never gave me the impression they could get further than the Elite 8, simply due to an inability to play 40 minutes of strong basketball (sound familiar?) and a too-nice guy attitude on the court (the legacy of our seniors). Check back with me once Rice gets five seasons under his belt.

    For now, there is still a season to finish!

  41. Our walking rebels have returned. Look at the non-con part of the season, and UNLV scores in the 80-100 range. Conference rolls around, and we are scraping by in the 50-70 range. Runnin' Rebels don't jack up 3's and contested jumpers. Runnin' Rebels share the ball and drive it. Runnin' Rebels play suffocating defense to get a run out and score in transition. None of this has happened in conference play or on the road.

    I'm going to be very critical on rebounds. Going onto last night's game, Colorado St was in the +300 range for rebounds. Rebounds are about HEART. Desire! You have to look at the guy next to you and put it in your mind that that guy is not gonna take that rebound. You have to explode and fight for the ball. Remember the game before when Massamba had his flip out? That at least showed some heart and desire to win the game.

    UNLV is going through the motions. Someone cough on Moser and get him sick again. Stanback needs a confidence booster, get him some easy looks. This team is very balanced, and there isn't one guy that can take over. There is no Kemba Walker on this team, but if they work together and get after the ball with conviction they can win some games. This conference season has been extremely disappointing. UNLV working themselves into their favorite 7-8 seed unless they can do something in the MWC tournament now.

  42. We are 3-4 in our last 7 games with two of those wins coming against teams with a combined conference record of 6-20. We are averaging 66 ppg in regulation over that span. We have lost double digit second half leads in 3 of those 7 games. This looks an awful lot to me like cratering. Maybe there is something I am missing.

  43. It's another WTF moment.Waking up in the middle of the night and asking WTF! I think the best remedy would be to hang the picture of Dave Rice as a player,with blood dripping down his face,and explanation below the picture which says, "if you want to win a National Championship EVERYBODY,including this bench player, has to have some heart and willing to compete and do whatever it takes to win. These guys don't have it, don't think you can coach it, but we need to find it to go to the next level.

  44. This was a tough one to swallow. While I won't say I honestly expected us to go in there and get the W, the fact that we really dominated for 25 minutes or so before going in the tank is extremely frustrating.

    There obviously has to be some blame placed on the coaching staff. The same thing has been happening over and over and, for some reason, the staff hasn't figured it out. There are two things, which some of you ave already pointed out, which I really question. First is the rotation and use of the bench. I just don't know why the bench isn't logging more minutes, especially since it appears that the starters, especially Moser, are wearing down. We can't forget that this is the first year since his senior year in high school that he's played a full season. A played sparingly at UCLA and then sat out a year when he transferred. Expecting him to play at such a high level for 30+ minutes this year seems to have been a bit too ambitious. I just think that the starters seem to be wearing down. If they could get a few more minutes of rest during the game, I think they'd be a little sharper at the end of games.

    The other issue is the free throw shooting at the end of games. I honestly believe that Massamba is the best of the "Big 3." He's improved by leaps and bounds this year. His offensive game has come around and his defense is pretty good. That being said, he has become a liability at the end of games because of the lack of rebounding and the 53% FT. If he's going to be in there, the end game possessions can't go through him. I think Q is the best rebounder of the 3 and when our rebounding goes south, it might not be a bad idea to go with him at the end to help prevent some of those easy put-backs.

    One issue from a player standpoint is, as was previously stated, we really don't have that go-to scorer at the end of games. Our best option right I think is for AM to go to the hoop and put himself in a position to get fouled or kick it out to Chase or Oscar for a jumper. This is where I think Bryce Jones is going to be so good next year because he is the type of guy that can create his own shot and will want the ball down the stretch with the game on the line.

    I'm not going to go as far as to jump on the "Fire Dave Rice" bandwagon, but some of this definitely can be chalked up to the inexperience of the coaching staff. Unfortunately, the only way for guys to get that experience is to go through things like this. I still believe that Rice and co. will be successful here. I still believe that the talent level under Rice is going to improve as early as next year with the transfers we have and the incoming freshmen.

  45. I never expected us to just sail through this season without any bumps in the road. I think what happened was the level of success we achieved so early this season set everyone up, myself included. I expected 3, maybe 4, losses in conference this year and we're going to end up with 5. Its disappointing, but its not the whole story. We've gone undefeated at home this year (so far) and the crowds at the T&M have been bigger and more energized than they've been in years. That's still a big deal. We've recruited an All-American in Khem Birch and with or without Bazz, the recruiting class is still shaping up to be very good.

    So for those of you jumping on the coaching staff and Dave Rice, you're absolutely right. A part of the issue is the lack of experience and that has shown. I'm just not willing to judge a man's entire coaching stint based on his first season. Just my opinion. You're all entitled to yours. I still believe we'll roll Wyoming Saturday and probably win the MWC tournament since it is at The Mack. After that, it's all about match-ups. Maybe when there really is no tomorrow, we'll play a bit better down the stretch.

  46. Rice should not be fired- in time he will be a great coach. But he IS making tons of mistakes right now- not sure what the assistants are doing-Shroyer has been a head coach- and I never see him or Augmon talking to Rice during the games.
    Next years team needs Bennett more than they need Shabazz-IMHO.

  47. Could not agree more rose. I know that Shabazz is an amazing talent but this team already will have some pretty solid perimeter and wing players in Jones, Moser, Marshall, and Reinhardt. One element that is lacking big time is a power player inside. That could make a world a difference if we could throw it into the post and actually get a double team, or have a guy that can score consistently down low. With Khem Birch next year that could make for a pretty sweet high low combination.

  48. (It's refreshing, and rare, to participate in intelligent discussion here. With a few typical exceptions, I'm enjoying this.)

  49. Here's what I know about this year's UNLV Rebels basketball team:
    -- They're not as good as everyone thought they were after they beat UNC.
    -- They're not as bad as everyone thought they were after losing double digit leads to mediocre TCU and CSU teams.
    -- They're a good team - but not great by any means. Probably deserve a ranking around 24 or 25 and a 6-7 tourney seed.
    -- They won't win the MWC tourney even though it's on their home floor.
    -- They lack on-court leadership, a killer instinct and the "hate to lose" mentality that top teams possess.
    -- They've provided some "good times" and offensive play reminiscent of the glory/Tark years in the 70's, 80's and 90's. But please don't confuse this team with the Tark-era teams that played defense with a level of intensity and focus this year's team hasn't reached once.
    -- They played their best basketball in December and January. They've often looked tired, disinterested and complacent since.
    -- Dave Rice was the right hire, but is learning on the job. With time, he'll learn how to make adjustments at half-time, motivate his players when they're down, and get the most out of every player.
    -- They will make the NCAA tournament and win 1 game (2 at the most).
    -- They lack a decent "big man" option. Massamba, Thomas and Lopez fill space and get lucky once in a while with a lay-up, but don't rebound the way they should.
    -- Their best players (Moser, Stanback and Marshall) all have moments of greatness but lack the consistency and toughness needed to be considered All-American caliber.
    -- They've made UNLV Rebels' basketball relevant again (with some credit to Lon Kruger for leaving the cupboard full). And for that, they deserve our thanks.

  50. @the_skidge Yes.

  51. Its not that they lose....its HOW they lose that is so frustrating. They build a lead then squander it over & over & over again. Yes, some of that falls on Rice because he has to use his bench more because the first two things that go on a fatigued team are defensive intensity & their shot...aka their legs. He has to trust his bench more.

    But the fatal flaw on this team is there is no go to guy, no leader, the team can lean on & look to when it hits the fan...somebody who just says "Enough!" I remember Kevin Kruger in the 07 MWC Tourney final down 10 vs BYU...hitting a 3 and one...then getting off the floor and screaming at his teammates "F This!" We havent had ANYBODY in the program like that since Curtis Terry left. We are a feast or famine team and that isnt just coaching....its lack of leadership on the floor.

    This team has still exceeded expectations. Just the fact that there are 50 comments after a loss, when there used to be around 15 or 20...tells you that Rice & Co are doing something right and have more people invested now in Runnin Rebels hoops. That is a good thing isnt it? :-)

  52. @the_skidge---very well put.

  53. AM you want to be a leader step up to the plate

  54. The acceptance of mediocrity is hilarious....only at UNLV is being mediocre considered a success. I hope we don't listen to all of the homers out here and we do what's right and blow up the coaching staff. Otherwise, there's no hope for us...

    At least I can look forward to all of the funny comments after every game...

  55. Sorry, "Sinatra," but I don't take seriously the comments of someone who won't put their real name on what they say. You could be anybody, from anywhere, with any agenda. Irrelevant.

  56. "James Reza" - DILLIGAF about whether or not you take me seriously?! LMAO Get over yourself....that's the comedy that I'm talking about here. I'm a UNLV alum who has an opinion about our team. If you don't agree with my views, so what?

    I love how homers on this board try to discredit anyone who has a dissenting point of view. Now, it's because I don't disclose my full name. Do you call out homers who don't disclose their full name??? Well of course not, because you're "agenda" is being supported...do you call them "irrelevant" too? I guess their comments don't count either?

    Pure comedy.

  57. @Sinatra711 It's confirmed. Anthony Sinatra IS indeed a UNLV graduate. He used two idiotic internet acronyms within two sentences, an excessive number punctuation marks, and then proceeded to show us he has no concept of what the contraction "you're" means. He is just another person who loves to make others miserable around him.

    In my opinion, Dave Rice is doing fine for a first year coach. You can only do so much as a coach, the rest is up to the players. Like any first year coach, I'm sure he has some things he could improve upon.

    Clearly the Rebels have not lived up to what we expected after their win over UNC. Fine. They've still had one hell of a season. Rice has had a good year overall and has recruited out of his mind for next year.

    Let's just all support this team for what it is... a slightly better than average Lon Kruger team who overachieved early in the year via Dave Rice's offensive scheme.

    The year isn't over, and this team is still capable of doing well in the tournament. Anyone who turns their back on them at this point wasn't a true fan in the first place.

    Let's go Rebels!

  58. Matt - It's confirmed...you're a comedian. At least, I think you are because you make me laugh. Only homers stoop to criticizing grammar & spelling on an online newspaper comments section. Good times.