Published Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 | 5 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Feb. 2, 2013 | 8:19 p.m.
- Rice wants Rebels to score in transition no matter what Boise State does
- Rebel senior speaks at middle school in between games
- UNLV Extras: Breaking down Marshall’s minutes and Moser’s role
- Birch bounces off the bench to lead Rebels in 12-point victory against Wolf Pack
- Cook’s development gives Rebels more potential lineup options vs. UNR
- UNLV Extras: Backup freshman enjoys possible breakthrough game
- Rebels find the right combination for satisfying victory against Wyoming
- All UNLV men's basketball coverage
Boise State 77, UNLV 72
BOISE, Idaho — Anthony Drmic scored 22 points and UNLV struggled at the end of the game, crawling back into it before going down 77-72 at Taco Bell Arena as fans rushed the court.
UNLV's Anthony Bennett scored a game-high 25 points in pulling the Rebels back into the game, but he also took one of the strangest shots of the game. Boise's Derrick Marks, who scored 17 points, missed a front-end of a one-and-one while up just one, so UNLV had the ball, down one with 23 seconds left. The Rebels came down and got the ball to Bennett, who took a semi-contested 3-pointer with about 16 seconds left. It missed and UNLV had to foul the rest of the way as Boise held on for the win.
Bennett had a lot of success in the second half, especially when he took the Broncos off the dribble into the paint. He went to the free-throw line eight times in the second half alone. I'll ask Dave Rice about it but I'm pretty sure that's not the shot he had in mind for that possession.
Anthony Marshall finished with 18 points and 12 assists. His 3-pointer in the final minute cut the game to one. It was the final points of an 8-0 run that gave the Rebels a fighting chance, but they ran out of options after Bennett's miss.
Boise State hit two free throws after that, and then fouled Marshall with 5.4 seconds left. With UNLV down three, Marshall missed both free throws and Khem Birch committed his fifth foul while going for the rebound. It was about as bad as the end-of-game situation could have gone if you're the Rebels.
UNLV drops to 17-5 overall and 4-3 in conference play with a trip to Fresno State coming up on Wednesday. Check lasvegassun.com later tonight for a full report from the Rebels' defeat.
Boise State 63, UNLV 56
7:17 remaining in the second half
BOISE, Idaho — UNLV countered Boise's transition points with a small lineup that gave Anthony Bennett and Khem Birch a chance to rest before the final stretch here at the Taco Bell Arena.
Bennett and Quintrell Thomas have been the main catalysts in getting this game close again. The Rebels trailed by as much as 12 but those two started attacking the Broncos' zone at the free-throw line and hitting jumpers. That hole has been there most of the game but UNLV hasn't always done a good job taking advantage.
More importantly, the Rebels aren't playing defense at the level usually necessary to win on the road. That has been their most consistent problem tonight and they won't win without fixing it at least a little.
Boise State 49, UNLV 41
15:46 remaining in the second half
BOISE, Idaho — Anthony Drmic is No. 1 on UNLV's list of enemies right now. The guy who went to the ground on Moser's flagrant two foul also has a steal in the back court that led to an easy layup for two of his 12 points.
He's definitely the guy that teammates love and opponents hate to play, just up into everybody the entire game causing problems. His game plan is clearly working so far and any chance UNLV has of keeping this close or winning includes neutralizing Drmic to some degree.
Boise State 42, UNLV 35
BOISE, Idaho — Anthony Marshall has 10 points and Katin Reinhardt has nine as the Rebels trail by seven after losing Mike Moser to an ejection with 4:07 remaining.
Both teams are shooting above 50 percent, with Anthony Drmic leading the Broncos with 10 points. Drmic is the one whom Moser hit in the face on a fast break, drawing a flagrant two foul that comes with an automatic ejection. Moser had to go back to the locker room.
The NCAA's site offers a little insight into the rationale: "An example of a Flagrant 2 foul would be when a player swings an elbow excessively and makes contact with an opponent above the shoulders. In this case, the player who threw the elbow would be ejected from the game, and the other team would receive two free throws and the ball."
While Moser didn't use an elbow, I can see the refs deeming his running, open-hand strike being excessive since there didn't seem to be a play on the ball. That said, I also think the refs should lean conservative in these matters and you can definitely make the case that it was intentional but not flagrant.
Either way the Rebels have to play the rest of the way without Moser. They also got only three minutes from Khem Birch, who committed two fouls in the first 1:06. As a result, UNLV is getting outscored in the paint 18-8.
Boise State 42, UNLV 34
2:17 remaining in the first half
BOISE, Idaho — Following a flagrant two foul on a breakaway layup by Anthony Drmic, UNLV's Mike Moser was ejected from the game with about 4 minutes to play in the first half.
The Rebels got beat on a breakaway and Moser, the only guy with a chance to make a play, ran down and hit Drmic in the face with an open hand. It certainly didn't look like he made much of a play on the ball, and Moser's complete indifference to Drmic lying on the ground after the play may have played a role in the refs' decision.
Boise State 27, UNLV 25
7:25 remaining in the first half
BOISE, Idaho — Whether it's been off switches or in transition, UNLV is leaving a lot of holes in its defense and the Broncos are doing a good job of finding them.
It's a close game because the Rebels are shooting 60 percent from the floor, which is only a little better than the Broncos. Both teams are doing what they need to on offense. Defense, though, is another story.
Dave Rice brought Khem Birch back into the game with two fouls with about 10 minutes left. It's a calculated risk and we'll see if he plays different at the rim while trying to avoid a third foul.
Boise State 13, UNLV 8
14:54 remaining in the first half
BOISE, Idaho — Khem Birch won't have much of a chance to build off his stellar game last Tuesday. Birch was called for two fouls in the first 1:06, so Mike Moser quickly came in off the bench.
Moser's hit a 3 and Katin Reinhardt has one of his own, but UNLV's breakdowns on defense have led to some easy Broncos baskets that have them in front. The Rebels like to rely on their defense home or away, but there's extra emphasis on it away from the Mack. UNLV probably can't outshoot the Broncos in this building, so it needs to stop them.
BOISE, Idaho — Boise State just can't get healthy.
The Broncos return starters Derrick Marks (flu) and Jeff Elorriaga (concussion) tonight after basically missing both of them Wednesday, but less than 30 minutes before tip we learned that starter Igor Hadziomerovic will miss tonight's game against UNLV because of a foot injury.
Hadziomerovic, a 6-foot-4 sophomore guard, is averaging 6.1 points and 3 rebounds per game this season. He came off the bench on Wednesday because of the same injury.
Taking his place for the second straight time in the starting lineup will be freshman guard Mikey Thompson, a Canyon Springs grad.
The Broncos have yet to play a full conference game with their top seven players, and for a team that basically only used its top seven guys in nonconference play that's a big problem.
BOISE — Looking down Boise State’s roster, I get the same feeling about the 2013-14 Broncos that I did looking a year ahead for Colorado State last season. Boise State (14-6, 2-4) has only one senior, and its biggest contributors — Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic — are sophomores.
The biggest difference between the teams’ situations is that Boise hasn’t accomplished what the Rams did last year. If the Broncos are going to duplicate what the Rams did with a surprise trip to the NCAA Tournament, it probably needs to start with a victory today against UNLV (17-4, 4-2). The game tips at 6 p.m. Las Vegas time at Taco Bell Arena on Time Warner Cable SportsNet.
The Broncos have been in the tournament conversation thanks primarily to the league’s best nonconference victory of the year, a 13-point win at Creighton at the end of November. However, since opening league play on the road with Jeff Elorriaga’s buzzer beater to hand Wyoming its first defeat of the season, Boise has lost four of its past five.
Things may not be as bad as they seem, though. Three of those losses were on the road, and in the one home defeat, Boise took New Mexico to overtime before losing by five. The Broncos also beat Fresno State at home.
Marks, Mikey Thompson, Darrious Hamilton and Kenny Buckner, the lone senior on the team, missed that Wyoming victory because of a violation of team rules. And Elorriaga suffered a concussion in the New Mexico loss, missing three of the next four games (his only appearance was against Fresno). Plus, Marks played only nine minutes because of the flu Wednesday in a 20-point loss at Colorado State.
So, basically, Boise’s rotation has been a bit of a mess. And that does matter, both to the tournament committee and to the Broncos. But if they’re going to have any chance to remain in the conversation, they need to go on a run soon, like starting tonight with a solid resume-building victory against the Rebels. Boise expects to have its full roster available, as Elorriaga has been practicing and coach Leon Rice told the Idaho Statesman that he anticipates the junior will play.
Things look good next season for the Broncos, who could slide into the league’s top four as Colorado State is expected to take a step back after losing most of its senior-heavy rotation. This season isn’t lost yet, but it will be soon if the Broncos don’t do something about it.
THE OTHER SIDE
Boise State projected lineup
G — Derrick Marks, 6-3, So, 16.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.6 apg
G — Anthony Drmic, 6-6, So, 16.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.5 apg
G — Jeff Elorriaga, 6-2, Jr, 11.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 48 3fg%
G — Igor Hadziomerovic, 6-4, So, 6.1 ppg, 3 rpg, 2.4 apg
F — Ryan Watkins, 6-9, Jr, 9.5 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 59.8 fg%
Sixth man — F, Mikey Thompson, 6-3, Fr, 8.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 45.7 3fg%
Best name: Vukasin Vujovic, F, 6-9, Fr
Extra storyline: Anthony Marshall won’t be the only Las Vegas native on the court. Boise’s Thompson graduated from Canyon Springs.
Useless Wikipedia factoid: Boise State was founded in 1932 as Boise Junior College.
Kenpom line: UNLV -3
Vegas line: UNLV -3.5
Bern’s take: I’m going with UNLV mostly for two reasons: I don’t know exactly how well Elorriaga can play, and the Rebels have already shown an ability to succeed with a smaller lineup to counter what their opponent is running. UNLV 69, Boise State 63